The US Basketball team opens the Tokyo 2020 Olympics against France on Sunday, hoping to post a win over one of the biggest rivals for the gold in this tournament. The Americans faced many adversities before the start of the Olympics, starting with withdrawals, COVID-19 infections, and players who weren’t present during the training camp. On the other side, the French team is filled with NBA quality, but somehow, they didn’t show that in the preparation matches. Or maybe head coach Vincent Collet decided to keep a low profile for some of his tactics.
USA (-800) is a 12.5 points favorite coming into this matchup. The Americans opened the preparation period with two straight losses to Nigeria and Australia. In both of them, it was obvious that Gregg Popovich‘s side ran out of gas before the end of the third period and that their tempo significantly dropped.
After that, Team USA beat Argentina and Spain, with the last match ending 83-76, with the note that it could have gone either way because the Spanish head coach didn’t use his best players too much. Durant and Lillard hold everything in their hands on the offensive side of the court, but they will receive a big help as Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Devin Booker arrive after the NBA Finals.
The team will be without Zach LaVine, who is in quarantine due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
France (+550) had some surprising losses in the recent time, like the one against Japan, following their arrival in Tokyo. That match ended 81-75 for the Japs, and also, the previous two prep games against Spain ended with defeats. The first one was 86-77 and the second 87-79.
As you could see, the Gauls don’t play very efficient contests. And that is not odd at all, having in mind that the defensive aspect of this team is much better than offense. Three-time NBA DPOY, Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, is in the middle of everything, controlling the paint. At the same time, Nicola Batum, Frank Ntikikina, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot have their specific roles in the backcourt.
Evan Fournier and Nando de Colo are the leaders of the team in general. The Celtics guard will be their primary attacking option alongside Fenerbahche’s sharpshooter. The only place where France might have some problem is point guard because Andrew Albicy isn’t the high-caliber player like other NBA names.
Head to Head Matches
The last time these two sides met at the Olympics was in Rio, and the USA survived a scare, winning 100-97. However, the French side eliminated the Americans in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Championship two years ago in China, 89-79.
Do know that the spread on the USA is not realistic and that the French team will manage to lose with fewer than 13 points. They have a quality for that, and it seems that the bookies oversaw that. For us, this is the best bet here, so we suggest going with it. The odds are pretty satisfying -110, and there is no reason to look something else here.
Pick: France +12.5 -110
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.