In our continuing look at the odds on EuroBasket 2009 (in this case presented by Euroleague/Ball in Europe partner SportingBet.com), BallinEurope.com presents a brief briefing on the current odds and trends in Group B.
As far as the odds are concerned, this group has been, since first post, a weird one. From the go, “Any Other Team,” i.e. whichever squad emerges from the additional qualifying round has been the second-favorite to take the group, ahead of Germany (which actually has seen the odds shrink slightly from 7/2 three weeks ago to 15/4 today) and Latvia (20/1).
Then there’s Russia. Earlier this week, even before news of Andrei Kirilenko’s absence from Eurobasket 2009 was made official, Russia’s odds to take the group (Sporting Bet currently has them at 6/5) barely pay worse that of “Any Other Team” (6/4). Plus, the effect of punters wagering with the new information in mind hasn’t even been seen yet: Any Other Team could start this tournament as the favorite of Group B!
To make matters even more complex, consider the effect on the book should one of the more highly regarded contestants – Italy or France rather than, say, Finland, Hans von Blumenstock or no – get into Group B. Once known, the odds on mysterious “Any Other Team” could plummet.
On the other hand, think about what an upset in the qualifying rounds could do. Imagine a Cinderella story. Imagine the plucky underdog getting a couple of lucky breaks. Imagine the dude who thought he was buying into France (with Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Ronny Turiaf, and maybe-absolutely-perhaps Joakim Noah) with odds as high as they would possibly go, only to be stuck with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Nevertheless, the rational pick here, considering both reasonable odds and uncertainty surrounding Team Russia, could well be “Any Other Team.” It’ll just take some intestinal fortitude to do it.