Men’s Olympic Basketball Preview: Basketball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook for Paris 2024

Men’s Olympic Basketball Preview: Basketball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook for Paris 2024

Who says there isn’t high level basketball happening in early July? No. I’m not talking about the start of Summer League. I’m talking about the run of Olympic qualifiers that finished up this past weekend, cementing the Men’s Basketball field for Paris 2024.

Thanks to some herculean performances, we now know that Greece, Spain, Puerto Rico and Brazil will join the field of 12 when play kicks off in France in less than three weeks.

With that settled, let’s preview the tournament and dig into the Olympic betting markets available over at the DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Betting Odds

  • USA (-390)
  • Canada (+900)
  • France (+1000)
  • Serbia (+1300)
  • Greece (+1900)
  • Germany (+2800)
  • Australia (+4500)
  • Spain (+5000)
  • Brazil (+10000)
  • Puerto Rico (+30000)
  • South Sudan (+40000)
  • Japan (+50000)

Group A

Teams: Canada, Australia, Spain, Greece

Players to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Jamal Murray (Canada), Josh Giddey (Australia), RJ Barrett (Canada), Willy Hernangomez (Spain), Santi Aldama (Spain), Dante Exum (Australia)

This has already been dubbed the “Group of Death” for this tournament and it’s not very difficult to see why. Canada is a rising power in international basketball, fresh off a bronze medal in the FIBA World Cup which helped the team qualify for the Olympics for the first time since a fresh-faced Steve Nash led the squad in 2000. Jamal Murray was not available for that World Cup run last summer. Nor was Andrew Nembhard, who is coming off quite the performance for the Pacers in the NBA Playoffs. That duo gives Canada immense guard depth alongside MVP runner-up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. However, Canada does lack elite size — an area where two-time Naismith Player of the Year Zach Edey might’ve helped. However, the big man will skip the Olympics to focus on his rookie campaign with the Grizzlies.

Australia and Spain are stalwarts of this tournament and both are ranked inside the top five of the FIBA World Basketball Rankings. However, each is towards the end of its golden generation — a reality Spain came to terms with in the 2023 World Cup with back-to-back second-round losses to Canada and Latvia. Australia remains flush with NBA talent, yet the likes of Patty Mills and Joe Ingles appear to be on their last legs. Meanwhile, Greece has Giannis Antetokounmpo on its roster. That’s really all that needs to be said.

Group B

Teams: France, Germany, Brazil, Japan

Players to Watch: Victor Wembanyama (France), Rudy Gobert (France), Franz Wagner (Germany), Dennis Schroder (Germany), Rui Hachimura (Japan), Evan Fournier (France), Yuta Watanabe (Japan), Bruno Caboclo (Brazil)

If Group A is the currently considered the strongest in this Olympic field, Group B is probably the weakest. Still, that’s not to say there isn’t some amazing potential in this set of teams. In fact, France’s presence in Group B almost makes them my favorite bet to unseat the USA — at the very least, it means they should have shorter odds than Canada. With the top two teams in each group advancing to the quarterfinals, along with two point-differential wild cards, France is assuredly a lock to make it out of the round robin stage of the tournament. It should also be well positioned to draw a weaker opponent in the first of the knockout games. France had an incredibly poor showing in the World Cup, yet it adds reigning Rookie of the Year Victor Wembanyama to its player pool this summer, not to mention fellow rookie Bilal Coulibaly. Wenbanyama is already making noise in a French uniform, scoring 25 points in just 19 minutes this past weekend in an exhibition tilt against Germany.

Speaking of Germany, the World Cup champions will bring a very recognizable roster to Paris, with Franz Wagner and World Cup MVP Dennis Schroder leading the charge. Germany also took home a bronze in EuroBasket in 2022. Overlook the squad at your own peril. Japan and Brazil round out this group and it will be an uphill battle for either to make it very far in this stacked field. Do keep an eye on Bruno Caboclo, though, who is now several years past Fran Fraschilla’s infamous timeline of professional growth. Caboclo averaged 17.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest for Brazil in its Olympic qualifier and he’s only 28-years-old.

Group C

Teams: USA, Serbia, South Sudan, Puerto Rico

Players to Watch: LeBron James (USA), Nikola Jokic (Serbia), Joel Embiid (USA), Stephen Curry (USA), Anthony Edwards (USA), Kevin Durant (USA), Jayson Tatum (USA), Jose Alvarado (Puerto Rico), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia), Carlik Jones (South Sudan)

I could have very easily listed the entire USA roster in the section above, but I think you get the point. The Americans are massive favorites to take home the gold in Paris and it’s pretty easy to see why that is the case. On top of the usual assortment of NBA All-Stars that Team USA brings to every Olympics, you’ll notice the name Joel Embiid. That’s important. Embiid is Cameroonian by birth and was long believed to be to a future member of France’s national team. However, prior to the beginning of last season, Embiid unambiguously made his commitment to the USA, widening the gap between the North American powerhouse and everyone else. Embiid (+350) actually owns the best odds to lead Team USA in scoring during the Olympics, yet I feel like there’s more value in Anthony Edwards (+550) and Stephen Curry (+600). The latter is well-rested after missing the playoffs and should be motivated in his first-career Olympic run. Meanwhile, Edwards has already made his thoughts on the team’s scoring hierarchy very clear.

Serbia is the other beast of this group and is another team whose outright odds I like slightly better than betting on the Canadians — if you’re looking for a long shot. Firstly, Serbia’s path to the knockout stage should be relatively sweat-free with matchups against South Sudan and Puerto Rico. Secondly, Serbia already beat Canada in the World Cup semi-finals last year and that was without the services of Nikola Jokic. South Sudan also turned heads at the World Cup, just missing out on the second-round thanks to an overtime loss to fellow Group C competitor, Puerto Rico. The South Sudanese roster will be a fun one for basketball nerds, as well, with the likes of Wenyen Gabriel, JT Thor, Thon Maker and, maybe, Bol Bol all making the cut.

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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.

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