After losing the first two pre-Olympics exhibition games against Nigeria and Australia, Team USA will be desperate for a bounce back performance tonight in Las Vegas against Argentina.
Team USA might not have all its best players available for these Olympics, but they do have a strong roster with the likes of Durant, Tatum, Lillard, Beal and Green, among others. Despite this, the Americans managed to lose against both Nigeria and Australia, who proved once again that many nations are beginning to catch up with the USA in basketball.
Argentina didn’t far much better in the exhibition tournament. Silver medalists at the 2019 World Cup, the Argentinians lost a close one to Australia before getting blown out by Nigeria. There are reasons for concern for them as well.
My first instinct thinking about this game was to bet on Team USA. I was thinking that the previous two performances will have a big impact on the odds, USA will not be as heavily favored, and they will have a bounce back performance.
But I am looking at the odds and the point spread is (yet again) huge. Bookies are acting like the previous two games didn’t happen for USA, and are giving no respect to Argentina.
Listen, it’s true that Argentina didn’t look great so for either, but this is still one of the best teams in the world. What’s more, they are one of the teams with the best chemistry, which is exactly what bothers the USA the most. Argentina does not have top individual talent, being led by 41 year old grandpa Luis Scola and Facundo Campazzo, but the team plays so well and smooth together. That should match up well against USA’s style of play which features isolation and individuality.
Team USA only had 7 days together and they clearly need more time to find an identity and also to get used to the FIBA rules. As seen last night against Australia, they still do not have any chemistry.
While USA’s overwhelming talent will eventually raise to the surface in the Olympics, fact is they do have some problems, the roster is not well constructed, chemistry is lacking, and more time is needed to fix these problems. That’s what these exhibitions are for. Argentina is no joke, and at this point I think USA just wants to get a win to get things rolling, not necessarily prove the doubters wrong with some massive blowout.
Fact is, even in normal circumstances, you wouldn’t expect USA to blow out Argentina by 25-30 points.
My tip is Argentina to cover the 19.5 point handicap. I just think this massive line is worth a shot. Prediction: USA – Argentina 95 – 85.