The gap is narrowing. When Michael Jordan and the first Dream Team played in the 1992 Olympics, Team USA was a wrecking ball that went smashing into the rest of the world. There was little competition for the gold medal for men’s basketball, with the closest result being a 32-point victory over Croatia in the gold medal game.
But things have changed.
Some of America’s best players skip the Olympics, choosing to rest their bodies for the next NBA season instead.
And the rest of the world has caught up too. Team USA men’s basketball team lost its first two exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics. Prior to this month, the USA men’s team had only lost one exhibition game since 1992.
Further proof of basketball’s international improvement arrived this week. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was born in Nigeria and raised in Greece, led the Milwaukee Bucks to victory in the NBA Finals, earning the MVP award in the process.
The rest of the world is making things interesting and that’s reflected in the Olympic basketball odds, too.
In this week’s installment of Penn Sportsbooks’ Pick Play, we’ll cover the odds and betting markets at Pennsylvania sports betting apps for the USA men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Team USA men’s basketball futures have declined sharply
According to a tweet by John Ewing, a data analyst for BetMGM, the USA men’s team opened at -1000 to win the gold medal. However, pricing dipped to -800 following the loss to Nigeria, and dropped again to -600 after the loss to Australia. Despite two straight wins against Argentina and Spain, the U.S. odds have continued to move downward and are now at -350.
At BetMGM, Australia has the highest ticket count at 45%. In terms of liability, these are the top three at BetMGM:
Tokyo Olympics Men’s Olympic basketball odds
Despite their two losses, Team USA is still the favorite to win gold.
Men’s basketball odds to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics
(Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook)
- USA: -350
- Australia: +850
- Spain: +1200
- Slovenia: +1600
- France: +2600
- Nigeria: +2900
- Argentina: +4100
- Italy: +6500
- Czech Republic: +8500
- Germany: +8500
The U.S. men’s team plays its first game on July 25 against France. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Americans as 11.5-point favorites which will tip off at 8 a.m. (Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of America’s Eastern Time Zone). Team USA is -1000 on the moneyline, while France is +560. The game’s total is set at 177.5.
Tokyo Olympics women’s basketball odds
On the women’s side, Team USA is an overwhelming favorite, with oddsmakers viewing their chances much more favorably than the men’s. The U.S. women’s basketball team is -1200 at FanDuel Sportsbook to win the gold. Australia, who actually beat the US team 70-67 in a recent exhibition, is the next closest team at +1400. The top 10 in women’s futures are as follows:
Women’s basketball odds to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics
- USA: -1200
- Australia: +1400
- France: +2300
- Spain: +2500
- Canada: +2900
- Belgium: +2900
- Japan: +3400
- Serbia: +3400
- China: +6500
- Nigeria/South Korea/Puerto Rico: +10000
The women’s team begins its competition with a game against Nigeria at 12:40 a.m. Tuesday. Team USA is a 31-point favorite with a moneyline price of -10000. Nigeria is +1700 and the game’s total is set at 154.
Quarter, half and live betting should be available on the women’s game as well.
There are also odds posted for 3-on-3 basketball, which is making its debut at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ways to bet on Olympic basketball at Pennsylvania sportsbooks
This is the first Olympics in the United States where sports betting is legal outside of Nevada. Pennsylvania online sportsbooks are filled with ways to bet on most Olympic events.
In addition to spread, total and moneyline, other ways to wager on Olympic men’s and women’s basketball games include:
- Alternate point spread
- Alternate total points
- Quarters, halves
- Game props
- Live betting
Men’s and women’s basketball futures markets
- Winner without
- To win a medal
- Group winner
- To reach semi-final
- To make
- Stage of elimination
- Best finishing position
Promotions will bring some extra green for U.S. golds
DraftKings Tokyo Olympics odds boosts
- 25% profit boost for Team USA’s game against France on Sunday.
- Kevin Durant to score 25+ points and Team USA to win vs. France boosted from (+210) to +240
FanDuel also has a number of promotions for Olympic bettors that can provide some extra cash. New users who sign up and bet $10 on the Olympics can get $100 in site credit for any FanDuel Sportsbook bet. Those who wager $20 can get $200.
Existing users can also earn a bonus. Players who make at least $100 in Olympic wagers before July 26 will receive a $1 bonus in site credit for each gold medal the U.S. wins. And with the over/under for America’s gold medals set at 44.5, a few smart wagers can help turn a profit.
The Tokyo Olympics are officially underway following the Opening Ceremony that began early Friday morning. The basketball competition starts Saturday and the American teams will take the court soon afterward.
Will both of them win the gold? As the futures odds suggest, the women are already far ahead. But elsewhere, the gap is narrowing.
Lead photo Eric Gay/AP