France, Serbia, and Italy lead in the early running but there’s plenty of time for that to change
Considering France are already second favourites to win the Olympics outright on some books it’s hardly a surprise to see them performing well in the early going on Olympic Qualifying betting in Manila.
At 1/1 Les Bleus might seem a touch over favoured by the odds-makers at Mytopsportsbooks.com. Having already suffered a handful of withdrawals and signs pointing to sides leaning on NBA talent, like France, to have trouble getting everyone on board due to concerns over the Zika virus, it’s easy to consider a dark horse winning here. Fortunately for France however their biggest rivals in Manila, Canada, will have the same issue with NBA committed players already dropping quickly. With a heroic home run out of the question, the safe option is to stick with France.
The biggest slam dunk of the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournaments seems to be in Belgrade where Serbia are runaway favourites and with good reason. Even allowing for the withdrawals they have suffered from this stage, the Serbs remain far ahead of the rest of the competition in terms of talent. Bar an extraordinary display by the Czechs, and it would need to be historic, they are good value even as heavy odds on favourites.
Finally we turn to Turin where there is real competition and ample reason to have no faith in the home side. A deep Italian side sleepwalked to the quarter finals of EuroBasket last summer but they are far too reliant on iso-play. The Greek team heading to Turin simply won’t allow Italy to impose that game. Greece see these games as a legitimate shot at bringing home a medal and, crucially, they are desperate to make up for the embarrassment of failing to qualify in 2012. Croatia have the talent to play spoiler but they aren’t there yet to bet on to take the qualification slot. Back Greece as second favourites on most markets to qualify.