kevin-durant-3.jpg
Getty Images

Gregg Popovich and Team USA continue their run in Tokyo on Thursday. The United States faces Australia in the men's semifinals at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Team USA looks to stay alive in the hunt for their fourth straight gold medal. Australia, meanwhile, aims to play spoiler with an impressive run to this point in the tournament. 

Tip-off is set for 12:15 a.m. ET. Team USA is a 12-point favorite in the latest USA vs. Australia odds from Caesars Sportsbook. The over-under for total points is set at 181. Before locking in any Australia vs. USA 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 underway, Tierney has analyzed every angle of Thursday's Team USA vs. Australia matchup and revealed his top Olympic basketball picks and predictions. He's only sharing those picks at SportsLine. Now, here are the Olympics 2020 odds and betting trends for Australia vs. USA:

  • USA vs. Australia spread: USA -12 
  • USA vs. Australia over-under: 181 points  
  • USA vs. Australia money line: USA -700, AUS +475 
  • USA: Team USA is seeking a fourth consecutive gold medal in men's basketball 
  • AUS: Australia is unbeaten in Tokyo

Why you should back Team USA

Team USA's skill level is simply off the charts. The Americans have been incredibly efficient on the way to 102.5 points per game, shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 42.8 percent from 3-point distance. Team USA is also leading the field in assists, averaging 27.3 per game, and they are limiting opponents to only nine takeaways per game. Kevin Durant is the face of the squad, averaging 18 points per night on elite efficiency, but he is flanked by elite shot creators like Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum. 

The American side also has incredible defensive talent when they turn it on, with Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo impacting the opposition. As a team, the Americans lead the field in blocks (5.0 per game) and they are No. 2 in steals (10.0 per game). When combining their athleticism and explosiveness with the offensive craft, it is easy to see why Team USA should find their footing, even against a quality opponent in Australia. 

Why you should back Australia

Australia has been highly impressive in Tokyo, and they also defeated the United States in an exhibition matchup before heading to Japan. Patty Mills has been truly excellent in the backcourt for Australia, averaging 20.3 points and 5.3 assists per game while connecting on more than 41 percent of his 3-pointers. Jock Landale lends an inside presence with 13 points per game on strong efficiency, and Australia can cause havoc defensively. Philadelphia 76ers defensive ace Matisse Thybulle leads the entire tournament in averaging 3.3 steals per game, and Australia is generating 10 steals per contest as a team. 

They are also excellent in a few key areas offensively, with 25.5 assists per game (No. 2 in the field) and an 82.1 percent shooting clip at the free throw line. Australia isn't as talented as the United States, but the Aussies have NBA players and they are a cohesive unit.

How to make 2020 Tokyo Olympics picks

Tierney has taken a close look at the USA vs. Australia 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. Australia spread. He's only sharing his top Team USA Basketball picks and Olympics 2020 predictions at SportsLine

So who wins USA vs. Australia? And which side of the Australia vs. USA 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.