We’re back for day 2 of the Olympics with Group B starting today and there are two great games. Yesterday went as expected with Team USA blowing out China and Serbia destroying Venezuela. What didn’t go as planned was France absolutely shitting the bed against Australia. France has struggled as of late losing its last four games after qualifying for the Olympics. In the first quarter against Australia, France got nothing from Tony Parker and Nic Batum, which set the pace for the rest of the game. Ultimately that loss will likely mean France gets Spain in the first round of the knockout stage and an early exit. More importantly before the Team USA game yesterday we were graced with something special. Now play the damn music:
Lithuania vs Brazil – 1:15 pm
Line: Brazil -1.5 (-130), Lithuania +105,145.5
Preview: Lithuania is one of the more intriguing teams in this competition. They are led by Jonas Valanciunas of the Toronto Raptors and have four guys including him that stand at least 6’10” on the roster. Much like my fear for Australia yesterday, Lithuania doesn’t have a strong player on the wing because they are missing four key players. However, I still like Lithuania as they are constantly successful in international play. Brazil on the other hand is the slight favorite here and will look to Leandro Barbosa to lead them. If Brazil wants to win they need Marcel Huertas to have a strong game. If he can’t play the point guard spot without turning the ball over, they have to have Barbosa or Neto move to the point spot. Ultimately the group of Valanciunas, Sabonis and Kuzmiskas is too much.
Pick: Take Lithuania straight up here at some value. I’m high on Lithuania for the competition in general, thinking they can get into the bronze medal game and likely finish third in this group. At +105 it’s worth the value opposed to the 1.5 points. The over is enticing here as well as Brazil will want to play uptempo and Lithuania will want to shoot 3’s and play in the post.
Spain vs Croatia – 6pm
Line: Spain -9.5 (-550), Croatia +395, 150.5
Preview: This is the second strong game of the day. Spain is the heavy favorite to win this group and the silver medal, but this Croatia team is intriguing. They have three great wings in Saric, Bogdanovic and Hezonja. Obviously Philly guys know Saric and are curious to watch him play, but keep an eye out on Hezonja, who was the No. 5 pick a couple years ago for the Magic. The key to this game is Miro Bilan who is one of the only true post players for Croatia. Obviously he’ll be going up against Pau Gasol, who is a Hall of Famer. Spain should win this game and if you want to watch someone get the ball and score at a high rate, watch former NBA player Rudy Fernandez. Remember he dominated the USA in the 2008 Gold medal game. Spain’s depth will allow them to win this game, but Croatia will keep it close. Ultimately this game will determine what Croatia does in group play. If they keep it close they will finish second in the group, if they get blown out they’ll likely fall to fourth or fifth.
Pick: I’m going to go with the over here as Croatia plays a lot like Serbia in wanting to get the ball up the court and shoot threes. Obviously we know what Spain has and will gladly play a game with heavy offense. I do think Croatia keeps it close too, so I’ll take a shot on Croatia + 9.5
Argentina vs Nigeria – 9pm
Line: Argentina – 11.5 (-750), Nigeria +550, 162.5
Preview: This is the one game that shouldn’t be close and frankly I’m surprised the line is just 11.5. Argentina is a lot like Lithuania in the sense that they just always seem to be successful in international competitions. Argentina is coming off a win against France last week in exhibition play, so there is some good to build on and not that blowout loss to the USA. Nigeria will struggle to keep up with the likes of Manu and Luis Scola – who is awesome for Argentina. They’ll look to Michael Gbinije and Chamberlain Oguchi to lead them in scoring, with the two of them being really the only threats from the three-point line for the African champions. Argentina will play their old man game with crisp passing and have a ton of guys who can shoot the ball.
Pick: I really like Argentina to blow out Nigeria here. The experience and talent is just too much as Nigeria went just 1-4 in the 2012 Olympics with that one win being against Tunisia. I think the three-point shooting will be too much and give the Argentines a big lead early.
Juan Carlos Navarro – $5000: Navarro is the backup point guard to Ricky Rubio for Spain, but he’ll play a ton of minutes. He looks to score when he’s in the game and with the Spain roster can rack up assists. He’s a safe cheap play that will allow you to spend money elsewhere.
Luis Scola – $7300: Scola sucks in the NBA, but he’s absolutely awesome in international play. He’s the third most expensive Power Forward, but worth the money. Going with what I think is going to happen in the Argentina game, it’s worth stacking them.
Michael Gbinije – $3500: Gbinije is the cheap play here and hoping you can have him hit a couple threes. The thought process here is pairing Gbinije with Navarro as two cheap plays and loading up a couple big name guys so you don’t miss out if they have a big game.
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