On the eve of the EuroBasket 2009 additional qualifying round games, Euroleague/Ball in Europe partners SportingBet.com have posted their lines for wagering on the Italy-France and Portugal-Bosnia and Herzegovina games. Who are the favorites? Will the games be close? Ask an oddsmaker; his money’s riding on the outcome, after all.
For Italy vs. France, Sporting Bet has Italy at a (relatively) huge favorite, getting 1/2 odds versus Les Bleus’ 6/4 line for the game. In addition, the pointspread has Team France at plus-3 points.
The gut reaction here is “don’t bet against the book on this one.” Seemingly nothing but bad news has been coming out of the French camp lately, with Tony Parker officially out for the Italy game alongside Joakim Noah. On court, Team France could barely handle Hungary in a friendly in Paris, escaping with a 70-69 and a tiny bit of pride. (Yes, i know it’s a friendly, but i also know about the general state of Hungarian men’s basketball at present.)
Meanwhile, the Italians are bringing a squad that could take the floor against any competition from the professional or international ranks – never mind Team France – tomorrow: Andrea Bargnani, Marco Belinelli, Danilo Gallinari, Stefano Mancinelli, and Daniel Hackett. (Hey, it says here that the former USC Trojan calls the excellent burg of Pesaro home.)
The Italy bench is an OK mix of veterans anchored by Matteo Soragna, and one could envision Team Italy getting itself into trouble with lots of early fouls from the starters and below-average play from the bench, but with France sporting the likes of Florent Piétrus, Ronny Turiaf and Ball in Europe favorite Boris Diaw playing desperately for every point, the foul trouble scenario seems more likely to befall Les Bleus. Take Italy across the board.
In light of the Sporting Bet odds, the forecast for the Group A game of the EuroBasket additional qualifying round is a bit tighter, but only slightly.
The book says Portugal is a 7/10 favorite and Bosnia and Herzegovina, an 11/10 underdog, is getting just two points in handicap betting.
Here’s a basketball-betting tip just made up on the spot: Never put any money on a team that less than three weeks removed from a loss to Team Cape Verde. The derision and vitriol hurled at Team Portugal after a loss to Cape Verde in the Lusophone Games tournament came fast and furious, from inside and out. Team Portugal player José Costa declared it “the worst game we have ever played.”
(Incidentally, this is no knock on Cape Verde, one of the truly basketball-devoted cultures on the planet; but, i’m just saying is all.)
Aside from this psychological hit – from which the team seemingly at least partially recovered, as Portugal ended up taking the Lusophone Games bronze medal – are the questions surrounding João “Betinho” Gomes, who was so crucial to Team Portugal’s success in EuroBasket 2007. Gomes has yet to take the floor with this team for any length of time due to injury.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s roster may have a bunch of barely-knowns to the casual fan, but they’re tempting based on a lot of bad karma in Portugal alone. Could this make for an upset on day one?
SportingBet.com is offering some other lines and odds on these games. Click on either logo or banner at right for more information. Good luck, all!