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Olympic Basketball Day 1 Preview and Picks

Kevin Durant

Olympic basketball finally gets underway today, which means it’s time for the US to go America all over everyone’s ass. The games get underway at 1:15 with France vs Australia – for the life of me I’ll never understand why Brazil didn’t get the first game here. We’ll have you covered daily for picks, previews and because I’m so kind I’ll do my best KMarko impression and give out some DraftKings picks since they are doing daily fantasy this year.  All odds were as of 9:15 this morning, when I wrote this.

France vs Australia – 1:15 pm

Line: France -6.5 (-275), Australia (+220) 151.5

Preview: The one advantage Australia will typically have in the Olympics, plays perfectly into France’s strengths here. Australia will try to take advantage with Andrew Bogut in the post then Patty Mills and Delly in the backcourt. Well, France has that but just better. They have Rudy Gobert in the post and Tony Parker and Nando De Colo in the backcourt. France will absolutely dominate Australia on the wing though. Joe Ingles from Australia will have to try to guard either Boris Diaw or Nic Batum, giving the other a huge mismatch. Look for Batum to have a strong game as he’ll likely have the mismatch and the shorter three-point line will allow him to shoot a better percentage. One of the coaching plays to watch is what Australia does with its bigs. Do they want to go big and play Bogut with Aron Baynes to try and attack France that way? If so can Baynes stick with Diaw, who can beat bigs off the dribble with his crafty style of play? I’m high on this France team, thanks to the versatility of Diaw and Batum.

Pick: Give me France by 10 here. I think ultimately the wing play ends up being too much and for the first game, I’ll lean on the side of the better team. I’m not sure what to expect with the scoring with these teams, especially if Australia struggles, so I’ll stay away from the total, but if I had to pick go over as Batum and Parker can get hot.

USA vs China – 6:00 pm

Line: USA -47.5 (-50000), China (+3300), 171.5

Preview: A lot of dunksA whole lot of missed shots by China. A whole lot of DeMarcus Cousins and Kyrie Irving. A whole lot of USA beating the shit out of China. We saw these two teams play twice already and both games were nearly identical. The US won 106-57 and 107-57. I’d guess China will score around 57 points again. The game won’t be close, but if China wants to keep it respectable they need something from their guards. Team USA will trap the hell out of this team as China has four 7-footers, but their guard play is severely lacking. Expect the US to put on a show from the get go, with Kyrie and Durant looking to get into the lane to start the game.

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Pick: Give me USA. They covered the spread in both exhibition games and with the Olympics getting underway they’ll be more apt to play their best lineup instead of whatever city they are in like the exhibition games. I do like the under here as China will struggle to score. Coach K will try to slow down USA in the 4th so they don’t embarrass China too bad and expect USA to score around 110.

Serbia vs Venezuela – 9:30 pm

Line: Serbia -20.5 (-10000), Venezuela (+1600), 149.5

Preview: As high as I am on France, I’m even higher on Serbia. This team is loaded and people will finally realize how good Nikola Jokic is. Serbia has a great three-headed monster in Jokic, Bogdanovic and Milos Teodosic, who is a point guard that is a guy that can do both. On the flipside? Venezuela, well, they made the Olympics. This team simply isn’t good. They will ugly the game up and try to slow the game down, big time. They are by far the worst team in the Olympics and simply can’t hang for a full game. Serbia will look to get the ball up the court fast and shoot a ton of 3s. I don’t think this game will be close at all.

Pick: Going with all 3 favorites today as Serbia should blow out Venezuela with ease. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about a backdoor cover as the Serbs should be up big the entire game. For the total, it’s somewhat hard to judge as these two teams are complete opposites. Venezuela only scored 45 against Team USA, but Serbia doesn’t defend nearly as well. In qualifying games against Angola, Puerto Rico and Czech Republic, Serbia averaged over 87 points a game. Look for them to get close to 100 today.

Daily Fantasy:

If you’re a daily fantasy player here are some guys to target today.

Milos Teodosic – He’s only $4800 and a must play. He can easily get you a double-double in points and assists, so absolutely play him.

Gregory Vargas – The Venezuelan is the leading scorer for them and will have to have big games just to keep scores respectable. He’s listed at just $5100 so you can save some money for big money guys.

Kyrie Irving – Kyrie is one of the big money guys I’ll target as China struggles at the guard spot. He’s at a respectable $7800 so you’re not breaking your bank and can pair another big money guy with him.

If you have other picks or want to discuss Olympic basketball follow me @barstoolreags