2024 Paris Olympics Men’s Basketball: Canada Owns Second-Shortest Outright Odds Despite Tough Group Draw

Canada walks off of the court after the game against the USA Men's Senior National Team in the Bronze Medal Game as part of the 2023 FIBA World Cup on September 10, 2023 at Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.

The stage is now set for the Canadian men’s Olympic basketball team’s quest for a gold medal at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Canada will enter the competition with the second-shortest odds (around +1000 odds depending on the online sportsbook) to win the event behind the Americans and their absolutely stacked Dream Team squad that will feature LeBron James, Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, and Jayson Tatum, among several other NBA superstars.

Canada pulled off a huge upset against the Americans at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup to earn a bronze medal. Germany was the surprising winner of that competition, with Serbia earning a silver medal.

Canada will play an exhibition Olympic tune-up game against the Americans on July 10 in Las Vegas. Team USA is a 15.5-point favourite at NorthStar Bets in that friendly contest.

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Canada faces stiff competition in Group A

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Greece to an Olympic berth with a big win over Croatia on the weekend in its qualifying tournament to claim one of the final spots in Group A alongside Australia, Spain, and Canada.

There won’t be any easy games for Canada, which has, without a doubt, drawn the toughest of the three groups for the competition. The Canadians will have to find a way to contain Antetokounmpo in their Olympic opener before squaring off with an Australia squad featuring a plethora of NBAers, such as Josh Giddey, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, and Dyson Daniels, among others. Spain, led by Juancho and Willy Hernangomez, is projected to have a weaker roster than in previous Olympic competitions but is still a strong team that could surprise and qualify for the knockout rounds.

With the field now complete, here’s Canada’s schedule for the group stage:

July 27 – 3 p.m. ETGreece
July 30 – 7:30 a.m. ETAustralia
Aug. 2 – 11:15 a.m. ETSpain

The men’s quarterfinals will begin on Aug. 6, followed by the semifinals on Aug. 8, and the final on Aug. 10.

As of Monday morning, odds to win the respective groups weren’t available, but they should be posted across Canada’s online sportsbooks in the coming days.

Canada’s impressive roster

Many Olympic rosters are still being finalized, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be included on Canada’s squad.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, and RJ Barrett will lead the squad with an impressive supporting cast of other solid NBAers. Dillon Brooks and Luguentz Dort should bring a much-needed defensive element to the team, and veterans Kelly Olynyk and Dwight Powell will be tasked with handling the frontcourt duties.

Gilgeous-Alexander is fresh off, finishing as the runner-up for the NBA’s MVP Award behind Nikola Jokic and receiving All-NBA 1st Team honours. Murray, meanwhile, was instrumental in lifting the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA title in 2023. And Barrett played some of the most inspired basketball of his career after being traded to his hometown Toronto Raptors last December. It should be noted that Canada claimed bronze at the recent FIBA World Cup without the services of Murray, who should give the national team a huge boost as a floor general for the upcoming Olympic run.

If Canada does have a weakness, it could be in the size and rim protection department. Zach Edey, a seven-foot-four big man who was just selected ninth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies, has pulled out of the Olympics to focus on getting ready for his first NBA season. The 22-year-old centre from Toronto won the National College Player of the Year Award twice while playing at Purdue, and he’s previously suited up for the national team at the most recent FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2021 FIBA Under-19 World Cup.

Andrew Wiggins also elected not to play in these Olympics, but Canada already has good depth at the wing positions and shouldn’t be hampered too much by his exclusion from the roster.

This will be Canada’s first appearance in men’s basketball at the Summer Olympic Games since Steve Nash led the squad to a seventh-place finish in 2000. The men’s basketball program has only earned one medal in its Olympic history, a silver, way back in 1936 in Berlin. After earning a bronze medal at the latest FIBA World Cup, expectations are high that Canada can reach the podium again in men’s basketball this summer at the Olympics.