Six consecutive women’s Olympic basketball tournaments have ended with Team USA on top of the medal podium. At -700 to win gold again, oddsmakers believe the Americans will make it seven straight. Next up for the 2-0 U.S. squad is France. The French are ranked fifth in the world and are fighting to make it out of the group stage.
We also preview the women’s upcoming golf tournament and a big soccer semifinal between the American women and their rivals from north of the border.
The moneyline for this game has Team USA at -1200 with France paying out at +650. France, who are currently 1-1 and in danger of not advancing, could use an outright win, but that result seems ambitious even for a desperate French team.
However, the 13.5-point spread is an interesting number. In their two wins so far, the American squad beat Nigeria by nine points and then a good Japanese team by 17. The total for this game is set at 156.5.
News & Notes
Even though they won by 17 against Japan, the game was much closer than the final score would indicate. In fact, at one point the Japanese team led 30-28, before the U.S. went on a run. Team USA did shoot a very impressive 60 percent with their two-point attempts and 43 percent from beyond the arc.
At the 2021 EuroBasket Championships, France were on an impressive 5-0 run, before losing to Serbia in the finals. Still, the French team came away from that event with a silver medal and reason to be optimistic heading into the Olympics.
Their first game in Tokyo did not go according to script. Taking on the home team from Japan in a game that had 17 lead changes, ultimately France dropped a 74-70 decision. Realizing the importance of their next game against Nigeria, the French squad took care of business with an 87-62 win in a game they never trailed.
Betting Pick: France +13.5
I truly believe that Team USA is the team to beat this tournament and it will not be a surprise to see them win their seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal. However, France came into this event as the fifth-ranked team in the world and with medal aspirations, I will take a desperate French squad +13.5 for this one.
On Saturday night, Team USA was -155 to win this game in regulation, but overnight and early money today has pushed them down to a -140 favorite. The Canadian squad is currently +390 to win in regulation.
At first glance, +390 on a team that is ranked as eighth-best in the world might seem generous, but Canada hasn’t actually beaten the U.S. since March of 2001 -- a span of over 20 years.
News & Notes
Both teams qualified as the second team out of their respective groups. Canada gave up a late goal to Great Britain in a game that ended 1-1, and allowed the British squad to win the group.
Meanwhile, Team USA made headlines for all the wrong reasons in their first game of the tournament, losing to Sweden 3-0. The U.S. squad also settled for a surprising 0-0 draw with Australia during group play.
In quarterfinal action, both teams needed penalty kicks to advance. The Americans did well to hold a Dutch team that had scored 21 times in three group-stage games to only two regulation time goals, before winning in penalties.
Canada and Brazil went to penalties as well after neither team could score in regulation or extra time. The Canadians eventually prevailed after keeper Stephanie Labbe made two penalty saves.
This game is a rematch from the 2012 Olympic semifinals. In that very memorable game, Canada led three different times, but ultimately the U.S. advanced with a 4-3 victory.
The 2012 match is still remembered for some controversial calls, Canadian Christine Sinclair’s hattrick and American great Abby Wambach tying the match with only 10 minutes remaining.
Betting Pick: Both Teams To Score (-110)
Twenty consecutive years of losing to the same team is an incredible streak. The +390 moneyline on Canada to break that streak seems very attractive, especially considering how the American’s really haven’t played their best soccer this tournament. However, I am not going to touch that line.
Instead, I like both teams to score a goal in this match. I suspect we will see Team USA advance to the gold medal game but I am betting that Canada will make it difficult and get at least one past the American keeper.
Last week in France, the LPGA Tour hosted the Evian Championship and surprisingly both Nelly and Jessica Korda were in the field. The flight from France to Tokyo is somewhere between 11 and 12 hours, so it was expected that many Olympic golfers would skip this year's Evian, and instead fly to Tokyo and prepare.
Oddsmakers have listed Nelly Korda at +700 as the frontrunner for the Olympic tournament, so they aren’t expecting her almost 12-hour flight from France to Tokyo to be an issue.
News & Notes
Team USA is sending four golfers to Tokyo and all four of them have a very good shot at being in contention for a medal.
Nelly Korda (+700) won the Women’s PGA Championship in June and became the first American to be ranked No. 1 in the world since Stacy Lewis did it in 2014.
Danielle Kang (+1500) is currently ranked fifth in the world and has been in good form of late. Kang has finished inside the top 10 in three of her last four events.
Lexi Thompson (+1800) is currently the 12th-ranked female golfer in the world. In June, Thompson finished third at the Women’s U.S. Open. In her last event, Thompson shot four rounds in the 60’s and closed with a Sunday 65 to finish T12.
Jessica Korda (+2200) is the 15th-ranked player in the world. In April and May of this year, Jessica had back-to-back top-three finishes (3rd and 2nd). Korda finished 15th in the Women’s PGA Championship and 30th in the U.S. Open.
The defending Olympic gold medallist is Inbee Park (+1000) from South Korea. Park has had a very good 2021 season on tour. In 13 events, Park has finished top 10 or better in seven of them, including a win back in March.
Betting Pick: Danielle Kang +1500 to win
It will be interesting to see if the decision to play in France last week and then fly to Tokyo after the event will impact either of the Korda sisters. At +700 in a loaded field, obviously bookmakers don’t expect the travel to be much of an issue for Nelly. I like Danielle Kang’s game right now. As the fifth-ranked player in the world, she is in very good form of late. My bet is on Kang at +1500 to win gold.