2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Finals Preview

2014-FIBA-Basketball-World-Cup-Logo-SpainThe focus of the sports world lately feels like football this and football that – college football, NFL football, the infamous travails of Ray Rice and so on. If you’re feeling like you need a break from all of the pigskin hoopla, the finals of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup are this weekend. If you’re a NBA fan you’ve got reason enough to watch the finals on Sunday between the United States and Serbia. The latter team may have only one starter from the NBA – Miroslav Raduljica from the Milwaukee Bucks, but the former is overloaded with stars. With guards like Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose, forwards like Kenneth Faried and Rudy Gay, and team captains like DeMarcus Cousins and Mason Plumlee the lineup is bursting with power and ability. It’s little wonder that the U.S. went 5-0 in Group C play of the opening round, a performance matched by Spain in Group A and Greece in Group B. Only Group D failed to generate a dominant team as both Lithuania and Slovenia finished 4-1. The bottom two teams were shaved off of each group and the remaining 16 teams were bracketed for head to head elimination play much like March Madness. The United States continued to roll from that point on, smashing each opponent by more than 20 points: Mexico fell 86-63, Slovenia was CRUSHED 119-76, and Lithuania got eliminated 96-68. They’ll live to fight another day though as they face France for the third place game on Saturday. France was within a hair’s breadth of the FIBA World Cup championship, but ultimately fell to Serbia by a score of 90-85. They did successfully play the role of spoiler in knocking out Spain though – the other tournament favorite with oddsmakers. Speaking of the odds let’s take a look at that third place game first, tipping off at noon ET. The money line on the game is almost a coin flip, with Lithuania being a slight -125 favorite and France just barely a dog at +105. You’ll want to watch these lines closely before the whistle blows, just in case any key players on either squad are benched due to an unexpected injury – one of these two teams could suddenly wind up a big last minute favorite (for a safe bet) or dog (for a true gamble). Before the U.S. the Lithuanian team was winning close in the brackets – their biggest margin being 12 points over Turkey. France was equally competitive with their biggest win being a 13 point margin over Spain. It’s easy to see why this is a tough call. You might expect the U.S. to be a heavy favorite in the finals on Sunday, but it’s too early to tell what the money line will be. Right now it’s exactly dead even on the lines: – 110 everywhere you look. The smart money is to wait until after the third place game and check back in again to see if there’s a better handle on the starters for Serbia and the U.S. and who may be limping in. Of course none of the NBA’s elite want to get hurt before their lucrative season play kicks in stateside, but they’ve played with pride until now and aren’t likely to slouch after dominant play to this point. Please remember that all previews are for entertainment purposes and to wager only what you can afford.

Written by Stevie J

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