Team USA will settle the gold-medal game with France, but as a dessert, Australia and Slovenia will duke it out for the bronze-medal. As far as matchups are concerned, this one is more interesting as the teams are more evenly matched and we have two explosive offenses.
The sportsbook has Slovenia as the slight favorite at -150 with 2½ points separating the teams. The totals are at 182½ as oddsmakers expect Australia and Slovenia to hit the 90s fairly easily. Regardless of who wins, expect a fun back-and-forth.
Australia vs Slovenia: The Path to Bronze For Each Team
Australia: Getting Back on Track
Before getting blown out by the U.S. in the semi-finals, Australia looked like a legitimate gold medal contender. The team swept its group and destroyed Argentina. The Boomers even went up 15 points over USA until Kevin Durant happened. He scored 23 points and nine rebounds as the team shut Australia down in the third.
🚨 TEAM USA IS GOING FOR GOLD 🚨
They will face either Luka and Slovenia or France in the gold medal game. pic.twitter.com/XR4QIpYQts
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 5, 2021
The Aussies are led by G Patty Mills’ 19.6 points and 5.8 assists and they shoot 40.4% from deep. But their backbone is their defense. Before facing the U.S., Australia had allowed the fewest points thanks to some sturdy frontcourt work from the likes of F Matisse Thybulle and C Jock Landale (who just signed with the San Antonio Spurs).
This inside-outside structure of the team has benefited them so far in the tournament as they can get down and gritty or open up the scoring. Against Luka Doncic and Slovenia, they may need to elevate both if they aim to get back to winning.
Slovenia: Luka Magic
The Slovenians may have lost their chance at a gold medal, but they have won over everyone. Luka Doncic managed just the third triple double in Olympic men’s history with 16 points, ten boards, and 18 assists. But it wasn’t enough as a late block by Nicolas Batum sealed his team’s fate.
Still, Slovenia overachieved and went unbeaten until that last second loss to France. It’s not just for Doncic as the rest of his team have managed to keep opponents at bay including Spain. Slovenia leads the Olympics in scoring at 102.4 points per game.
This is even more impressive considering the team is only shooting 69.7% from the line. The team isn’t that deep if looking at it from a theoretical standpoint. Doncic and F Vlatko Cancar are the only players with NBA experience. But they have played together longer than most teams and are at their peak. Most importantly, they’re hungry.
Pick: Off We Go
If we add Slovenia’s and Australia’s average points per game, we get 189.2 so the Olympic betting lines’ current totals are conservative. It factors in the underrated defense of both teams as well as the pace likely slowing down.
Slovenia has not scored any fewer than 89 points while Australia still managed to shoot 42.3% from three despite getting shut down by USA. We have two teams that enjoy stroking the three but also have formidable big men in the middle.
There are also not too many players on each squad who will be able to shred each team’s interior defense. Doncic could do it and G Joe Ingles could too. But they’d much rather operate shooting and dishing out shots to shooters.
That’s not so great for Slovenia as Australia has done a great job at closing out on shooters. The defenses could steal the show here as Australia slows down Slovenia in a lower scoring game than the totals indicate.