So call BallinEurope kooky: While everyone else with an eye on basketball – even European basketball, for Arvydas Sabonis’ sake – is concentrating on the NBA free-agent market, BiE is all attention on the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Men tipping off in Turkey in August.
Naturally, bookmakers too are into it and the early odds for the FIBA World Championship are up, including props on outright winner, group winners and even game one matches available at BallinEurope.com sponsor SportingBet.
Unfortunately, the SportingBet “2010 FIBA World Championship for Men Outright Winner” prop bet is merely that; no “each way” betting allowing punters to bet on the second-place finisher: a key wager in this tourney, should you be one of the teeming majority reckoning Team USA is the prospective runaway champion of this thing. The odds table looks like the following.
2010 FIBA World Championship for Men – Outright Winner
Greece, Serbia: 20/1
Argentina, Brazil: 25/1
France, Turkey: 33/1
Russia, Slovenia: 66/1
Puerto Rico: 150/1
China, New Zealand: 1000/1
Cote d’Ivoire, Lebanon: 2500/1
Jordan, Tunisia: 5000/1
Now, is *any* team worth betting on from this lot? The tragic thing about this tourney even before it begins are the number of international names who’ve announced they won’t be competing, typically at the behest of NBA franchise managers and/or coaches.
Not to be playing for Team USA are Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony (a real loss there, praised as ‘Melo is for his natural FIBA-style play), Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and possibly even Kobe Bryant.
Good news for the world’s squads? Welllllllllllllllll, the absence list for FIBA’s other teams may be just as impressive: Count mainstays Pau Gasol (Spain), Manu Ginobili (Argentina), Tony Parker, Rony Turiaf (France), Theo Papaloukas (Greece), Ramūnas Šiškauskas (Lithuania) and Andrew Bogut (Australia) as among the definite no-shows. Those with almost no to little probability of suiting up are Yao Ming (China), Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Kaman (Germany), and Sasha Vujacic (Slovenia – tough loss for them there. Not.)
Dark horses? Despite Luis Scola’s protestation that “We can win without Manu,” BiE’s taking Argentina out of the mix anyway. Scola’s going to have to demonstrate some leadership skills on the floor before anyone should back this team sans its greatest player ever.
One should never count Serbia or Lithuania out of any international tournament, though the latter has appeared in some serious disarray in recent years. Serbia, on the other hand, stunned The Continent with a scintillating lot of fresh talent in Eurobasket 2009 to take the silver.
As the host, Turkey will surely get a boost; these guys impressed even with a decidedly subpar performance from Hedo Turkoglu. (Can’t they add Enes Kanter really fast and totally shock Team USA with a crushing performance on the offensive glass? Please?)
Team Spain is running with a European all-star team even without possibly the best big man in basketball right now: How do you like Pablo Aguilar, Carlos Cabezas, Victor Claver, Rudy Fernandez, Jorge Garbajosa, Marc Gasol, Sergio Llull, Raúl López, Alex Mumbrú, Juan Carlos Navarro, Felipe Reyes and Ricky Rubio?
And Greece is bringing a heckuva star-studded squad despite the lack of main man Papaloukas: Nick Calathes, Dimitris Diamantidis, Antonis Fotsis, Stratos Perperoglou, Vassilis Spanoulis, Kostas Tsartsaris, Ioannis Bourousis, Loukas Mavrokefalidis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Panagiotis Vasilopoulos, Nikos Zisis, Kostas Vasiliadis, Kostas Kaimakoglou, Ian Vougioukas, Nikos Pappas, and Giorgos Printezis.
For an outsider, BiE likes Brazil. With NBA-bound (surely) Tiago Splitter, Anderson Varejao, Marcelo Huertas and Rafael Ferreira just for starters, mark BiE’s words in saying Brazil will surprise in the 2010 FIBA World Championship with its best squad since the days of Oscar Schmidt.
BiE’s favorite dark horse? Team Russia. This team’s impressive performances in the 2008 Olympic Games and particularly the 2007 Eurobasket tournament show that this may simply be the best Russian squad ever – and it’s all about the defense. Behind Andrei Kirilenko and J.R. Holden, this squad could clamp down on the best of ‘em two years ago; add in Viktor Khryapa, the red-hot Euroleague 2009-10 defensive player of the year, plus perhaps the best American coach not employed in the NBA in David Blatt and BiE says you’ve got a contender – at least to win Group C with SportingBet’s nice 16/5 odds; but that’s an entry for a different time…
SportingBet is offering a few proposition bets on the 2010 FIBA World Championship, including outright winner betting on the tournament, group winners and the first round of individual matches. Click on the banner below or any of the logos above at right for more information. Good luck, everybody!