Bet at Bookmaker, the source of these odds:
Spread: USA -42
There’s two ways Nigeria could be approaching this game, but both are mitigated by reality. The Americans just slaughtered Tunisia on Tuesday, winning by 47, but failing to cover the 55 points spread. The good news for the 1-1 Nigerians is, of course, that they are 1-1. The bad news is that they barely beat that Tunisian team that was pounded by the assault of six US played scoring in double figures, and the team putting up 110 points.
Things are only slightly better with this Nigerian team, as they come in as 42 point underdogs after losing by 19 to Lithuania. Former NBA players Olumide Oyedeji and Ike Diogu, scored 9 and 12 points, respectively, while the Hornets Al-Farouq Aminu scored 12 and grabbed 11 rebounds. The other Nigerian in double figures was Al-Farouq’s broter, Alade, who managed 10 points and 6 boards.
So why is a foreign team with three current and former NBA players getting pounded and barely beating a team like Tunisia?
Well, the NBA guys they have just aren’t cream of the crop, while teams like Lithuania sport top prospects and sharpshooters like Linas Kleiza, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Simas Jasaitis, and others. It’s not about the number of NBA players as the quality of the role players, and Lithuania is a much deeper squad.
So what can we expect today other than a blowout?
Even distribution of playing time. Other than Kobe Bryant who more or less took the night off by playing 9 minutes, all the other US players saw double figure minutes, including the 12th man and the #1 overall pick of the 2012 Draft Anthony Davis, who scored 12 points in 14 minutes of play. He was joined by five other players in double figures, paced by Kevin Love’s 16, as Love connected on 6 of his 9 field goals and hit all 4 of his free throws. Fellow center Tyson Chandler put in a strong double double, with 13 points and 10 boards.
It’s hard to gauge a team in these types of blowouts; I said that about the Tunisia game. All other things aside, I like the US team to cover the spread on this one, if only because the guys that get the time off the bench are going to be actively seeking to score like Davis did, to feel they have a role in bringing home the gold. I know it’s a sappy and weak argument based on little statistical analysis, but there’s little to be analyzed in a game like this, other than the fact that the Nigerians barely beat Tunisia and the spread is significantly lower (13 point difference).