After the country's men's basketball team floundered in its Olympic opener, the women's squad from the United States will begin its Olympic run on Tuesday. Team USA begins its schedule for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo with a matchup against Nigeria in group play. Team USA is a mammoth favorite to win the gold medal. The team features a star-studded roster with few weaknesses, and expectations are sky-high.
Tip-off is set for 12:40 a.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Americans as 29.5-point favorites in the latest USA vs. Nigeria odds. The over-under for total points is set at 153.5. Before finalizing any Nigeria vs. Team USA basketball picks or predictions, you need to see what SportsLine's Olympics expert, Mike Tierney, has to say.
A national sportswriter whose work appears in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Tierney has covered nine Olympic Games in person. At Rio in 2016, Tierney profited big-time. He told readers to bet over on Team USA's gold medal count (41.5) and over on Team USA's overall medal count (102.5). The result? 46 golds, 121 medals and two easy cashes.
And for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Tierney hit two of his three predictions: Germany (+200) to win the most gold medals and the United States winning under 10.5 gold medals (+110).
Now, with the Tokyo Summer Olympics rolling on, Tierney has analyzed every angle of Tuesday's Team USA vs. Nigeria matchup and revealed his top Olympic women's basketball picks and predictions. He's only sharing those picks at SportsLine. Now, here are the Olympics 2020 odds and betting trends for Nigeria vs. USA:
- USA vs. Nigeria spread: Team USA -29.5
- USA vs. Nigeria over-under: 153.5 points
- USA vs. Nigeria money line: USA -10000, Nigeria +2000
- USA: Won six consecutive Olympic gold medals
- Nigeria: Last African nation to win a women's basketball game in Olympic competition
Why you should back Team USA
Team USA throttled Nigeria in an exhibition matchup, and that showcased the squad's upside. The Americans led 20-4 out of the gate and, while the final margin was 31 points, it could've been much larger if the Americans kept the pedal to the floor. Team USA was dominant on the interior, taking full advantage of its size, athleticism and physicality, with A'ja Wilson scoring 16 points and Breanna Stewart putting up 14 points.
Team USA also managed to put together that dominant performance without Diana Taurasi, who remains one of the best players in the world. Taurasi and Sue Bird are the veterans on the team, with both seeking a fifth gold medal. Up and down the roster, Team USA has the talent advantage, and struggles in exhibition play may inspire the squad to turn up the heat early in the tournament.
Why you should back Nigeria
Nigeria is clearly facing an uphill battle from a talent perspective. For one thing, WNBA standouts Nneka Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams petitioned to play for Nigeria, but both were denied at the last moment. Ogwumike participated for Team USA in the 2018 World Cup, and her absence is glaring as a top-end talent. However, Nigeria was the last African nation to win a women's basketball game in the Olympics, picking up a victory in 2004.
In addition, this is a massive spread for Team USA to cover, and the Americans could rest some stars late if the game gets out of hand. Nigeria does have a talented roster, with each member playing college basketball in the United States. At least to this point, Team USA also hasn't been quite as dominant in their exhibition run, including a shocking loss to Australia, and Nigeria reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2018.
How to make 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's basketball picks
Tierney has taken a close look at the USA vs. Nigeria Olympic basketball matchup from all angles and is leaning under on the point total. He's also found a critical x-factor that has him jumping on one side of the Team USA vs. Nigeria spread. He's only sharing his top picks and Olympics 2020 basketball predictions at SportsLine.
So which side of the Team USA vs. Nigeria spread is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get Mike Tierney's predictions for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, all from the renowned sportswriter who's covered nine Olympics in person and cashed big in both 2016 and '18, and find out.