The Olympic Games opens this week and one of the most anticipated events from an American perspective will be basketball.
As ever, the Americans are huge favourites to win the competition as they bring a star-studded squad full of top talent from the NBA – the biggest and best basketball league in the world.
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There are a total of 12 teams entered in the Olympic basketball competition in the United States, Spain, Australia, France, Slovenia, Nigeria, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Japan and Iran.
The 12 teams are separated into three groups of four, with the top two teams from each group automatically progressing through to the knockout rounds. They will then be joined by the two best-ranked third place teams from the three groups.
They will then play single elimination games in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals, with the winners of the latter progressing to the Gold Medal game, while the losers will play in the Bronze Medal game.
As previously mentioned, the American team are the overwhelming favourites to win the competition at 1/5. That is despite the fact they had a shaky start to their preparations, opening with defeats to Nigeria and Australia in each of their first two games before beating Spain in their final warm-up outing.
Their team is headed up by Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard, while they are also waiting on the inclusion of Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday who are currently playing in the NBA Finals.
Weaknesses have been identified from their warm-up showings and there is no doubt that the USA team isn’t as strong on paper as it has been in recent years. The likes of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and James Harden are all not part of this particular USA squad.
According to the oddsmakers, USA’s biggest competition is Spain, who they beat 83-76 in their previous outing. There are a number of familiar faces fronting the Spanish team in brothers Marc and Pau Gasol and NBA veteran Ricky Rubio at point guard.
Beneath them is Australia and France, both of whom have multiple established NBA players in their roster and then Slovenia, who will be led by the NBA’s most promising rising star in 22-year-old Luka Doncic.
Full Olympic Basketball Odds
USA – 1/5
Spain – 10/1
Australia – 12/1
France – 18/1
Slovenia – 20/1
Nigeria – 33/1
Argentina – 40/1
Italy – 40/1
Germany – 66/1
Czech Republic – 150/1
Japan – 300/1
Iran – 500/1