Rio Hoops Semis Have Tasty Matchups
The Olympic men's basketball semifinals feature a favorite, a wild card, and two other teams playing exceptionally well. The two matchups also feature Rio 2016 betting you can sink your teeth into. Let's look at Friday's semis and consider the odds.
U.S. (6-0) vs. Spain (4-2)
Both of these teams got off to slow starts in pool play. The difference is, Team USA won when playing poorly against France, Australia and Serbia, all wins by 10 or less. Spain took close losses to Croatia and Brazil in their first two games. Both teams have recovered. When the U.S. applies the defensive clamps, they're unbeatable. That's because they have all of the offensive weapons, with NBA stars Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Carmelo Anthony and company. Spain has similar depth, with 11 current or former NBA players, just not as much talent. However, they moved the ball well and played good defense in a surprisingly easy 92-67 upset win over France in the quarterfinals. The U.S. covered nicely in a 105-78 win over Argentina in the quarters. Notably, the U.S. whipped Spain by 40 in group play, so another win is expected. It won't be 40, but the -12½ looks fair; in fact I like it. Envisioning at a game in the 90s, the 186½ over/under is a coin flip. Make you pick under basketball/Olympics.
Australia (5-1) vs. Serbia (3-3)
Australia is playing very good ball, and Serbia seems to be just getting by. In pool play, the Boomers from down under got beat by 10 by the U.S. but handled everyone else with little problem. With Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut and guard Patty Mills leading the way, they got money for their backers by building a big lead on Lithuania in first half and never relinquishing in a 90-64 quarters triumph. The Serbs lost by one to France, by 15 to Australia, and by three to the U.S. in group play, so they shouldn't be blown out. But only a couple of their players have NBA pedigree. The Serbs conquered their blood rivals from Croatia, by three points in a non-covering quarterfinals win. That game may have taken a lot out of them, so Australia -3½ appears to be a bargain. It may even be a trap, but I'm biting anyway. Again the over/under of 164½ could go either way. Bet now.
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