FIBA World Cup Odds, Best Bets Today: Expert Picks for USA vs. Lithuania, More (Sept. 1)
Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonas Valanciunas #17 of Lithuania celebrates after the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
While college football Week 1 has the attention of the general sports betting public this weekend, the FIBA World Cup is still going strong with eight key games on tap for Sunday.
Our Action Network analysts — Brandon Anderson, Joe Dellera and Bryan Fonseca — are betting multiple matchups for Sunday's slate, including a player prop for USA vs. Lithuania, the spread in Italy vs. Puerto Rico and more.
Read on for their FIBA World Cup best bets below.
Bryan Fonseca: Going into this leg of Round 2, I come to you unsurprised that Puerto Rico would cash the +9.5 bet against the Dominican Republic, and if you read our best bets before then, you know why.
But I thought, if the Boricuas would beat either of DR or Italy, it would be our Italian brothers, who upset Serbia on Friday morning.
All hell has broken loose in the World Cup, which, I remind you, is more March Madness than the NBA playoffs. Of the 12 teams fighting for eight quarterfinal spots – all of whom play Sunday – Puerto Rico is the weakest on paper and have by far the longest odds to win it all at +10000.
Even so, I don’t think they’re necessarily playing wildly above their heads. They didn’t play well against South Sudan until the final few minutes of regulation, and then overtime. They got washed by Serbia, but did play well in the second half, even made it a game at one point in the third quarter. And they played more complete games vs. China and DR, the latter despite allowing a 30-8 after building a 16-point lead.
Tremont Waters and the Boricuas could shoot with anyone. They haven’t shot under 35.7 percent from three in any game yet, have the second-best three-point percentage of all the alive teams (41.3 percent – only Lithuania is ahead) and they’ve been an effective rebounding team despite their size – better than Italy per game (40.8 to 37.0) and per 40 minutes (7.9 to 7.4).
Italy is also shooting just 32.8 percent from deep, only DR is worse of the 12 teams still in it.
One glaring issue? Turnovers. No team alive turns the ball over more than Puerto Rico at 14.5 per game. Italy sits at 10.8 turnovers per, fourth lowest.
That said, give me the points, and give me a +300 sprinkle on Los Boricuas to win outright.
Pick: Puerto Rico +8.5
Brandon Anderson: These teams have already been eliminated, but I can’t stop myself betting against Greece one more time.
This Greek team just continues to be badly overrated by the books, and they haven’t accomplished anything without their one superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo involved this summer. The Greeks beat Jordan and then barely held on to outlast New Zealand just to survive and advance, but they’ve been trounced by Lithuania and USA by at least 25 each.
Montenegro more than held its own against the Americans, keeping the game tight all the way until the final minutes when USA pulled away to win by 12. Maybe that leaves a letdown effect, but it also shows the quality difference in these squads.
Greece is supposed to be this tough, physical team but in the last game against a physical Lithuania squad, they got absolutely bullied. Georgios Papagiannis, Kostas Papanikolaou, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo combined for six points and four rebounds in 64 minutes. Now Greece faces another tough squad led by Nikola Vucevic, arguably one of the top players of the tournament so far.
I like Vooch to show up for this Balkan rivalry and have another nice game. I’ll also play him to go over 1.5 blocks (+150 DraftKings), a feat he’s done in three of four games at the World Cup and missed by only one in the other. Greece doesn’t really have any shooters outside of Thomas Walkup, so hopefully they take it into the paint and let Vucevic get his blocks.
Give me Vucevic and Montenegro to finish their tournament well and take care of Greece.
Picks: Montenegro -2.5 | Vucevic +1.5 blocks (+150)
Joe Dellera: This is a must win game for Serbia and the Dominican Republic to decide who advances to the next round of the World Cup. I expect max minutes from all of these teams key contributors, one of which is Nikola Jovic for Serbia.
Jovic has had some ups and downs scoring; however, his minutes have been stable and he has been solid as a secondary facilitator. In his last five games, he has recorded 2+ assists in all of them with 3+ in four of five.
This game against the DR should be fairly fast paced, and his length and ability to stretch the floor will be invaluable against Karl-Anthony Towns and Angel Delgado. His floor here is high, and I’ll back him to dish out 3 dimes.
Pick: Nikola Jovic over 2.5 Assists (+100)
Dellera: JVal has been instrumental to Lithuania’s success so far and this matchup initially appears good on paper due to Team USA remaining relatively undersized. However, this is an inflated line because of that. In their 4 World Cup games, he’s exceeded this line twice with 27 against Greece and Mexico but his average is just 24.75 PRA.
Additionally, he’s struggled in head-to-head matchups against Jaren Jackson Jr. In 9 career games, Valanciunas is averaging 8.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 4.1 fouls per game in just 19.3 minutes. Some of this is influenced because of Steven Adams; however, JJJ presents a difficult matchup for Valanciunas due to his ability to stretch the floor.
Valanciunas can still have a solid game while going under this PRA total, but with the potential to foul out and his priors against JJJ, this is a tough matchup for him.