Olympics betting: USA men's basketball should beat Iran, but will they win by 40?

·3-min read

United States men’s basketball already has a loss in the Olympics. If they lose in the early-morning hours on Wednesday, they might want to avoid social media for the next few decades. 

Disappointing Team USA gets what should be an easy win in its second game. Iran is a 39.5-point underdog at BetMGM. That line has come down from 42 points on Monday. It's still a lot, especially when you realize that a No. 1 seed is rarely favored over a No. 16 seed by even 30 points in the NCAA tournament. 

The stories around Team USA have centered around how mediocre a group of NBA All-Stars has looked, all the way back to their opening exhibition loss against Nigeria. Do you feel comfortable taking them as a 39.5-point favorite? 

Team USA off to bad start

The United States' troubles started during exhibition games in Las Vegas. Against Nigeria, they looked like a team that had hardly practiced together. It didn't help that Nigeria had a great night shooting threes. Then Team USA lost to Australia 91-83. That was troubling. 

Still, a roster with great players like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, Devin Booker and Zach LaVine would be fine once the games mattered, right? 

Nope. France bothered a small American roster with its height, coming back in the fourth quarter to win 83-76. It was Team USA's first Olympic loss since 2004. Now the alarms were getting loud. 

Basketball isn't as easy as putting together stars and expecting them to play like a great team. But when you have this much talent, it's not that unrealistic of an expectation. 

Kevin Durant of Team USA is looking for a better outcome in the team's second Olympic game. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant of Team USA is looking for a better outcome in the team's second Olympic game. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Can Iran keep it somewhat close? 

Nigeria, Australia and France don't have the same talent as the American team, but they do have NBA talent. Iran doesn't. 

Iran doesn't have a current NBA player. They have 7-2 Hamed Haddadi, who played six seasons in the NBA. But his last NBA game was in 2013. We expect the U.S. team to overwhelm opponents with its talent, and that's not as easy as we like to believe. But in this game, it should happen. 

But still, 39.5 points is a lot. A lot of people clearly are taking Iran given the line move. It's not patriotic to bet against the United States, but bettors have to remove emotion. Iran is 0-1 at the Olympics, with a 6-point loss to the Czech Republic. They're likely to be 0-2 after their second game, which starts at 12:40 a.m. ET. 

At least a few people will be up in the early-morning hours, seeing if Iran can keep it within 40.

Best of Tokyo 2020 Day 5 slideshow embed
Best of Tokyo 2020 Day 5 slideshow embed

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