Olympic Basketball 2021: Updated Odds and Predictions for Team USA and More

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2021

United States's Kevin Durant (7) drives up court during a men's basketball preliminary round game against the Czech Republic at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The U.S. men's basketball team has made it through the group stage in its quest to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Now the fun stuff begins.

It wasn't always pretty, but Team USA cleared the first hurdle of making it to the quarterfinals. After dropping the first game to France and creating headlines for all the wrong reasons, the team put up strong performances against overmatched Iran and Czech Republic squads.

The three-game run in Tokyo hasn't yet proved anything about the Kevin Durant-led team. France is the only squad it has played this point that had the baseline level of talent a team needs to compete against the Americans. Losing to France was concerning, but it was early in the tournament and a trio of important players had only just arrived in Japan.

That result against France and the play of other nations in the tourney have caused Team USA's odds to capture gold to slip a bit. While they started off at -320 (bet $320 to win $100), they have drifted to -215.

Here's a look at how the rest of the field measures up.


Gold Medal Odds

  • USA -215
  • Australia +700 (bet $100 to win $700)
  • Slovenia +700
  • France +900
  • Spain +1200
  • Italy +4500
  • Germany +8000
  • Argentina +10000

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.


While the Americans' odds have lengthened a bit since the tournament started, they remain the odds-on favorite to take home the gold. Ultimately, the oddsmakers are looking at the depth the team boasts. The U.S. has played three games and had a different leading scorer in each.

In Game 1, they were led by Jrue Holiday, who had just arrived from winning an NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks. Game 2 against Iran saw Damian Lillard drop 21 points to lead the way, and Jayson Tatum stepped up against the Czech Republic with 27 points.

While they have been trying to figure out how to best complement each other's talents, having a veteran like Durant—who became the country's all-time Olympic leading scorer Saturday—gives them a sense of continuity.

"We're all just trying to figure each other out," Holiday said, per Rocky Swift of Reuters. "This is literally our third game with all of us together. But we knew KD would come in and do what he always does."

That will be key as the competition is about to get a lot more difficult. Teams like Australia, France and Spain have played on the world stage multiple times with essentially the same nucleus. The Americans have few holdovers from the 2019 team that didn't medal at the World Cup, let alone the team that won the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Multiple contenders have gained momentum through group play, and that is reflected in the odds. France and Australia have each seen their odds shorten from the start of the tournament, while Slovenia has been the biggest riser.

That's because Luka Doncic has been a revelation. The country is light on NBA talent, but Doncic has elevated those around him while putting up a combined 73 points in two games (including a historic 48 in his Olympic debut). He's almost single-handedly taken Slovenia from surprise qualifier to medal contender.

France has already proved it is a threat to the U.S., which had a hard time countering some of the bigger lineups. Evan Fournier, meanwhile, played at a level you rarely see from him in the NBA.

But France isn't getting ahead of itself. Fournier knows his team will need to take things one game at a time. France hasn't medaled in basketball at the Olympics since 2000.

"Quarterfinal first. Focus on that," Fournier said, per Swift. "Too many times we've beaten very, very good teams, and we lost in the semifinal. So no more of that."

By the odds, Australia stands out as the United States' biggest hurdle to gold. The Boomers have a core of players familiar with international competition and a collection of NBA talent that includes Joe Ingles, Patty Mills and Dante Exum.

They lived up to their billing as one of the tournament's best squads during group play, going 3-0 while racking up a point differential of plus-33. Only the records of the United States and France are better.

It all sets up an unforgiving tournament bracket that provides no margin for error.

Still, the U.S. seems to have figured some things out in its extended tune-up and has the most talented roster. While several teams have a handful of NBA players, Team USA's roster is completely made up of players from The Association.

That should be enough for the U.S. to figure out a way to win.



Gold: United States

Silver: Australia

Bronze: Slovenia


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