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Three weeks ago, Australia upset the United States in a men’s basketball exhibition. The stakes are much higher this time around.
Team USA will get another shot at the Aussies on Thursday, this time in an Olympic semifinal with a berth in the gold medal game on the line.
Even though Australia won 91-83 in the last matchup, the U.S. is a big favorite this time around. Team USA is currently a 12.5-point favorite at BetMGM with the total set at 181.5.
The U.S. dropped its Olympic opener to France but has since won three straight games. Team USA blew out Iran and Czech Republic before advancing to the semifinals with a 95-81 victory over Spain. The U.S. was a 12.5-point favorite against Spain and used a strong fourth quarter push to eventually cover the spread.
The game was close at half, but the Americans surged ahead by double-digits in the third quarter. With Ricky Rubio leading the way, Spain cut its deficit to just six points entering the fourth quarter, but Kevin Durant and the Americans pulled away late to win fairly comfortably.
Australia is 4-0 in Tokyo
Australia, meanwhile, has yet to lose at the Tokyo Games. The Aussies cruised through group play, beating Nigeria, Italy and Germany before blowing out Argentina 97-59 in the quarterfinals. Australia was an 8.5-point favorite in that one.
The last time the U.S. and Australia met, key American players Jrue Holiday, Devin Booker and Khris Middleton were still stateside participating in the NBA playoffs. This time around, Team USA will have its full complement of players.
Most bettors at BetMGM believe Team USA will prevail this time as 73% of the bets and 74% of the money is on the Americans covering the spread. Additionally, 62% of the bets and 60% of the money is on the over 179.5.
Updated gold medal odds
Team USA remains the betting favorite to win the gold medal, which would be its seventh gold in the last eight Summer Games. The Americans are currently listed at -400 at BetMGM. Australia has never medaled in men’s basketball and is listed at +1200.
The other semifinal features France and Slovenia. Slovenia, with Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic leading the way, is a 2.5-point favorite.
After opening at +2000, Slovenia is now listed at +550 to win the gold. France is +900.
Slovenia (28.7%) has actually been on the receiving end of slightly more bets to win gold than the U.S. (28.5%), but the U.S. has received much more money — 62.8% to 17.3%.
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