The Americans cemented their place in the final with an 82-76 win over Spain. Pau Gasol had a strong 23-point game against Team USA, but the Americans kept the distance by preventing the Spaniards from big runs.
Serbia looked more impressive in their semifinal contest, beating the Australians by a score of 87-61. The Serbians were dominant from the opening tip, bolting out to an 8-0 run and never looking back. They held the Australians to just 14 first-half points in a dominant display of basketball.
The US is still expected to win the gold medal game, but Serbia showed that they’re still a team to be feared. Can they keep the game close and beat a +14.5 spread? Or will the Americans save their best for last in the gold medal game? Find out as we discuss the final of the men’s Olympic basketball tournament.
GTBets.eu line for USA vs. Serbia Basketball (August 21 at 2:45pm EST)
Serbia +14.5 (+700)
Team USA -14.5 (-1429)
Why USA Will Cover the Spread
Team USA hasn’t obliterated all their opponents like everybody expected. They won 3-point games over France and Serbia in group play, then notched a 6-point win over Spain. Nobody has wavered on the Americans’ chances of winning the gold medal, but these close games show that elite international teams can hang.
One thing that the US needs to do is cut down on silly mistakes. They led Spain by a comfortable distance through three quarters, then began making foolish mistakes that allowed the Spaniards to stay in the game. Failing to box out Gasol, and traveling on a breakaway dunk highlighted the miscues.
But as they’ve always done, the US used their overwhelming talent down the stretch to pull away. DeAndre Jordan was dominant in the paint and eventually tired Gasol out. Klay Thompson scored a team-high 22 points and provided much-needed outside shooting.
Spain will probably be the toughest test that the Americans face in this medal round. They have the talent to overwhelm Serbia, like they’ve done with other opponents. As long as they don’t play isolation basketball, and stay tight on defense, they could pick up a big win.
Why Serbia Will Cover the Spread
While the Serbians were ranked sixth in FIBA’s basketball rankings before the Olympics, they were a little underestimated going into the medal round. Serbian got a close 86-83 win over their rivals Croatia, but they absolutely dominated the Boomers en lieu of the gold medal game.
The Americans found this out the hard way as Serbia scored at will against them in a narrow 94-91 group-play contest. This game saw Nikola Jokic pour in 25 points in a losing effort.
Beyond the offense, Serbia has been good at shutting opponents down, as evidenced by the game against Australia. This will obviously be more of a challenge going into the contest with Team USA, but the Serbians won’t lack for effort on defense.
Most expect the Americans to triumph again in the gold medal game. But if Serbia plays their best basketball and frustrates the US offense, then they have a chance to keep the score close.
Prediction on USA vs. Serbia
Before the men’s Olympic basketball tournament began, many expected France, Spain, or Brazil to challenge the Americans for gold. So it’s surprising that Serbia will be the Americans’ last opponent – but not too surprising.
The Serbs play tough defense and move well on offense, giving them a chance to beat any international basketball power on any given night. Based on how they’ve played in the Olympics, Serbia has proven themselves to be a power on the international scene. With the gold medal on the line, expect the Serbs to keep this game within 10 points or less.
Score Prediction: USA 91 – Serbia 83
Betting Advice: Bet on Serbia to cover their +14.5 spread