Despite a COVID-19 scare and injuries, Team USA is still the favorite to win the gold medal in men’s basketball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at -320 odds. Bradley Beal tested positive for COVID-19, but Team USA dodged a bullet when they were able to avoid a full-blown outbreak. They sent two players home to self-quarantine as a precaution and expect both to rejoin the team before the start of pool play.
Team USA is clearly the most talented team, but will they mesh in time before someone pulls off an upset in the medal round?
|2020 Tokyo Olympics – Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Odds|
- USA -320
- Australia +750
- Spain +900
- Slovenia +1500
- France +1600
- Nigeria +3000
- Argentina +3500
- Italy +4000
- Czech Republic +10000
- Germany +15000
- Japan +30000
Spain, the FIBA World Cup champions, lost to Team USA 83-76 in the last warm-up exhibition game in Las Vegas over the weekend. Spain comes into the Olympics with the third-best odds to win the gold medal in men’s basketball at +900.
Australia defeated Team USA at the start of the Vegas games, but the Yanks were still finding their sea legs and the Aussies were able to exploit a team still trying to develop its chemistry. Australia is the second-favorite on the betting board behind Team USA at +750 odds. They’re hoping to avoid playing Team USA until the gold medal game.
Japan, the host country, plays in Group C with Argentina, Spain, and Slovenia. Group C is the toughest of the three groups. Slovenia is led by triple-double machine Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks. Slovenia recently celebrated back-to-back victories at the Tour de France thanks to Tadej Pogacar, so why not a medal in the Olympics?
Group B is no slouch either, with Germany, Italy, Australia, and Nigeria. In the first exhibition game in Las Vegas, Nigeria upset Team USA by three points. It might’ve been a meaningless game for the Yanks, but it was a huge confidence boost for the Nigerians.
Team USA plays in Group A with France, Iran, and the Czech Republic. Aside from France, Group A is the softest in the Olympics. That should provide their NBA All-Star team an extra week to gel and overcome the jet lag.
Team USA updated roster: McGee and KJ
The NBA Finals ended in six games, so the three remaining players on Team USA have a couple of extra days to recover before the Olympics. So long as Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton didn’t celebrate too much, and so long as Devin Booker didn’t go on a mini-bender to drown his sorrows, Team USA definitely could use their help.
Booker will provide an instant scoring punch. Holiday was added to the team for his defense, which was on full display in the NBA Finals with “the steal” in Game 5.
Keldon Johnson and JaVale McGee — that’s right, McGee — replaced open roster spots for Bradley Beal and Kevin Love. Zach LaVine and Jerami Grant were placed in COVID-19 health and safety protocol as a precaution. They didn’t fly with the squad to Japan, but both are hopeful they can join the team before the first game against France.
Check out more of OG’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.