Spain – Lithuania
24 has now become two with the final of EuroBasket 2015 in Lille on Sunday. Few would have forecast it would be Spain facing Lithuania for the title. And in a tournament of upsets, is there one more surprise in store?
The Spanish, chasing a third title in four competitions, are 1.40 to lift the trophy and most of that is down to the formidable form of Pau Gasol. The Chicago Bulls centre is averaging a top-ranked 25.6 points per game after firing 40 in the semi-final surprise of hosts France.
So much of Spain’s offense goes through his hands, even on a team that has averaged 85.1 points per game here – and never been held below 70. The size of Lithuania could pose him problems, even if he will not be completely stopped. But he is available at 2.05 to finish with an average of 26 points or over, not an impossible task.
But here is why Lithuania, at a generous 2.90, for the win is money well spent. Their size apart, they have the kind of defence that can shackle the rest of Spain even if Gasol has his way. And their multiple weapons make them hard to predict, with a variety of scorers capable of standing up.
Putting 95 points on Italy in the quarter-finals showed the Green Machine can fight fire with fire. Which is why taking a line over 150.5 total points at 2.50 is worth a punt, with Lithuania primed to replace their silver from 2013 with the gold.
France – Serbia
It’s consolation prize time for the losing semi-finalists with the French forced to recover from the indignity of losing their title in front of their own fans.
That has put them through the emotional ringer with Tony Parker, especially, owning up to under-performance here. Serbia will have had one day less to recover and although they have played much better during the tournament, back Les Bleus to sign off on a high with a total points line over 156.5, available, at 2.48, a decent shout.
Best bet: Take Lithuania on the handicap of -3.5 at 3.85.