Every day throughout the group phase of EuroBasket 2022, we’ll select our game of the day that is a must-watch for all basketball fans. For opening day, we head to Tbilisi and the battle between Belgium and hosts Georgia
Belgium vs Georgia, 1 September in Group A
Tbilisi arena, Tbilisi Georgia
21.00 local, 19.00 CEST, 18.00 BST, 13.00 EST, 10.00 PST
Why this game?
This game could end up deciding who takes third place and a far more favourable seeding in the knockout stages. Georgia go into this without their star man Toko Shengelia, who was injured in the games leading up to this event, but have NBA talent in Goga Bitadze and Alexander Mamukelashvili as well as national team veteran Giorgi Shermadini to count on.
The Lions of Belgium lack that kind of name recognition but have shown tremendous chemistry in recent seasons, benefitting heavily from the bulk of their top talent all playing in the BNXT League. That familiarity is the edge they will hope makes the difference on Thursday night.
What do the bookies say?
Straight up, Georgia are favourites here at 4/6 across markets and are -3 point favourites on the spread. That’s essentially the standard home advantage in a game that would otherwise be considered a coin flip by oddsmakers on a neutral court.
What do we say?
Belgium’s chemistry is definitely a big factor and our Group preview had them third but that was a few days ago and the coin has flipped in my head. The only upside to losing Shengelia is that Georgia lost him early, which means they’ve had time to prepare without him. Were this a night or two later, I’d like the Lions more but I’m definitely leaning to the home side.
Georgia will win and they’ll cover the spread as well.