The Olympics are just around the corner, and now that the American basketball team has been named I’m itching to see some basketball action. Here’s a look at some interesting futures odds for the 12-team tournament, which tips off in London on July 29 (all betting odds are from Bovada):
The Americans are absolutely the best team in this tournament, and this price is absolutely ridiculous. The team needs to play eight games in 15 days and win most of them — including the last three.
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They have been practicing together as a team since just early July. They have enough egos to sink a ship. They are without some pretty serious talent — Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, and Dwyane Wade. Chris Paul was banged up in selection camp, and more injuries are always possible.
If they play their best they will win this tournament — and they have the potential to make it look pretty easy. This is not the best American team out there, though, and the two most important players — James and Durant — are both coming off long, grueling playoff runs that seem like they only ended yesterday.
To suggest that it would be a good idea to bet $700 to win $100 on any team in any 12-team tournament that is single elimination at the end is totally ridiculous — even a team as good as this one. Never mind that there are some other pretty solid teams in this field.
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This price is probably a bit low for the Spaniards — at least it would be in a perfect world. Compared to the Americans, though, it’s like Christmas in July.
This is a very talented team. The Gasol brothers start up front with Serge Ibaka as a key substitute. Rudy Fernandez is shooting forward. Juan Carlos Navarro, who played one year for the Grizzlies before returning to star in Spain, is in the backcourt along with Jose Calderon.
They lack some depth, and it would be really nice to see Ricky Rubio in this lineup, but they know each other well and are certainly dangerous to test the Americans.
The U.S. would almost surely win a seven-game series, but this is a best-of-one — and there will be a strong Spanish contingent in the stands if they do reach the finals.
At this price I would be much more likely to take a shot on them than I would on the U.S.
These guys were the first ever to beat an American dream team when they did so at the 2002 World Championship, and they won gold at the 2004 Olympics. Needless to say, they are a dangerous squad.
They have no shortage of NBA talent — Scola and Oberto at center, Nocioni at power forward, Delfino at small forward, and Ginobli at shooting guard. They have played together for a long time and will be as comfortable and cohesive as any team.
The biggest issue, though, is that Carlos Delfino at 29 is the only player on their two-deep roster younger than 31. In other words, they are old.
In a short tournament against at least two teams that are more talented than they are that’s going to be an issue.
France almost saw their dreams come to a crashing halt in an occurrence that sounds like something out of a bad joke — point guard Tony Parker almost missed the Olympics thanks to an eye injury suffered in a fight at a nightclub with singer Chris Brown and members of Drake’s entourage. He’s cleared to play, though, so the team can breathe again.
He heads up a solid starting lineup that features newly-wealthy Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Joakim Noah. The big problem, though, is outside of 21 year old Wizards backup center Kevin Seraphin they have no one on the bench with an NBA pedigree. Their depth will kill them against the Americans and the Argentinians, so their margin for error is small.
That being said, this price is a solid representation of their chances. If you could find someone that would let you bet that they would win the bronze that would be very attractive at the right price.
Great Britain (250/1)
You could make an argument in some cases that the home team could enjoy a patriotic boost that could make them particularly attractive at the right price. That might be true in some cases, but it certainly isn’t here.
These guys wouldn’t be attractive at 25000/1. There is only one way you could love this team — if you are such a massive fan of Luol Deng that you are convinced that he can beat the American team essentially single-handedly. I just don’t like Deng enough, and there isn’t anyone else to help him.
It is a painfully shallow roster, and they are totally outclassed. This will not be a future Disney movie in the making.
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