History will tell you that the chalk generally holds up in Olympic basketball. Serbia though, has been anything but chalk throughout this tournament. The Serbs only went 2-3 in group play, beating the two weakest teams of the five, and they looked to have a very difficult road to reach the gold medal match. Here they are though, 40 minutes away from arguably the most improbable gold medal of the entire Olympics, though standing in their way is the "Dream Team" of the United States.
Olympic Basketball Odds at BookMaker.eu
The United States was giving 24 points to Serbia in the first meeting of the Olympics of these two squads, and obviously, after a narrow 94-91 win in that match for the Stars and Stripes, things have changed dramatically. Since then, Serbia has beaten Croatia and Australia, two very good team with medal aspirations, and the match against the Aussies wasn't even remotely close at 87-61.
Now, the oddsmakers have some confidence that the Serbs can once again keep this matchup close. The United States is still an awfully heavy favorite at -15.5 alongside a total of 181, but this is still a tremendous jump for Serbia in a span of just a week and a half.
The First Meeting
The problem for the Americans against Serbia certainly didn't come on the offensive end of the court. Sure, the 94 points scored in that game almost feels like commonplace at this point, but it really was a well-rounded game. The United States shot 49.1 percent from the field and was physical enough to get to the foul line a whopping 42 times.
Kyrie Irving led the way with 15 points, while Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan and DeMar DeRozan all reached double-digits in scoring as well.
Even though Serbia lost though, the star of the show was Nikola Jovic. The only NBA player on this roster truly was a superstar, as he scored 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting, and he really had his way with the Americans in the paint throughout the game. Miroslav Raduljica and Milos Teodosic both had great games as well with 18 points apiece.
The overlay here with the United States is just too much to ignore. It's not hard to think that the oddsmakers shaded this team just a bit in the group stage of the Olympics, but in any normal spot in any other sports situation, you wouldn't figure to see a team sway a line by 9.5 points in a week and a half with just a couple matches played in the middle.
Serbia has had a great run for sure, but the bottom line is that it still lost games to France, Australia and the United States in the group stage, and the match against Croatia could have just as easily been lost.
The Americans have learned their lessons, and they have survived their toughest test against Spain. It really should be clear sailing from here, and we think this is going to be a display which the United States can be proud of to wrap up what has been a dominant Olympic Games here in Rio de Janeiro.
Olympics Odds: USA 106, Serbia 78
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