USA vs. Spain Betting Preview
Where: Carioca Arena 1 — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When: Friday, August 19, 2016, 2:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NBCSP / NBCOlympics.com
Writer’s Pick: USA (-14.5)
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Betting on USA (-14.5)
The reigning champions outscored their opponents in the next three periods, 80-57, and forced Argentina to shoot below 40 percent from the floor and commit a total of 16 turnovers. The win sets up the United States for a highly-anticipated showdown with another European rival in the form of Spain.
Kevin Durant, who topped all scorers with 27 points in the victory over El Alma, and Carmelo Anthony are surely aware that their semifinal opponents will likely be their toughest challenge of the tournament. This game, after all, will be a rematch of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic men’s basketball gold medal games, where both Durant and Melo played in.
However, this particular meeting could prove to be harder to overcome with a less-experienced Team USA roster.
Nevertheless, the odds remain to be on their side as Mike Krzyzewski’s troops have dominated almost every foe to reach this point. They remain unbeaten (6-0) and are currently leading the competition in offense (104.8 PPG). But the biggest keys for them in this encounter with the Spaniards would be their pesky defense, depth and speed.
The Americans are allowing just 80.8 points per game, forcing an average of 17.3 turnovers, which has resulted to more opportunities (22.7 points off TOs), and are posting 43.8 bench points.
Betting on Spain (+14.5)
Spain, meanwhile, has finally found its true form. The Spaniards looked vulnerable in the start of the competition, losing their first two assignments versus Croatia and Brazil. But in their next four games, they’ve reminded everyone why they’re considered as the strongest threat to the United States’ gold-medal pursuit, defeating Nigeria, Lithuania, Argentina, and most recently France by an average scoring of 25.7 points during that stretch.
Pau Gasol has been doing it all for Spain, leading them in points (17.0), rebounding (8.7), and blocks (2.2). Those numbers should be more than enough to explain just how much of a problem the former Los Angeles Lakers center is going to be for the Americans.
Besides Gasol, there are a number of talented and veteran players who can also cause trouble for the opposition. There’s Juan Carlos Navarro, Jose Calderon, Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Mirotic, all of whom are either current or former NBA players.
Mirotic, specifically, has been one of the brightest spots for Espanya. He’s second to Gasol in points (13.7) and is shooting 41.7 percent from deep in the tournament. Overall, Mirotic’s ability to stretch the floor should give more opportunities for Spain, which is tallying 33.3 points in the paint, to penetrate and have more space to work inside.
The Spaniards, however, need to slow down the pace of the game for as long as possible. If not, their old legs are bound to eventually breakdown against the Red, White and Blue, who boast a tournament-high of 21.2 fast break points.
Expect the first half to be as close as possible, but after that, Team USA should be able to outrun and outplay Spain down the stretch. I don’t see the Americans, however, covering the +14.5 spread.
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