Slovenia vs. Spain – Olympic Basketball, August 1, 2021
Something tells me this might not be the last time we see these two teams battling on the hardwood in Tokyo. Destined for the knockout stage and beyond, Slovenia has been an unstoppable force through the first two games of group play.
Spain has been a bit more methodical in their approach, but like the Slovenians, march into this matchup with an unblemished record.
From odds and insight to a Slovenia vs. Spain betting pick, here’s my preview of the final game of the group play schedule.
- Where: Saitama Super Arena
- When: Sunday, August 1st – 17:20 local (4:20 AM ET)
Slovenia vs. Spain Odds
Had these two teams been pitted up against one another to kick things off, Spain would likely have been favored. Watching Slovenia blitz past their competition has the betting sites singing a different tune.
Given the recency bias involved when fans are betting on basketball at the Olympics, expect money to come pouring in the over. Luka Doncic and his boys have scored 116 or more points in each of their two games; it’s hard to envision anybody feeling good about backing the under.
I’ll be staying away from the total and will instead hone in on a Slovenia vs. Spain prediction.
The X-Factor for Slovenia – Zoran Dragic
Luka Doncic is rebounding and sharing the basketball just like we anticipated. He’s shooting the ball at an incredible clip (59%) and scoring at will. I could sit here exalting the play of Doncic for days, but we all know Luka is going to show up.
Mike Tobey and Vlatko Cancar are as advertised, and Klemen Prepelic has been fantastic off the bench (17.0 ppg). When Zoran Dragic is firing on all cylinders, Slovenia is nearly unbeatable in this format.
Living most of his professional life in the shadow of his elder sibling, Zoran should continue shining in these Summer Games. Perhaps people will finally stop calling him Goran’s little brother.
The X-Factor for Spain – Rudy Fernandez
Can Ricky Rubio continue carrying Spain’s offense on his shoulders? As brilliant as Rubio has been, he’s going to need a lot more help if his team plans on keeping pace with Slovenia. Marc Gasol and Victor Claver can be depended on, but the Spaniards would benefit greatly if Rudy Fernandez provided more of a lift. Fernandez has only attempted nine shots in two games.
Rudy was held scoreless against Japan, although his six rebounds and three steals propelled his efficiency score to four. Fernandez scored eight points versus Argentina and posted an efficiency score of eight.
The 36-year-old small forward is well past his prime, but continuing on this trend and supplying a boost offensively would go a long way for the Spanish team’s chances.
Slovenia vs. Spain Betting Pick
One last bit of blurb before I get to my Slovenia vs. Spain betting pick. There’s a common denominator among these two teams in the fact that they’re both being led by their starting point guard. Here’s the major difference.
One is turning 31 in October and is on the back end of his career. The other is 22 and quickly becoming the face of the NBA.
As solid as the Spaniards have been on defense, they’re in for a rude awakening when the Slovenians take the court. Remember, Argentina was also touted as a stiff D – all Doncic and company did were light them up for 118 points.
Until somebody proves they can stop Slovenia in Tokyo, my money is on the Luka train continuing to steam ahead.