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U.S. best bet in Olympic hoops


The NBA Finals might be ending, but the summer of basketball continues with the Olympics. On Sunday, 12 teams begin their journey, and the U.S. is an enormous favorite to take gold for the fourth consecutive Games. However, basketball is now a global sport, and as the Americans learned in the four exhibitions in Las Vegas, this will not be a cakewalk despite being as high as -525 to win.

But remember, the FIBA game is different, and the format for the Olympics has changed this season. Bettors expecting a game similar to the one they have watched for eight months will be very surprised.


The format


This year the Olympic basketball tournament takes on a new look. In the past, the group stage consisted of two groups of six teams, but this year it will be three groups of four teams. Like any other competition of group play, the top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout bracket, as will the two best third-place teams. After that, a draw will take place to produce the bracket, and it will be classic tournament style from that point on. The change in format has reduced the number of games played for an eventual gold-medal game competitor from eight to six.

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