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While much attention will undoubtedly be paid to the United States men's basketball team in semifinal competition on Thursday, the semifinal on the other side of the bracket is also intriguing. France faces Slovenia on Thursday morning, with a berth in the gold medal matchup on the line. Luka Doncic continues to shine for Slovenia, scoring 26.3 points per game at the 2020 Olympics. France is also led by high-end players, including Rudy Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.  

Tip-off is set for 7 a.m. ET. Slovenia is a 2.5-point favorite in the latest France vs. Slovenia odds from Caesars Sportsbook. The over-under for total points is set at 174.5. Before locking in any France vs. Slovenia basketball picks or Tokyo 2020 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 well underway, Tierney has analyzed every angle of Thursday's France vs. Slovenia matchup and revealed his top Olympic basketball picks and predictions. He's only sharing those picks at SportsLine. Here are the Olympics 2020 odds and betting trends for France vs. Slovenia:

  • France vs. Slovenia spread: Slovenia -2.5 
  • France vs. Slovenia over-under: 174.5 points  
  • France vs. Slovenia money line: Slovenia -140, France +120 
  • FRA: France enters Thursday's semifinal unbeaten in Tokyo 
  • SLO: Slovenia is aiming for its first Olympic medal in men's basketball

Why you should back France

France is unbeaten in Tokyo, winning by an average of 13.3 points per game. While Slovenia has Doncic, the French are the deeper, more talented team from top to bottom. Gobert provides uber-elite rim protection as the world's best defensive center, and he is surrounded by other NBA talent. Gobert is averaging 12 points and eight rebounds per game despite playing only 24 minutes, and Evan Fournier is putting up 18.3 points per game. 

Fournier recently agreed to a massive contract with the New York Knicks, and France also has Nic Batum and Nando De Colo to round out their top-flight rotation. France is No. 2 in field goal percentage (50.0 percent) during the Olympics, and the French should be the better defensive team in this matchup. Furthermore, the French can game plan for Doncic and make the rest of Slovenia's supporting cast beat them.

Why you should back Slovenia

Slovenia has been fantastic in the tournament, and a lot of that can be traced to Doncic. The Dallas Mavericks star is an All-NBA player, and he is currently the frontrunner for MVP honors in Tokyo. Doncic leads the tournament in scoring, averaging 26.3 points per game, and he is shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. 

On top of his efficient shot creation, Doncic is No. 2 in the Olympics in both rebounding (10.0 per game) and assists (8.0 per game). He has been utterly dominant and, as a result, Slovenia's offense is cooking at a high level. The Slovenes are leading the tournament in scoring at 105.8 points per game and Slovenia is shooting 49.8 percent as a team. France is deeper with NBA talent, but Slovenia has the best player on the floor and that is often an x-factor.

How to make 2020 Tokyo Olympics picks

Tierney has taken a close look at the France vs. Slovenia semifinal showdown 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 France vs. Slovenia spread. He's only sharing his top picks and Olympics 2020 basketball predictions at SportsLine

So who wins France vs. Slovenia? And which side of the 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.