USA vs Australia Prediction: Olympic Basketball Betting Picks

August 4, 2021

Team USA vs Australia is the first semifinal matchup in men’s basketball in the dead of night at the Tokyo Olympics. The Australians beat the United States in the exhibition campaign leading up to the Tokyo games, but the American squad is vastly different than it was then. Here, the United States will look to get back to the gold medal game as 12-point favorites coming in, while Australia will look to pull off an historic upset in the medal rounds.

USA vs Australia Men’s Basketball Betting Pick

USA vs Australia Pick: Jrue Holiday Over 10 Points (-115)

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USA Basketball silenced what remaining doubters they had in the quarterfinals of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament, beating Spain by 14 points to advance to the semifinals. The Americans withstood a 38-point barrage from Ricky Rubio, who is hesitant to shoot the basketball during NBA season, in the victory. And key performances from Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker were enough to withstand Rubio’s metamorphosis into some sort of Spanish version of Damian Lillard.

After falling to France in their first group stage game, the United States went untested for the remainder of group play against the clearly overmatched Iran and Czech Republic. But in breaking down the resolute Spanish defense, the United States proved that they are coming together and starting to play a level of basketball that they weren’t able to achieve at the start of the tournament. That could spell danger for the three remaining teams in this tournament.

Against Australia, the United States faces another team full of stout defenders who can make this game interesting with their three-point shooting. Joe Ingles and Patty Mills can both get hot from beyond the arc to keep Australia within touching distance, while the defense of Ingles and Matisse Thybulle could be a thorn in the side of players like Durant, Tatum and Lillard. And with Nick Kay, Jock Landale and Aron Baynes all grabbing five or more boards per game, Australia is a threat to control the glass the way Spain did against Team USA.

Australia, for what it’s worth, hasn’t been tested by the test teams in the world yet in these Olympics. They have gone 4-0 to their credit, but those wins came against a Nigeria team that was overhyped after beating the USA’s exhibition squad, an Italy team led by the abysmal Nico Mannion, a Germany team that was demolished in the quarters by Slovenia, and an Argentina team that was the worst of the quarterfinalists by a country mile. But they are about to face a huge step up in competition.

The key to this game will be the shooting of the United States once again. Team USA has been getting whatever it has wanted offensively, which has resulted in a lot of open threes. When the Americans have missed those shots, as they did against France and in the first half against Spain, they have been stuck in close games. When those shots have gone in, nobody has been able to keep up with the tournament favorites.

In this USA vs Australia matchup, the shots should continue to fall and the Americans should win once again. But the best bet for me in this matchup is Jrue Holiday to go over 10 points. He has done so in every Olympic game thus far, with the exception of the Iran game where the US was up big throughout and was able to empty the bench. In the three games where the US has had to try for four quarters, Holiday has scored over 10 points in each game.

Against Australia, the defensive focal points are Ingles, Tybulle and the bigs, none of whom will be assigned to Holiday in this contest. Instead, the Bucks point guard will be able to go at lesser defenders like Dellavedova and Patty Mills, which should give him chances to get to the free throw line or use the backdoor cut to his advantage the way he did against Spain.

USA vs Australia Pick: Jrue Holiday Over 10 Points (-115)

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Olympic Basketball Betting FAQ

What are the current gold medal odds?

The current odds to win the gold medal in men’s basketball favor the United States significantly. The Americans are -280 to get the gold, as they only need to win two more games to get the job done. Of course, they are likely to be favored by double digits in any game that they play, hence the heavy juice on Gregg Popovich’s side.

Who will win Slovenia vs France?

Slovenia enters the game against France as a slight favorite, but the outcome of that game is going to come down to whose pace wins out. France plays at a much slower tempo than Slovenia, who will try and speed things up and force mistakes out of a French squad that has proven it can defend against the best teams in the world.

Is Australia the least likely team to win a medal?

Entering the semifinals, Australia does have the worst odds to win a medal. They are going to be underdogs against any of the three remaining teams, even more so if they lose by a wide margin against the United States. 

Jay
Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.