The only unbeaten team left at EuroBasket is a side many thought would never progress from the first round.
But every one of Italy’s five victories so far has come against a highly-credible opponent. And other than against Sweden - a game that had no impact at all on their record - they’ve never been pushed to the wire. So should we be considering the Azzurri as potential champions?
They’re available at 10.00 to win the title but the same odds to flop out in the second round. That’s unlikely given that they have points in the bag but, because of that, they’re worth a punt to finish top of Group F at a generous 4.50. There’s also a decent bet at 4.00 on Luigi Datome to finish as their top scorer, given that better defences may start to key in on Marco Belinelli.
First up on Thursday, however, are hosts Slovenia who have been a little inconsistent so far, principally due to nightmare three-point shooting that has kept them to average of under 70 points per game.
Based on output so far, take over the total points line of 142.5 at 1.90. But with belief running through the Italians, they could come up trumps at 2.30.
Game of the Day: Spain v Greece
The Greeks possess little room for error here, starting on an 0-2 record in the second round, and with some signs that they are reverting to the me-first, team-second approach that has been their downfall in the past.
Spain are holding opponents to a tournament-low 53.8 points per game and is out-rebounding their rivals by +16 as a team. Look at taking Spain on the handicap of +6.5 and backing Marc Gasol to grab over 14 points at 1.80.
Also look out for…
Finland, having lost veteran centre Hanno Mottola, proved they have some depth by defeating Greece at the end of Round 1. They meet Croatia next and are capable of coming good at 2.60 if they can find ways to match size with guile, and get some scoring out of Shawn Huff who is 1.85 to score over 10.5 points.
Best bet: Take Spain over Greece on the handicap of +6.5 at 1.92.