1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    USA basketball no sure bet in Olympics

    USA basketball no sure bet in Olympics

    Despite heading into the Beijing games as heavy, heavy favorites on the hardwood, the men's basketball team from the USA is in no way a lock for the gold. Under the guidance of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the red, white & blue stars will have to play much better than in their final tune up in which their sloppy play was just enough to get past an Australian squad without its star on the floor.


    The greatest sports spectacle in the whole world is here. The 2008 Olympic Summer Games start Friday after over seven years of preparations. But the spectacle on offer this year goes well beyond sport – or even drugs and sport. For example, American cyclists arrived in Beijing wearing masks to protect themselves against pollution; one day later, they were compelled to apologize.

    Air quality is a serious issue for all athletes, but especially those competing in endurance events. There are also legitimate concerns over food and water safety; with athletes held to a strict drug policy, some American and Canadian athletes have been given special permission to bring their own meals. And those are just the non-political threats the athletes will face in Beijing.

    Given the amount of government interference in these Games, it’s almost a given that there will be a “home-court” advantage for Chinese athletes. They have been funded heavily by the Communist Party, they’re relatively used to the conditions in Beijing, and they are likely to receive preferential treatment everywhere they turn. Corruption (or zouhoumen, “taking the back door”) is a familiar buzzword at every level of Chinese politics.

    In this environment, the U.S. men’s basketball team is an island unto itself. They’re apparently still not subject to anti-doping measures, which was part of the original agreement to get NBA players on the Dream Team in 1992. They’re staying at a five-star hotel, after luxurious stops in Macau and Shanghai for pre-Olympic contests. The players have been instructed to focus on basketball and not the pomp and circumstance of the Games themselves, let alone the politics surrounding them.

    Those instructions have coincided with some dominant performances on the court. Team USA is the 1-5 chalk on the men’s basketball betting odds, despite losing to Argentina in the 2004 Games. Their 12-man roster is filled with star quality. The worst player is arguably shooting guard Michael Redd, who scored 22.7 points per game last year. But as a pure shooter, Redd is a useful part of a Team USA multi-pronged attack that should fare much better as a team than the 2004 model.

    Teamwork is being trumpeted wherever the Americans go. They are working under Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, with assistants Mike D’Anonti of the New York Knicks and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. Their task has been to convert 12 NBA players into 12 FIBA players, learning the different rules and playing a breed of basketball that can be more effective on the world stage. The make-up of the roster represents that goal: Dwight Howard is the only true center, flanked by Chris Bosh. Even LeBron James played at the five during pre-Olympic competition.

    Now it’s just a question of effort. And that effort was very much in question during Team USA’s final tune-up, a sloppy 87-76 victory over an Australian team that didn’t even have Andrew Bogut on the floor. The U.S. didn’t lock down on defense, didn’t hustle on offense, and only shot 3-for-18 from long range and 20-for-33 from the free-throw line. It was enough of a battle to remind everyone of Team USA’s disappointments of the past six years.

    If the U.S. is overvalued at 1-5, then it follows that Spain is the value pick at 5-1. The Spaniards are the reigning FIBA world champions, led by Pau Gasol in the middle and accomplished players like Juan Carlos Navarro and Jose Calderon on the perimeter. It’s up to Chris Paul and Deron Williams to prevent Calderon from penetrating; Jason Kidd is not up to the task at age 35, but then again, few men are.

  2. #2
    pavyracer
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    So what's the play here
    175 pts

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  3. #3
    TodaysAction
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    Because the talent level outside America has improved greatly since the original Dream Team rolled and have squads playing together longer than the USA counterparts, they jell better. The larger question remains, can and will this group work as a team or will they revert to individual game play? If it yes to the former, they have a legit shot at medaling, if the latter they'll be on the outside looking in.

  4. #4
    EdwardA
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    The USA will always be one of the favourites. The only question is if they can stand the pressure because every nation will be extra motivated when playing against the USA.

  5. #5
    dwaechte
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    I think USA not to win gold at over +300 is a great bet.

  6. #6
    Tsoprano
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    USA deifnitely wins the gold. It would mean so much for their endorsement deals at their ages. Kobe Bryant NENEDS this win after getting spanked and raped from the Celtics in the finals.

  7. #7
    pavyracer
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    I'd rather see what your thoughts are in sports betting the hoops Olympics. Who the fcuk cares if the US wins the gold at -350?

    Post some picks fcukers!

    Here are some of mine for day one:

    China +33.5 against USA
    Greece +6.5 against Spain also like under 146.5
    Australia +159 ML against Croatia
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  8. #8
    louisvillekid
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    i put 10 bucks on all these just for the hell of it.

