Tomorrow night, the penultimate match in the Eurobasket 2009 Additional Qualifying Round goes down when France and Belgium tip it off for game one of their two-game playoff in determining Eurobasket team no. 16. Care to bet on it? Check out Ball in Europe sponsor SportingBet.com’s lines and odds for the game below.
Now, while the jockspeak handbook requires coaches and players to insist they’re only focusing on their upcoming opponent, bettors need not be bound by any such restriction and particularly in this case should be thinking about the short-term future. To wit: In the continuing bizarre odds dogging Eurobasket 2009 Group B.
At the beginning of the month, “Any Other Team” (a.k.a. the survivor of the Additional Qualifying Round) was getting odds of 6/5 to win the group outright at Sporting Bet. Today, that’s down to 7/8 and sliding. Combine pretty solid play throughout this tournament despite a erratic roster of the slightly injured with a now-complete roster and with a win tonight, France’s odds in the big tournament will surely plummet.
The advice, then, if you like France. Bet on them to take Group B *now*. Do not wait for tipoff tomorrow night, do not wait until halftime.
As for that formality – I mean, the Belgium-France game – Sporting Bet has the favorites at 1/3 while Team Belgium is getting an 11/5 line. In the pointspread, France is giving six for the game and three for halftime. Particularly likeable is the latter, as Les Bleus have recently been getting off to high-scoring first halves: While Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum have gone for a combined 38.5 points per game in this tournament, they’re chipping in more than 23 in the average first half, leaving most teams to dig themselves out of the hole in the third quarter.
On the other hand, Sporting Bet has the over/under set at a low 147.5 … do they reckon Belgium brings their tight defense to the match? Perhaps, but with more than a week to rest the nagging injuries, I suspect Team France has a blowout up their sleeves.