In Team USA's win over Spain in the Olympic men's basketball quarterfinals, I successfully chose the under at 179.5 points as the bet of choice, which proved prophetic and put a few bucks in my pocket. But this is no time to celebrate or gloat. You're only as good as your next pick, and mine is focused on the semifinals where the U.S. faces Australia just a few weeks after losing to the Aussies in an exhibition game.
No, that's not a precursor of the picks to come, it's simply providing a little background ahead of this pivotal matchup.
USA vs Australia Odds
Team USA is a prohibitive moneyline favorite over Australia with the odds at WynnBET standing at -750 for the U.S. (bet $75 to win $10) and +500 for Australia (bet $10 to win $50).
The line (how much a team is favored to beat another by) sees the U.S. as 12.0 point favorites on WynnBET with -105 odds (bet $11 to win $10).
The over/under (how many points the two teams will combine to score) is set at 179.5 points with the under (teams will combine to score 179 or fewer points) a slight -115 favorite to the over (teams will combine for 180 or more points) at -105.
USA vs Australia Prediction
As mentioned earlier, the Australians beat the U.S. 91-83 when they played in early July. It was the Americans' second loss to open their pre-Olympics exhibition play and featured the Aussies outscoring them 11-1 to close out the game.
However, Team USA was just starting to work on their chemistry at that point and didn't have Jrue Holiday, Devin Booker or Khris Middleton who were still playing in the NBA Finals. With Holiday and Booker playing a large role on the new version of this team on both offense and defense, I expect a different result this time around.
First, my belief in Team USA to win is as strong as the odds indicate. But I'm not shelling out $75 to win $10. The line is perfectly set and, while I could see Team USA throttling Australia, I'm wary of that again.
So, what am I going to do? I'm taking Team USA -6.5 at the half at -110 odds, which means I'm predicting the U.S. to lead Australia by 7 or more points at halftime. In their most recent game, the US led Australia 46-35 at halftime before a second-half surge from the Aussies. I'm guessing Team USA carries over the hot second half it had against Spain in the quarterfinals and comes out on fire against Australia to start the game.
Now, this goes against what Team USA has done in the Olympics thus far. Team USA was tied 43-43 with Spain at halftime and against the Czechs the Americans were up only four at halftime. However, the U.S. was dominant against Spain in the second half in the quarters (outscoring them by 14) and, with revenge on their minds against Australia, I expect the Americans to come out hot in this game.
My second pick is to take the under again, but I didn't want to do that a second time and have everyone hate me. No one likes an under bettor.