The United States are about to reclaim the first spot in group A, with Lithuania being nothing more than a bump in the road for the team that is favorite to win the event. France has to wait until Sunday for a chance to leapfrog the Americans again, while Argentina has no room for error in its game against Nigeria. In group B, Spain and Russia cruise to what looks like an easy qualification campaign.

Lopsided duels in the group stage

Basketball fans who watch a lot of NBA are probably shocked by the low number of points scored at the 2012 London Olympics, and the shorter quarters can’t fully explain this situation. The Americans are the only one who play aggressive basketball, while European favorites and Argentina place the emphasis on defense. Bet365 and other bookmakers took notice of this reality and this is why the Totals Line rarely surpasses the value of 160.

The United States opens the scoring festival with a game against Lithuania, but there are no odds for a straight victory, and a handicap of -35,5 is only acceptable for daredevils. We have a similar scenario when Brazil and Argentina play, so the only lucrative bets are the ones involving the number of runs. The unders make more sense in all games, even in the lopsided match between USA and Lithuania. The weaker teams are so concerned about preventing opponents to score, that they let apathy overcome them.

Every three pointer matters

One thing that stands out from the crowd of events that occur throughout a basketball game at the Olympics is the lack of three point attempts. Players prefer to shoot from inside the paint and take no chances from downtown, so punters should refrain from making exotic bets on three pointers. For most of the teams who play basketball in London this month, the games are more of a grind than a flamboyant show and this reflects in their attitude on the field.

Despite the seemingly generous handicaps, favorites cover the spreads often and the odds come very close to evens. Tighter spreads and better odds will be offered in semifinals, but until then it doesn’t hurt to watch how teams play and which players stand out from the crowd. Meanwhile, the Women’s event is more balanced even though the United States is the undisputed favorite and the bookies are reluctant to give them any odds at all for moneyline bets.