Tokyo Olympics: Men's basketball preview

Matt Cohen / theScore

The United States men's basketball team isn't accustomed to losing.

Coming into the Olympic tuneups with a 54-2 record in exhibition play, Team USA matched that loss total by dropping contests to Nigeria (90-87) and Australia (91-83) recently.

However, the squad remains the overwhelming favorite ahead of the Tokyo Games. Here's the full list of prices.

Odds to win gold

Nation Odds
United States -320
Australia +750
Spain +900
Slovenia +1500
France +1600
Nigeria +3000
Argentina +3500
Italy +4000
Czech Republic +10000
Germany +15000
Japan +30000
Iran +50000

Previous winners

YEAR GOLD SILVER BRONZE
2016 USA Serbia Spain
2012 USA Spain Russia
2008 USA Spain Argentina
2004 Argentina Italy USA
2000 USA France Lithuania
1996 USA FR Yugoslavia Lithuania
1992 USA Croatia Lithuania
1988 Soviet Union Yugoslavia USA
1984 USA Spain Yugoslavia
1980 Yugoslavia Italy Soviet Union

Recent struggles aside, the United States has been nothing short of dominant when it matters.

It owns 15 golds - the Soviet Union is the only other nation with multiple (2) - and double the medal count of the next-best squad.

Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich trotted out Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, and Bam Adebayo for the opening contest versus Nigeria. Bulls guard and 2021 All-Star Zach LaVine entered the starting five for an injured Tatum four days later against Argentina, posting 15 points, five assists, and three boards in the win.

Fresh off a six-game NBA Finals this past week, Phoenix' Devin Booker and Milwaukee's Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are slated to join the United States' roster ahead of the weekend.

Team USA will play in Group A with France, Czech Republic, and Iran.

One dark horse with recent success is Spain.

Spain has taken home a medal in three straight circuits and has played Team USA for the gold in two. Spain's been competitive in the defeats, losing by 11 points in 2008 and seven in '12. Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, and Ricky Rubio headline the current roster.

Not to be outdone, Argentina's shown flashes. It reigned supreme in 2004 and has placed top four in three of the last four events. Facundo Campazzo and Luis Scola are notable participants on the 2020 roster.

And then there's Slovenia, led by Luka Doncic. The Dallas Mavericks superstar helped the nation secure its first Olympic bid with a win over Lithuania, recording a triple-double.

Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. Find him on Twitter @Ugglas4arms.

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Tokyo Olympics: Men's basketball preview
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