Upcoming Match-ups

Team USA Basketball Odds to Win Gold Fade to -225 After Suffering First Olympic Loss Since 2004 vs France on Sunday

Sam Cox

by Sam Cox in News

Jul 25, 2021 · 10:00 AM PDT

Team USA Basketball
United States' forward Kevin Durant, left, greets France's Guerschon Yabusele, right, after the team lost to France in a men's basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • Team USA’s troubled Olympic campaign continued with a loss to France on Sunday
  • It was USA’s first loss in the men’s basketball since the Games in Athens in 2004 
  • Their odds to win gold have faded to -225 as a result

Team USA fell to France in their opening game of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. With minimal preparation time and a couple of exhibition losses, Team USA’s odds to win gold had already faded. Following Sunday’s defeat, they are now at -225 to win gold with DraftKings.

While still heavily favored to win the tournament, concerns about this roster and the coaching have only increased. Is it time for bettors to consider other teams as a legitimate threat to win gold?

Men’s Basketball Olympic Odds

Team Odds To Win Gold at DraftKings
USA -225
Australia +650
Spain +800
France +1000
Slovenia +1400
Italy +2500
Argentina +3500
Nigeria +5500
Czech Republic +10000
Germany +15000
Japan +30000
Iran +100000

Odds as of July 25

Offense Stagnates

USA shot under 40% from the field against France. Their lack of size was a problem against a big French team. Where they were iso-heavy in their exhibition losses, USA suffered from passivity on the offensive end. Jrue Holiday was the only player interested in attacking off the dribble. Damian Lillard passed up plenty of decent looks.

Their sheer talent should still be enough (in theory) to win gold, but there was no cohesion on Sunday, and this looked like a team of strangers. It was always a concern with this roster, given the limited practice time together, and how three key components have only just joined up with the rest of the group. It is, of course, a worry for bettors.

As noted in our pre-tournament preview, this was a good time for France to play them. Their defense lived up to its reputation. Evan Fournier was exceptional. It should be easier against the Czech Republic and Iran, but Gregg Popovich’s team have a lot of work to do if they’re to enjoy success in the knockout rounds.

Issues Continue

The losses to Nigeria and Australia are growing in their significance. If the USA had blown France out on Sunday, the exhibition failings would be forgotten. The performance against the French, however, followed many of the same themes as the defeats to Nigeria and Australia.

Nigeria and Australia used their size advantage to attack the paint. France followed that blueprint. Whether it was putbacks from Rudy Gobert or others attacking Lillard, France played big. USA could not guard Moustapha Fall, who registered six free throw attempts in 11 minutes.

The other notable similarity was the pattern of the game. The USA had a seven-point lead after the first quarter. They even looked comfortable midway through the fourth. France put together a game-winning run in crunch time, just as Australia did in their exhibition win.

Some of those late-game struggles can be put down to fatigue. Some of it is down to coaching, and part of it can be attributed to chemistry. The fact the same problems have resurfaced is a problem, and will force bettors to look elsewhere in the gold medal market.

Look Elsewhere

USA will shoot the ball better. They have easier opponents to come. Still, though, there are issues with this roster, and they cannot afford to be outcompeted as they were on Sunday. France worked harder on defense, threw themselves after loose balls and fought on the glass.

This loss could mean a harder draw in the first knockout round. Wins for France against the Czechs and Iranians will guarantee top spot in the group, and will potentially leave the USA vulnerable to facing one of the other group winners.

After such a stellar performance on Sunday, France might represent the best value in the gold medal market at +1000. There’s temptation to back the USA now that their price has faded, but there are plenty of problems with this team. It’s worth a wager on one of the other contenders.

Author Image