Men's Basketball 2020 Tokyo Olympics Preview, Odds, & Predictions

Men

  • After a year-long hiatus, the Tokyo Olympics are back in effect!
  • The United States are looking to maintain their international dominance on the basketball court!
  • While the United States are the favorites, many countries continue to close the gap on the basketball giants.

Bet on Tokyo Olympics, Here!

A year later and the Tokyo Olympics are back in full swing. While the games are still under heavy scrutiny due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the show will go on and all eyes are on the basketball court! The United States has dominated basketball competition on the Olympic stage, but it seems as if this will be one of the most competitive Olympic Basketball tournaments in history!

2020 Tokyo Olympics – Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Odds

Country Odds
USA -385
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Australia +700
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Spain +900
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France +1600
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Slovenia +1800
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Argentina +4000
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Nigeria +4000
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Italy +5000
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Germany +8000
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Czech Republic +8000
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Japan +25000
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Iran +50000
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2020 Tokyo Olympics – Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Predictions & Picks

USA to Win Gold Medal (-385)

The Tokyo Olympics may just put on one of the most competitive international basketball tournaments in history. Not only do the United States look weaker than any of their previous iterations, but many countries have produced some of their strongest rosters.

Regular basketball powerhouses like Australia, France, and Spain will threaten for the Gold Medal. On the other side of it, upstart young outfits like Slovenia, Japan, and Nigeria have impressed in pre-Olympic competition.

Despite the growth of other nations, the United States is understandably the favorite to take home Olympic Gold. Yes, they are weaker than previous years, but they are stacked with talent at every position and few countries can match their two-way output.

When Is the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Men’s Basketball Tournament?

The men’s basketball tournament for the 2020 Summer Olympics will be held from July 25th, 2021 to August 7th, 2021.

Where Will the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Men’s Basketball Tournament Be Held?

All games will be played at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

How Will the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Men’s Basketball Tournament Work?

There are 12 teams competing for gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Of those 12 teams three will be awarded medals, but only one will receive the ultimate prize of Olympic Gold.

The 12 teams will be split into three groups of four. The top two ranking teams in group play will advance to the quarterfinals, while the two best third-place teams will also advance to the knockout rounds.

After the group stage, a draw will determine the pairings for the knockout rounds. From there on out, the knockout rounds will be played out until the gold medal winner is declared.

2020 Tokyo Olympics – Group/Nation Breakdowns

Group A Group B Group C
Czech Republic Australia Argentina
France Germany Japan (Host Country)
Iran Italy Slovenia
United States Nigeria Spain

Group A

Czech Republic


Key Players (Club): Tomas Satoransky (Chicago Bulls), Blake Schilb (Chalons-Reims), Ondrej Balvin (Bilbao)

Past Accomplishments: n/a

Expected Group Finish: 4th

The Czech Republic certainly took the hard road to the Olympics. After finishing in just sixth place at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, it took an Olympic qualifying tournament victory to book their ticket to Tokyo. After a nail-biting semi-final against host nation Canada, the Czech Republic battled back in overtime to earn their spot in the final where they blew out Greece and won the chance to compete for Olympic Gold.

Since the separation of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic hasn’t made a splash on the international stage. With one of their best-ever talents in Tomas Satoransky leading their offense, they’ve shown to be creative on the offensive end. Blake Schilb leads a more than capable three-point shooting unit on the perimeter, but it is how they’ll cope with the athleticism and experience of these other nations that should make them struggle.

France


Key Players (Club): Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Evan Fournier (Boston Celtics), Nando de Colo (Fenerbahce)

Past Accomplishments: EuroBasket Gold (2013)

Expected Group Finish: 2nd

The French National Basketball team is one of the steadiest sides in the world. While never getting over the hump in Olympic competition, they are coming off of a third-place finish in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Finishing sixth in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, Les Bleus are eyeing a podium finish in Tokyo.

When observing the French national team, all eyes first look to three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert – the best defensive big man in the world. They are also led by one of Europe’s top guards in Nando de Colo, whose versatility has caused fits on the national stage for years. So long as their scoring can keep up with their defence, France can fight on equal footing with any country.

Iran


Key Players (Club): Hamed Haddadi (Sichuan Blue Whales), Behnam Yakhchali (Rostock Seawolves), Mohammad Jamshidi (Shahrdari Gorgan)

Past Accomplishments: FIBA Asia Cup (2007, 2009, 2013)

Expected Group Finish: 4th

Iran are probably the most unknown squad in this year’s Olympic tournament, not boasting well-known talent outside of their own borders. They are however one of Asia’s most consistent squads, playing a hard-nosed style of inside-out basketball.

Having won three of the last FIBA Asia Championships make no mistake, Iran are in this tournament to win. But the talent gap is likely just too great. Towering big man Hamed Haddadi and scoring guard Behnam Yakchali are names to watch if the Iranians look to upset any of their opponents.

United States


Key Players (Club): Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)

Past Accomplishments: Olympic Gold (1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1976, 1984, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, 2016)

Expected Group Finish: 1st

The greatest basketball power in the world, the United States boasts the best players and coaches in the sport. While dangerous, the world has begun to close the gap between them and the USA – seen through the United States’ seventh place finish in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, narrowly qualifying them for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The USA has some of the most dangerous players in the game in Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard. With the best players in the league on both ends of the court, it comes down to how well they can come together as a team in pursuit of victory. American ego has caused the national side’s failure in the past, but head coach Gregg Popovich is very much the man to organize any group for victory.

Bet on USA, Here!

Group B

Australia


Key Players (Club): Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers)

Past Accomplishments: FIBA Asia Cup Gold (2017)*

Expected Group Finish: 1st

One of the most talented rosters in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Australia continue their pursuit of Olympic Gold in what will be one of their best opportunities. Dealt a blow when Ben Simmons chose not to participate, the Boomers remain brimming with talent.

