After 18 days of competition in Slovenia, it all comes down to this: the 2013 EuroBasket Final between France and Lithuania.
There will be a wave of sentiment backing Tony Parker to finally secure the reward for years of unwavering commitment to his national team, even when fighting the fatigue brought on by a long NBA season.
The San Antonio Spurs star, a past winner of silver and bronze at European level, is averaging 19.7 points per game in the tournament, and he is 1.85 to score over 21.5 tonight. However, he was held to just 11 from a mere eight shots when Lithuania claimed a 76-62 victory over Les Bleus in the second round last week.
That game, both coaches have said, offers little in the assessing how the final might unfold. But there’s little doubt that part of the Lithuanians’ strategy will be to limit Parker and dare everyone else to step up. So have a look at Nicolas Batum to go for over 12 points at 1.85. Lithuania’s asset is their bigs, and the best of the bunch has been Jonas Maciulis who is 1.85 to get over 8.5 points and the same price to grab above 4.5 rebounds.
Even with Parker on a personal mission, if form holds, it still points to Lithuania making a concerted push to a fourth EuroBasket title and they are 2.20 to come out on top and +2.5 on the handicap at 1.88. Although, if you believe this is Parker’s time, there’s great value at 7.25 on France to trail at half-time and then to charge to gold by the end.
Spain and Croatia play off for a consolation bronze and even though their bid for a third successive title was thwarted by France, the deposed champions have pledged to go out on a high. A young Croatian side may find it tougher to rebound from disappointment and they’re 4.50 underdogs with the Spanish available at -9 on the match handicap at 1.90.
Go over 140.5 total points in France-Lithuania at 1.85 – and take the Lithuanians for the title
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