The Daily Sweat: USA men's hoops has a tough quarterfinal test vs. Spain

·3 min read

Now the pressure really starts for United States men's basketball at the Olympics. 

Losing to France in the first game of group play wasn't great, but it ultimately didn't keep Team USA from advancing to the knockout stage. It won its last two games in group play, covering the spread in each one. 

It's on to the single-elimination phase of Olympic play for Team USA, and that begins with a challenge. The Americans will play Spain, with tipoff at 12:40 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Team USA is an 11.5-point favorite at BetMGM

Perhaps Team USA has gotten over the early yips that led to two exhibition losses and the loss to France in Tokyo. Some replacements to add size have helped. Getting Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Devin Booker after they were done with the NBA Finals has been a boost, as adding three NBA All-Stars should be. Team USA looked much better the last two games. It also didn't play any team as good as Spain. 

Spain has legit NBA talent like Ricky Rubio, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol. Victor Claver, a former first-round NBA draft pick, is having a nice Olympics too. Spain might have the size to disrupt the Americans, like France did. Spain got run over by the Luka Doncic train in a group stage loss to Slovenia, but it won its other two group stage games by double digits. 

This will be the Americans' toughest test since France, and it's worth taking the 11.5 points with Spain. Given how sluggish the Americans looked before beating Iran and the Czech Republic, we can't just assume they beat Spain. And the points allow for a nice cushion. Sometimes the right bet isn't the patriotic one. 

Khris Middleton of the United States communicates with coach Gregg Popovich during a group stage game. (Photo by Meng Yongmin/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Khris Middleton of the United States communicates with coach Gregg Popovich during a group stage game. (Photo by Meng Yongmin/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Here's the first look at the betting slate for Monday: 

What is going on in the Olympics? 

We have the men's soccer seminfinals starting early on Tuesday morning, and here's a preview from Yahoo Sportsbook's Nick Bromberg. Bromberg also has you covered if you want to bet on men's handball

And before tomorrow's Daily Sweat, we'll get the other three men's basketball quarterfinal games: Slovenia (-14.5) vs. Germany, France (-8.5) vs. Italy and Australia (-8.5) vs. Argentina. 

Who cashed tickets this weekend? 

The Tampa Bay Rays had a huge weekend, sweeping the Boston Red Sox. They lead the AL East by 1.5 games after a fantastic showing. The Red Sox' four-game losing streak also has given the New York Yankees (seven games out of first) and Toronto Blue Jays (eight games back) some hope in the division race. 

Another result that was interesting to bettors was Xander Schauffele taking the men's golf gold medal. He was +900 at BetMGM before play started at the Olympics. 

What does MLB have on Monday? 

It's an eight-game schedule in baseball, with one afternoon game. In the afternoon, the surging Toronto Blue Jays take on the Cleveland Indians. The Blue Jays are enormous -275 favorites. 

There aren't a ton of other compelling games on the schedule, but we can keep an eye on the NL East race, where the first-place New York Mets meet the fading Miami Marlins (Mets are -150 favorites) and the Philadelphia Phillies try to keep up against the Washington Nationals (Phillies are -115). 

What's the best bet? 

We'll go with an underdog here and take a shot on the Seattle Mariners +155 over the Rays. The Rays might have a bit of a letdown after such a big weekend against the Red Sox, Mariners starter Chris Flexen is having a solid season, and the Mariners have been a pretty good bet lately. It's worth the odds to take the Mariners. 

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