With the United States men’s basketball team routing Venezuela 113-69 on Monday, they took one more step toward their third straight gold medal in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, but it was tougher than anticipated.
The Americans closed as consensus 50-point favorites at Las Vegas sportsbooks and pulled away with big second and fourth quarters in a 113-69 rout after struggling in the first and third versus the Venezuelans.
The U.S. next takes on unbeaten Australia on Wednesday, and you can bet wagering will start to pick up even more in Vegas, where it is allowed on the Olympics for the first time since 1998. The Americans were heavily favored heading into the Olympics at a heavy price of -1200 (bet $1,200 to win $100) to take home gold again, but many bettors like to wager on a game-by-game basis as well, making the matchup with the Aussies even more enticing.
The bigger the games become, the more betting interest there will be, especially with the influx of NBA players throughout the field.
The other stars of these Olympics are American swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, both of whom are favored to win their respective events again as defending champions. Phelps has already broken his own record for golds by winning another in the 4×100 relay, bringing his career total to 19 and 23 overall. His individual events remain while Bolt also has a relay along with the 100 and 200 meters to compete in over the next few days before the games come to a close on August 21.
Many bettors love putting their money on the favorites like Phelps and Bolt in the Olympics, and some others enjoy fading them because they do not believe history will repeat itself. However, the individual events do not garner as much wagering action as the team events like basketball and women’s soccer, where Team USA is listed at +140 to win gold for the fifth time in six attempts. The only time the American women did not win gold in soccer came in 2000 when they lost 3-2 to Norway in the title game.
As of Monday night, the Americans had won 19 total medals, including five gold. China was second with 13 medals overall and also had five gold. That is significant considering the Over/Under total for U.S. gold was listed at 43.5 with China at 35.5. In the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the Americans finished with 46 gold of their 103 medals. However, they did not top 43.5 in the previous three Olympiads, last accomplishing the feat when they hosted the games in 1996 and totaled 44 gold.
The Chinese pose the biggest threat to Team USA after winning more gold when they last hosted the Olympics in Beijing eight years ago. They ended up with 51 compared to 36 for the Americans, who still totaled more medals overall by a 110-100 margin. In 2012, China won 38 gold medals and placed second with a total of 88.