We have another four-game Olympic basketball slate on tap for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. The action gets underway with Germany vs. Nigeria at 9 p.m. ET and wraps up with France vs. the Czech Republic at 8 a.m. ET.
DraftKings Sportsbook is loaded with wagers for these contests, so let’s break down some of my favorites.
Germany at Nigeria
This game features the smallest spread on this slate, and these teams are relatively even. Still, I think Nigeria is clearly the better squad.
Nigeria is coming off a hard-fought loss vs. Australia in their first outing, but their roster is loaded with NBA talent. They have eight current NBA players on their roster, and while they don’t have any true stars, that’s more than any other country besides the United States. They ran into one of the strongest teams in the field in their opening matchup, but they were able to hold their own.
Germany’s roster is a bit thinner. They do have some NBA players, but their roster is mostly full of unknowns to the casual NBA fan. I’m not saying that you can’t be a good basketball player if you’re not in the NBA, but it is the best basketball league in the world for a reason.
Germany lost by 10 points in their opening contest vs. Italy despite an outlier performance from Maodo Lo. He was scorching hot from the field, scoring 24 points on just 12 shots. Lo averaged 12.8 points per game during the qualifying tournament, so I’m expecting some regression for him on Tuesday.
Add it all up, and I think this is a good time to buy low on Nigeria.
Australia at Italy
I have been super impressed by this Australia squad. They are a veteran group led by the duo of Patty Mills and Joe Ingles, and they have seven NBA players on their roster in total. Mills and Ingles didn’t play particularly well in their opening matchup — they shot a combined 11-for-28 from the field — and they still won by 17 points.
Australia has been an absolute wrecking ball throughout the Olympic season. They won exhibitions against Argentina and the USA — two of the best teams in the world — and then crushed Nigeria by 39 points in their final tune-up.
Italy is another strong squad, but I just don’t think they have the firepower to match up with the Aussies.
Maybe I’ll lose my Uncle Sam card with this wager, but this number is too tempting to pass up. While the Australians have been dominating, the USA has been in turmoil. There can be no complaints about the talent on their roster — they have easily the most talent in the field — but something about this team is just not clicking. They dropped two exhibition games and followed that up with a brutal loss vs. France in their opening Olympic contest. Perhaps some additional practice time after adding Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will help, but there are reasons to believe that they are vulnerable for the first time since 2004.
If the USA does falter, the Australians are more than capable of stepping up. Patty Mills seems to transform into Steph Curry during international games, and I love the way they manage their roster. While the USA has to make sure that every player gets on the floor, Australia is not afraid to just play their best players. Mills and Ingles both logged at least 33 minutes out of a possible 40 in their first contest, and eight players soaked up most of the playing time.
Australia’s current odds translate to an implied probability of just 13.33% to win the Gold Medal, and I think their true odds are probably closer to 25%.
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