Led by sharpshooting guard Patty Mills, the Boomers are an offensively explosive unit due to their passing, shooting, and continuity in the roster. On the defensive side of the ball, center Aron Baynes and guard Matisse Thybulle pose one of the best inside-outside defensive pairings in the competition.

*As of 2017, the FIBA Oceania Championship was dissolved and competing nations were merged with FIBA Asia Cup competition.

Germany


Key Players (Club): Moritz Wagner (Orlando Magic), Maodo Lo (Alba Berlin), Johannes Voigtmann (CSKA Moscow)

Past Accomplishments: EuroBasket Gold (1993)

Expected Group Finish: 4th

Germany find their way to the Olympics for the sixth time in their history. While not teeming with talent or owning a generational talent as in years past, the Germans overcame Brazil in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament through a gritty effort.

Without any scoring talent that jumps off the page, the German national team play a slower-paced, bruising style of basketball. Behind the strength of big men Moritz Wagner and Johannes Voigtmann, there are few that can match their interior tenacity. Unfortunately, their overall lack of offensive talent could end their Olympic dreams early.

Italy


Key Players (Club): Simone Fontecchio (Alba Berlin), Nicolo Mannion (Golden State Warriors), Danilo Gallinari (Atlanta Hawks)

Past Accomplishments: EuroBasket Gold (1983, 1999)

Expected Group Finish: 3rd

Italy surprised many when they came out the victors of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade. Not only did they dominate Serbia for long stretches in the final, they were missing one of their best players in Danilo Gallinari.

The Italians may not be the most exciting roster on paper, but they are filled with capable shooters and they are willing to move the ball as a unit. What they lack in sheer size and athleticism, they have made up for in organization and efficiency. Are they one of the strongest teams in their group? Probably not.

Nigeria


Key Players (Club): Ekpe Udoh (Virtus Bologna), Gabe Vincent (Miami Heat), Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Past Accomplishments: AfroBasket Gold (2015)

Expected Group Finish: 2nd

If you want to talk about an interesting team, the Nigerian National side could surprise many. Nigeria are the only African nation to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ranking 22nd in the world. Despite their slight anonymity on the world stage, their exhibition victory over the United States turned heads.

Led by captain Ekpe Udoh, the Nigerian national side is filled with Nigerian-American players who ply their trade in the NBA. While Gabe Vincent, KZ Okpala, and Josh Okogie may not be household names, their ability combined with the experience of head coach Mike Brown is something that could turn the tables.

Group C

Argentina


Key Players (Club): Luis Scola (Pallacanestro Varese), Facundo Campazzo (Denver Nuggets), Nicolas Brussino (Basket Zaragoza)

Past Accomplishments: Olympic Gold (2004)

Expected Group Finish: 3rd

Despite being in a transitional period with their national roster, Argentina are still coming off of a silver-medal winning performance in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The odds are against them to recreate their 2004 Olympic Gold Medal winning performance, but they are still a very talented side.

Led by the seemingly ageless Luis Scola, Argentina continue to play a selfless style of basketball that prioritizes intelligent ball movement and efficient shooting. However, they have shown issues keeping up with the more athletic nations. Whether or not Argentina will force their opponents to play at their pace will determine their success.

Japan


Key Players (Club): Yuta Watanabe (Toronto Raptors), Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards), Yudai Baba (Melbourne United)

Past Accomplishments: Asian Championships Gold (1965, 1971)

Expected Group Finish: 4th

Japan, as the host nation, qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the lowest internationally ranked team. The Akatsuki Five are an inspired group, but they’ve been drawn into the most difficult group in the Olympic Tournament. Already at a disadvantage in terms of quality, they’ll struggle to compete against the likes of Argentina, Slovenia, and Spain.

The Olympic hosts are inspired by the fantastic play of two rising NBA starlets in Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe. The pair are not only two of the best basketball prospects that the country has ever produced, but they’ve shown the skill and ability to compete at the top level. Unfortunately, the talent drop-off after the two is dramatic.

Slovenia


Key Players (Club): Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), Mike Tobey (Valencia), Zoran Dragic (Baskonia)

Past Accomplishments: EuroBasket Gold (2017)

Expected Group Finish: 2nd

They are currently the reigning champions of EuroBasket, Slovenia find their way to the Olympics for the first time. After a thrilling win over Lithuania in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the Slovenian side seem ready to announce themselves on the global stage.

While the international game is played very differently from the NBA game, it is hard to look past Luka Doncic. Debatably the best player in the tournament, yes that includes all the players on the United States team, Doncic has the magical ability to not only score in bunches but make his teammates perform above expectations. Stage fright is an issue for many Olympic debutants, but the Slovenians seem more than prepared to shock the world.

Spain


Key Players (Club): Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), Marc Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Pau Gasol (Barcelona)

Past Accomplishments: FIBA World Cup Gold (2006, 2019)

Expected Group Finish: 1st

As the reigning FIBA World Cup Champions, Spain booked their ticket to the Tokyo Olympics convincingly. While they are one of the older groups in the competition, they are well drilled on offence and savvy on the defensive side. Their experience more than makes up for their athletic shortcomings.

This will likely be the last Olympic competition for Marc and Pau Gasol, brothers and basketball legends on both the club and international level. Despite their advanced age, the international game suits them perfectly and they’ve shown they have plenty to give in their pre-Olympic exhibitions. Long-time head coach Sergio Scariolo has the experience to deal with any situation thrown their way.

Bet on Men Basketball 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Here!

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Christian Jope

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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queenโ€™s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

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