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USA vs. Iran: Tokyo 2020 Olympics men's basketball preview and pick

Profile Picture: Jeremy Jones

July 27th, 2021

The United States men's basketball team team took its first Olympic defeat since 2004 on Sunday morning, with a loss to France. The U.S. will look to bounce back Wednesday against Iran.

While the Americans are massive favorites, is there value betting on Iran to cover? Or will the Americans take out all their aggression on a lesser foe? 

Wednesday’s matchup begins at 12:40 a.m. ET on Peacock. Here is our preview for the game, along with odds and a pick.

Basketball Men (Tokyo 2020)

Sat, August 7 2021, 2:30 AM

USA

-195

Australia

+500

Slovenia

+500

Spain

+650

France

+1500

Italy

+4000

Nigeria

+5000

Czech Republic

+8000

Argentina

+10000

Germany

+40000

Can Team USA be saved?

It is safe to say that the wheels have fallen off the bandwagon for the U.S. men's basketball team. After the Americans lost two warmup games to Nigeria and Australia ahead of the Olympics, they started their 2020 Tokyo run with a loss to France in group play.

However, it is not too late to put on some spare tires and roll (even with some bumps) to another gold medal. It all starts with a game against the worst team in the Olympics. Iran lost its opening game to the Czech Republic, 84-78.

Iran has lost four consecutive games overall, including two warmup matchups against Spain by a combined 70 points. The last time Iran and the U.S. met in basketball was at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and the Americans won, 88-51.

Finding the right lineup

Cohesiveness is the biggest obstacle for Team USA in these Olympics. The talent is there, but the Americans do not play well together. The U.S. played its best against France when it moved the ball and hit cutters, rather than looking for three-point shots.

Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, and Kevin Durant combined to shoot 5-for-20 from three-point range against France and a majority of those attempts came after the player created his own shot. Jrue Holiday may be the key to unlock the right lineup. He went for 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in his 28 minutes, fresh off a flight and after plenty of partying following the Milwaukee Bucks' victory in the NBA Finals.

While Lillard, Durant, and Tatum are the superstars on this roster, they need to find a team mesh and not just try to shoot their way to success. Limiting the minutes of Tatum and Lillard in favor of Khris Middleton, Zach LaVine, and Holiday may be just what this team needs.

Perfect timing for a "tune-up"

Team USA could not have asked for a better time for this matchup with Iran. This game will allow the U.S. to get some confidence and find the right lineup with little risk.

This spread is massive and it is hard to trust any spread for the Americans right now. I believe the U.S. will win this game with ease, but 40.5 points is just too much for a team that will be experimenting with lineups. I also love the Under in this scenario, as some of the defensive role players should get more minutes.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 basketball pick: Iran +40.5, Under 165

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