2020 Tokyo Olympics men's basketball quarter-finals best bets: Spain to cause trouble for Team USA

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Germantas Kneita


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Like most Lithuanians, I started watching basketball from the age of six. I'm based out in London and played basketball at the University of Lincoln here in the UK. I had always had an interest in the NBA but things really took off in the summer of 2010. That year Linas Kleiza led Lithuania to 3rd place at the World Championships and signed with the Toronto Raptors to replace the departing Chris Bosh. I've been a Raptors fan since that day and I've not missed a game since. I've been handicapping games for more than a decade, specializing in player props. For Germantas Kneita media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.

The pool stage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament has reached its conclusion and it’s now win-or-go-home time as we enter the quarter-finals.

The draw has been made and the bracket has been set. We’ve got four exciting matchups to look forward to, so let’s dive into my favorite picks for each game!

Spain vs USA Olympics men’s basketball prediction: Spain +12 (-110)

There was a lot of concern around the performance of Team USA in the friendlies leading up to the tournament and after their loss to France. That talk was silenced after two dominant wins against Iran and the Czech Republic. However, those teams pale in comparison to the quality of Spain, who are the defending world champions. These teams also played in the lead-up to the Olympics, with USA taking home an 83-76 win. Spain had only one player play more than 27 minutes in that game, though, and they should be using a much more established and shorter rotation in the quarter-final.

This Spanish squad is incredibly experienced and has been playing together for several major tournaments, allowing them to build a chemistry that is tough to match for any team, especially this iteration of Team USA. Ricky Rubio has been terrific at the tournament, averaging 21 points and 7 assists per game so far. With the playmaking abilities of Marc and Pau Gasol, he should have the freedom to remain aggressive in scoring the ball. Marc Gasol is a great anchor to this defense, much like Rudy Gobert is for France. Expect Spain to remain equally defensively disciplined and keep this game tight throughout.

USA forwards Draymond Green and Kevin Durant

CREDIT – Kyle Terada (USA Today)

Slovenia vs Germany Olympics men’s basketball prediction: Luka Doncic over 9.5 rebounds (-120)

Slovenia’s Luka Doncic has been one of the most impressive players at the Olympics so far and his rebounding numbers have been one of his most consistent features. He is averaging 10.7 rebounds per game but in the two games where he surpassed 30 minutes of playing time, he was able to record totals of 11 and 14 rebounds. The one game in which he failed to hit double-digit boards was against Japan, when he played only 26 minutes in a blowout win. With this being the quarter-finals, and with a win-or-go-home situation, minutes should not be an issue.

Slovenia has been the best rebounding team at the tournament and the presence of big man Mike Tobey, who himself has three straight double-digit rebounding games, should keep the Germans occupied. That should allow Doncic and the rest of the Slovenia team to collect offensive boards. They have 50 offensive rebounds in the tournament through the group stages, 12 more than any other team. Expect Doncic to collect at least three or four of these, which should help him get double-digit rebounds. Back the over.

Luka Doncic of Slovenia celebrates during the 2020 FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament final match between Lithuania and Slovenia in Kaunas, Lithuania, July 4, 2021.


Italy vs France Olympics men’s basketball prediction: Nico Mannion over 4.5 assists (-120)

Through the group-stage games, Nico Mannion has established himself as the lead playmaker on this Italian squad. He is currently averaging 5 assists per game, but he was able to record 2 games of 7 assists in the group against Germany and Australia, both teams which advanced to the quarter finals.

Mannion has been effective in the paint in this tournament and is currently shooting just over 59% from inside the arc. However, since he will be met by a couple of shot-blocking bigs in the paint with Gobert and Moustapha Fall playing for France, it could benefit his assist numbers as he looks to draw the defenders and pass out. Italy does have a number of shooters on their roster, especially their big men Danilo Gallinari and Nicolo Melli. In the case of Melli in particular, he is shooting an uncharacteristic 30% from deep, something that looks bound to change at some point. France could gamble and leave him open. If they do, expect Mannion to find him and rack up assists.

Australia vs Argentina Olympics men’s basketball prediction: Australia -8.5 (-105)

Australia is a serious contenter at these Olympics and the fact that they remained undefeated in a fairly tough group helps to verify their credentials. Patty Mills is the third leading scorer at the tournament, averaging 21.7 points per game, and should provide an offensive spark that will be tough for Argentina to match. Around him they have terrific defenders in cluding Matisse Thybulle, who is able to take the opposing teams’ strongest wing scorers out of the game.

Argentina have so far been relying on Luis Scola for a large part of their offense, but he should not have an easy outing. Aron Baynes is someone he should struggle to back down and gain post position against. Jock Landale too has terrific length and should have success contesting him in the post and closing down his shots. On the other end, Landale is great at running the floor and his dives to the rim should keep Scola fully occupied. Argentina has suffered two double-digit losses so far, and with the defensive play of this Australia squad, they should have issues scoring enough to make up for their defensive deficiencies.

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