USA vs ARG
Monday, Aug 6, 2012 @ 10:15 PM EST
Spread: US -23.5
Bet at Bookmaker, the source of these Olympic basketball betting odds
After receiving a true scare against Lithuania, a team I said not to count out in the preview to the Olympic play, I reflected upon my opening statements going into this tournament:
That’s why you can’t sleep on teams like Lithuania (40/1), as the country finished third in the 2010 World Championships. Eastern European teams typically sport a host of three point shooters and tough big men, which can give the U.S. problems. NBA fans will recognize Linas Kleiza and Sarunas Jasikevicius, while Jonas Valanciunas will be joining the league next season as a rookie and is expected to make a serious impact for the Toronto Raptors next year, and truthfully reminds me of a white Kevin Garnett. Lithuania is a serious value bet for those who like long shots.
Both shooters mentioned, Kleiza and Jasikevicius, both combined for 39 points while hitting a combined 4 of 10 from distance. Kleiza hoisted 20 shots and hit 10. For the US, it was the trio of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony combining for 56 points of the US team’s 99 (56% of the load). It may be similar against the Argentines Monday night, but things will have to be different.
This is what I said about Argentina in the preview:
Argentina has four NBA players on their roster, and all four come together perfectly in International play. Manu Ginobili is the star of this squad and will be looking forward to rejoining them after sitting out the 2010 World Championships with an injury. He’s joined by Carlos Delfino, Andres Nocioni, and Luis Scola. Scola was absolutely dominant in the 2010 Championships and has carved out a nice career for himself in the NBA. At 28/1 odds, I do like Argentina as another long shot to win the gold.
Argentina is 3-1 and suffered their lone loss to silver favorite France. In that match, Ginobili went off for 26 points and Luis Scola scored 16, but no other Argentines reached double figures. Ginobili may need to score 30+ to keep this one close, but will have trouble doing so against whomever Coach K tries to throw at him.
The defensive options could include small forwards LeBron James and Andre Iguodala, who, while playing out of position, could likely do the best on the Spurs starting shooting guard. It is important to note that sixth man Ginobili is even better in International play than he is in the NBA, and the Argentines have very good team chemistry that should enable them to keep this close or win it.
While the US is 23.5 point favorites, I think that Argentina keeps this MUCH closer. Of concern is the fact that the US beat France by 27 and France beat Argentina, but that can’t always be the sole measuring stick for games like this.
Argentina brings some things to the table that France didn’t/doesn’t and Scola should have a big game against the Americans.
Moreover, Argentina did beat Lithuania by 23 points and the Lithuanian squad just hung tough with the US. In that win over LITH, Scola went for 32 points on 12 of 19 shooting, while Ginobili, Delfino, and Nocioni all combined for another 51 points in their own right. Pablo Prigioni has done an admirable job of running the show for ARG as well.
I’m going to say that the US wins this by 8 to 12 points, coming nowhere close to covering the 23.5 point spread. While I do understand the notion that the Americans come out with something to prove today, I don’t think ARG is going to just roll over after proving in this tournament that they can hang with the best and still are a top tier International team to be reckoned with.