The business end of the Olympic tournament starts tonight for Team USA basketball, as they face fourth-placed Australia from Group B in the quarter-finals today (5.15pm EDT; 10.15pm in UK). The USA are the only team to navigate their way out of the group stage with a 100% record. Despite a few close calls, Coach K’s side do look good for the finals later this week.
The game against Argentina earlier in the week was a convincing win. Argentina’s NBA stars put in good performances, especially Manu Ginobili, but again, it was the pure athleticism of the Americans that proved to be too much.
Kevin Durant was a stand-out performer, offering a mini-clinic for the fans and a jaw dropping three from deep late in the game. The Oklahoma City Thunder star has been one of the key players over the tournament, and scored a team-high 28pts against Argentina.
His Thunder team-mate Russell Westbrook, who has started all games from the bench, has also been an impressive performer throughout the tournament, despite only registering 4pts against Argentina. The trio of Westbrook, Durant and James Harden, also of the Thunder, have been proof of the depth of this United States team.
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The USA are beatable; their defense has simply not been in keeping with the high standard set by the offence. But should we expect them to be beaten by Australia? A convincing no, as has been the case throughout the group stage. And that’s not to take away from what Australia can bring to the game – they do have a number of heavy-hitting weapons. But the USA are the No.1 team in the world for a reason.
One of those reasons has been Carmelo Anthony, who deserves to be mentioned again. As I’ve said in the past, he’s been the most consistent player for the USA (Kevin Durant coming in at a close second). But ‘Melo’s game against Argentina was not matching of his previous output.
He scored only 5pts and really didn’t seem to have much of an authority on the game. I’d hardly be too concerned, but I would expect Anthony to bounce back tonight.
LeBron James (pictured) is emerging as the team’s leader ahead of veteran Kobe Bryant. Bryant is starting to show his age, where as LeBron is taking on the responsibility as the king. His passing is outstanding and the way he attacks the basket is unmatched.
When a level of uncertainty arises for the USA, LeBron reminds us he is there with a string of magnificent high-flying attacks. His points totals have greatly improved, and as the best basketball player in the world, the USA can dominate and destroy any opposition with him at his best.
We also saw a little of Anthony Davis against Argentina, with a cameo in the fourth quarter. There’s been a trend to Coach K’s use of Davis, allowing the 19-year-old opportunities in low-pressure situations.
Chris Paul will again dictate the play from the get-go, and his work with Kevin Durant in the starting line up has been very promising and extremely productive.
Team USA v Australia Basketball Betting Picks & Tips
Hopefully the USA won’t adopt a laid back attitude as we’ve seen in the past. Again, they can be beaten and Australia won’t shy away from having a go. Australia have NBA quality in their side, and this knockout round could be a wake-up call to the sometimes arrogant USA stars.
The depth of Team USA’s attack will be the deciding factor, though, as they’ve simply got too much quality. Their defensive game can be questioned, but I’d always back them to outscore their opponents.
In the handicap betting, Team USA are -32.5pts. We advise that you bet on them at -110 (10/11) to beat Australia by 33pts or more. This looks a good play. You can wager on this game with these bookies:
- If you are from America (all states): Put money on Team USA -32.5pts with BetOnline Sportsbook.
- Americans can also bet with Bovada Sportsbook (Team USA -33.5pts) if they are not from Utah, New York, Washington or Maryland states.
- If you are not American: Bet on Team USA -32.5pts with Bet365.