EuroBasket gets under way on Wednesday in Slovenia with the opening games of the first round.
Although we’ve had a fair indication of form and talent in the build-up, there are plenty of participants whose performances have been deceptive, either because their best players reported late, or due to injuries which could hinder their hopes. That could set up a few early upsets before sides really hit their stride.
Game of the Day: Serbia v Lithuania
Pool B is the Group of Death, with only Latvia a true outsider among a cast list that also includes Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro.
Lithuania, with an experienced core aligned to bright young talent, should be the pick of the bunch with former NBA forward Linas Kleiza emerging as their scoring leader and young Toronto Raptors prospect Jonas Valenciunas, still scratching the surface of his talents.
Kleiza is 1.85 to score over 13.5 points, something that he’s done regularly in the warm-up friendlies, but the fate of the Serbs is more uncertain. They’ve got an incredibly young side, hindered by the late unavailability of the injured Milos Teodosic. But they’ve still shown an ability to put points on the board.
Their old hand, Nenad Krstic is 1.85 to score under 13.5 and he could find it problematic against Lithuania’s front line. Instead, back Bogdan Bogdanovic at 1.85 to go over 7.5 points but go with the Baltic giants to prevail on a handicap of -5.5 at 1.90.
Also look out for…
Greece are favoured by 20.5 at 1.90 on the match handicap against Sweden and, although the Greeks are title contenders, the newcomers are capable of keeping it closer if NBA sophomore Jeffery Taylor maintains his initial form.
Also go under 148.5 total points in Israel-Great Britain at 1.90 with the Brits misfiring offensively. But look at a punt on GB’s Andrew Lawrence to score over 7.5 points at 1.85.
One other special bet worth taking: Finland are 3.50 to finish higher in the final standings than Croatia. With the Croats in a tough group, that’s a decent shout.
Go over 147.5 total points in Serbia-Lithuania at 1.90.