Japan vs. Slovenia – Olympic Basketball, July 29, 2021
Luka Doncic caught some grief in 2019 when he said that scoring in the NBA was easier than scoring in Europe. After lighting up Argentina for 48 on an electrifying 18/29 shooting, perhaps the Slovenian superstar knew what he was talking about.
Next up for Doncic and company is a date with the host nation on Thursday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 12:40 AM ET at Saitama Super Arena. Starting with a look at the odds, here’s a preview of the action followed by a Japan vs. Slovenia pick.
Japan vs. Slovenia Odds
After storming past 4th-ranked Argentina by 18 to kick off group play, Slovenia cruises into game #2 as an overwhelming betting favorite. For what it’s worth, Japan is ranked 42nd in those same FIBA rankings that have the Argentinians ranked 4th.
These Japan vs. Slovenia odds were plucked from SportsBetting.ag, but it’s worth noting that MyBookie seems to be holding firm at 20.5. Interestingly, the biggest discrepancies among the best apps for Olympics betting lies within the total.
From 180.5 to 182.5, not all the top sites are seeing eye to eye on how many points are projected to be scored.
Japan Basketball Team Preview
Japan isn’t afraid to lean on their NBA duo. Rui Hachimura (20 points) and Yuta Watanabe (19 points) each played over 35 minutes against Spain and will continue to supply the majority of the heavy lifting. However, Hachimura had an off-shooting night (8-21) and will look to bounce back against Slovenia.
Watanabe wasn’t much better from the field converting just 5 of 13 shots, although the left-handed forward tacked on eight rebounds and five steals to post an efficiency score of 22.
There’s not a lot of depth behind the aforementioned trio, but credit to Julio Lamas for having this bunch competing at a quality level. Keep in mind, the Japanese outscored the Spaniards 49-40 in the second half and defeated France on July 18th in an exhibition game.
Slovenia Basketball Team Preview
I was more bullish about Slovenia than most leading into the Summer Games. I even penciled the Slovenians in at #4 in my Olympic basketball power rankings when most touts had them lurking outside of the top 5.
One game in and it appears I may have been selling them short.
Any questions as to who the best player in Tokyo is were quickly put to bed after the first set of games. While most in America were busy getting some shut-eye on Sunday night, Luka Doncic was shredding Argentina to the tune of posting video-game-like numbers.
|Luka Doncic Explodes Against Argentina|
Klemen Prepelic scored 22 points, Vlatko Cancar chipped in with 12, and Mike Tobey took care of the dirty work in the post. Tobey’s 11 points and 14 rebounds solidified Slovenia’s edge as they built up a 22-point cushion by the end of the third quarter.
Japan vs. Slovenia Betting Pick
My Japan vs. Slovenia prediction is what you’d expect – get ready to watch Doncic go to work and lead his team to a 2-0 record in group play. With that being said, my Japan vs. Slovenia betting pick is that the host nation fights tooth and nail to cover the bloated spread.
Japan was a 21-point dog versus Spain and got beat up the boards. The Spanish team shot 51% from the floor, and yet Japan managed to hang in there and post a respectable 11-point loss.
The over at BetUS (+180.5) is certainly in play, but my favorite bet is to back Japan and the points. and frankly, the more people that tell me they’re picking Slovenia to cover, the better I feel about my prediction.