Slovenia vs Greece
It’s fair to say Slovenia is a basketball country. Posters celebrating EuroBasket adorn a huge proportion of available billboards and the streets empty when the national team is action.
And having a massively partisan crowd can boost their hopes of reaching the latter stages of the tournament, with a quarter-final berth up for grabs on Saturday night when they take on Greece.
The hosts, expected to be spurred by 10,000 home fans in Ljubljana, are 2.15 to come out on top and they have become a exceptionally combative opponent, taking their rebounds and minimising their turnovers with the Dragic brothers - Goran and Zoran - providing speed and stability in the backcourt.
Greece now have the most productive offense at 78.5 points per game, and although centre Loukas Mavrokefalidis has been ruled out for the remainder of the championships through injury, his absence will be felt more at the defensive end where Goran Dragic may sense the opportunity to make more forays into the paint. The Phoenix Suns guard is 1.85 to go over 14 points here while Vassilis Spanoulis, having a great tournament, is 1.85 to score over 15.5.
Spain vs Finland
Defending champions Spain need to bounce back from a woeful display against Lithuania when they take on Finland. The Spanish have struggled without Marc Gasol on the floor and as EuroBasket reaches crunch time, expect to see his minutes increase – and potentially his scoring output.
A loss might spell the end for the Finns and their problem is an over-reliance on Petteri Koponen. He’s likely to be harassed constantly here by Ricky Rubio and with the Minnesota Timberwolves star a pesky defensive threat, take under Kopponen’s line of 12 at 1.85 and look for the total points in the game to stay below 144 at 1.90.
Saturday’s early game sees Croatia face Italy, with the winner becoming the first confirmed side in the last eight. The Croats are emerging as a very intriguing young force so they’re worth a punt on the match handicap of -2 at 1.93.
Best bet: Go over 70.5 total points at half-time in Slovenia-Greece at 1.90.