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Betting on Summer Olympics Light With Games Two Weeks Away

Wagering on the Summer Olympic Games is available for the first time at Las Vegas sportsbooks this year, and so far there has not been a lot of action with the opening ceremony set for August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Baseball has really been the only major sport to bet on since the NBA season concluded back on June 19 when the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first championship against the Golden State Warriors.

“Very light,” said Jay Kornegay, Vice President of Race & Sports at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, when asked to describe early betting on the 2016 Summer Olympics. “But expect some interest closer to the games.”

Men’s basketball figures to be one of the most popular sports in Rio from not only a viewing perspective but wagering as well. Team USA opened as a huge 1/10 favorite at the SuperBook but was down to 1/9 a week later with Spain moving from 10/1 to 9/1. The United States will have 10 new faces on this year’s squad in addition to Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and Kevin Durant, the newest Golden State Warrior.

The Spaniards lost the 2012 gold medal game to the Americans 107-100 in London and will have a majority of their team returning, including Pau Gasol of the San Antonio Spurs. Gasol had considered skipping the Olympics due to the Zika virus but ultimately decided to join brother Marc of the Memphis Grizzlies and other current NBA players such as Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls, Jose Calderon of the Los Angeles Lakers and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves for another shot at the gold.

The U.S. women’s basketball team also opened at 1/10 to win their sixth straight gold and like the men should not face much competition in their Olympic tournament either. The Americans blew out France 86-50 in the 2012 gold medal game after beating Australia 86-73 in the semifinals. The Australians opened as the 7/1 second choice behind Team USA followed by the Spaniards (15/1) and the French (20/1). Host country Brazil is 25/1 to win the men’s basketball gold medal and 50/1 on the women’s side.