    Mens soccer gold USA 22/1

    womens pole vault gold jennifer stuczynski 7/1

    womens volleyball gold China 3/1

    mens 100m breaststroke gold Christian Sprenger 66/1

    Mens Handball gold Russia 25/1

    Mens Volleyball gold China 30/1

    Mens Basketball gold Lithuania 22/1

    Mens Tennis gold Davydenko 28/1

    Mens field hockey gold Great Britain 33/1

    Womens softball gold China 7/1

    Baseball gold Japan 4/1

  9. #9
    jjgold
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    going to be very interesting
    I say we win it with a few close calls

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  10. #10
    harsh506
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    i think if it really comes down to it and the us is losing late in the 4th, its gonna be the kobe lebron show.i think thats when teamwork gets thrown out the window and u need cp3 to just find one of these 2 to take over

  11. #11
    SlickFazzer
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    I don't trust these bastards.

  12. #12
    bmw530i
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    Smacks.... the hardwood with both hands....Coach K is gonna make them "D" up.

  13. #13
    Shark79
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisvillekid View Post
    i put 10 bucks on all these just for the hell of it.

    Mens soccer gold USA 22/1

    womens pole vault gold jennifer stuczynski 7/1

    womens volleyball gold China 3/1

    mens 100m breaststroke gold Christian Sprenger 66/1

    Mens Handball gold Russia 25/1

    Mens Volleyball gold China 30/1

    Mens Basketball gold Lithuania 22/1

    Mens Tennis gold Davydenko 28/1

    Mens field hockey gold Great Britain 33/1

    Womens softball gold China 7/1

    Baseball gold Japan 4/1

    $10 bucks not well spent ... but good luck anyway

  14. #14
    SBR_John
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    I agree with Chance that the last game was sloppy. But...this was a tune up! I'd just remind folks to look at this roster again. This is a far stronger team than 4 years ago. They are a lock to win the gold. Don't let these exhibitions sway you. This team is the real deal.

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  15. #15
    daggerkobe
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    There are at least 2 teams that can beat the US.

  16. #16
    dwaechte
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    I just don't understand the logic behind a team being a -300 favourite when they haven't won gold in international competition in like what, 8 years? What's so different about this team? They finally have decent PG play, but they're small in the middle and it's still the usual group of guys. Meanwhile, the Argentinians and Spaniards are just getting stronger. Calderon is going to have that Spanish squad playing top end ball.

  17. #17
    marke4
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisvillekid View Post
    i put 10 bucks on all these just for the hell of it.

    Mens soccer gold USA 22/1

    womens pole vault gold jennifer stuczynski 7/1

    womens volleyball gold China 3/1

    mens 100m breaststroke gold Christian Sprenger 66/1

    Mens Handball gold Russia 25/1

    Mens Volleyball gold China 30/1

    Mens Basketball gold Lithuania 22/1

    Mens Tennis gold Davydenko 28/1

    Mens field hockey gold Great Britain 33/1

    Womens softball gold China 7/1

    Baseball gold Japan 4/1
    I really like Japan in baseball. But you can find much better odds thatn 4/1, they are 6/1 at betonline.

  18. #18
    pavyracer
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwaechte View Post
    I just don't understand the logic behind a team being a -300 favourite when they haven't won gold in international competition in like what, 8 years? What's so different about this team? They finally have decent PG play, but they're small in the middle and it's still the usual group of guys. Meanwhile, the Argentinians and Spaniards are just getting stronger. Calderon is going to have that Spanish squad playing top end ball.
    I agree. US is not a team. It's a bunch of stars thrown together. When they get cold shooting or get trapped and can't drive to the hoop they will be exposed. Look after the first bad game for infighting between Kobe and Lebron. Too many egos on the same team.
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  19. #19
    EdwardA
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    Pavyracer is right, the problem is that one the one hand they are no team but on the other hand, there is so much talent that they should be able to overcome that obstacle.

  20. #20
    pat venditto
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    USA Basketball is going to win the gold. Don't ever listen to advice you read from a sbr article. Theres no team that is going to beat them.

  21. #21
    AnotherLoan
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    Anything said in an SBR article should be taken with a grain of salt.

  22. #22
    WileOut
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwaechte View Post
    I just don't understand the logic behind a team being a -300 favourite when they haven't won gold in international competition in like what, 8 years? What's so different about this team? They finally have decent PG play, but they're small in the middle and it's still the usual group of guys. Meanwhile, the Argentinians and Spaniards are just getting stronger. Calderon is going to have that Spanish squad playing top end ball.
    Calderon? He didn't even make the all star team man. These players for the US are all-stars. Every one of them.

    We didn't win the gold 1 time (we lost to the team that won gold and we got bronze) and everybody is against team USA saying they arent good. No gold medal only once since 1988 when we started letting our pros play. That is complete domination of a sport. I cant wait for the USA to win every game by 20+ points and shut up the fools saying they arent any good. They are -300 to win the gold medal. Not to finish in the medals but to win the gold itself. Are you kidding me? That is domination.

  23. #23
    EddieJones
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    This isn't a playoff style competition once they're out of their brackets so just one game where Spain or Argentina gets hot from the outside, the US could be playing for bronze.. That said the odds of US not winning the gold is so attractive for a reason.

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