USA vs. Japan Betting Preview: US Sportsbooks Like USWNT To Win 51st Straight Olympics Game

Written By Calvin Wetzel on July 28, 2021

When Team USA takes the floor against Japan in 5-on-5 women’s basketball pool play Thursday night (or Friday morning on the East Coast), each team will be playing to clinch a spot in the knockout round. Sportsbooks like both to eventually get there (FanDuel Sportsbook gives the USA and Japan shorter odds to win Group B than either France or Nigeria), but the winner of this USA vs. Japan contest will breathe a little easier.

The game is set to tip-off at 12:40 a.m. ET on Friday. It won’t be easy for Japan to pull the upset, but if they do, it won’t be their first of their host Olympics.

Japanese team riding momentum into USA vs. Japan

Japan entered Tuesday’s opening matchup against France as nine-point underdogs according to several books, but they emerged with a four-point victory thanks to a significant shooting advantage.

Japan knocked down over 40% of its threes and held France to just 21% en route to the upset win. In order to shock the world on Friday, it will need to replicate that shooting performance at a minimum.

Cause for concern for Team USA?

The Americans remain heavy favorites (-835 at BetRivers Sportsbook) to take home their seventh consecutive gold medal, but the early going hasn’t been quite as smooth sailing as Team USA fans have grown accustomed to.

It started when Team WNBA knocked off Team USA in the WNBA All-Star Game, then Australia downed USA 70-67 in exhibition play. The Americans did get in the win column in their first game that officially counted, defeating Nigeria 81-72 on Tuesday morning, but from a betting perspective, that win didn’t inspire any confidence.

Despite missing out on the services of WNBA stars Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike due to FIBA eligibility rules and a 6-for-28 performance from beyond the arc, Nigeria cruised to an easy cover. William Hill Sportsbook favored Team USA by 29.5 points entering the matchup, but Nigeria covered that spread by more than 20.

Books still like Team USA

Likely no outcome for either team’s opener would have been enough to even make this line close, let alone shift it all the way to Japan’s favor. But sportsbooks do still like Team USA to win in blowout fashion.

SportsbookUSA to winJapan to winUSA spreadJapan spreadTotal overTotal under
BetMGM Sportsbook-10000+1550-20.5 -105+20.5 -120161.5 -115161.5 -115
BetRivers Sportsbook-3335+1150-19.5 -112+19.5 -112161.5 -114161.5 -109
Caesars Sportsbook-5000+1025-19.5 -120+19.5 -120161.5 -115161.5 -115
DraftKings Sportsbook-2500+1200-19 -115+19 -105162 +100162 -120
FanDuel Sportsbook-4000+1100-19.5 -111+19.5 -115162 -113162 -113
PointsBet Sportsbook-3334+950-18.5 -125+18.5 -105161.5 115161.5 -115
Unibet Sportsbook-3335+1150-19.5 -112+19.5 -112161.5 -114161.5 -109
William Hill Sportsbook-2400+1100-19.5 -110+19.5 -110162 -110162 -110

The Americans are currently giving up 19.5 points on BetRivers. For context, that’s three more points than the steepest line of any WNBA game this season (Seattle was favored by 16.5 over Indiana on June 17).

BetRivers also likes a high-scoring affair in this one, as the over/under of 161.5 sits a full 14 points higher than the next highest total among the six games with lines currently published.

DraftKings Sportsbook says that giving 19 points, 79% of the handle and 74% of the tickets are on the Americans. Additionally, 97% of the handle was on the Over when it was at 161 points, but more bettors liked the under at that number as 53% of the bets went that way. On the moneyline, Team USA claims 95% of tickets and 84% of the money.

DraftKings has a special for the game as well. The sportsbook has boosted its odds on the USWNT scoring at least 100 points to +300. Other promos may be available as game time approaches, so check your apps Thursday night.

If you or someone you know has an issue with compulsive gambling, help is available. Hit up or call/text (800) 522-4700. Visit the National Council on Problem Gambling for more information about confidential, free resources in your jurisdiction.

Photo by Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Calvin Wetzel Avatar
Written by
Calvin Wetzel

Calvin grew up in Central Illinois and from there got his bachelor's from Wheaton College in 2014. After some time out East, he is now back in Central Illinois teaching math to grades 7 through 12. He also writes and contributes however he can for Her Hoop Stats. He is a big basketball junkie, and in particular a huge Illinois State Redbirds fan.

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