After five years the wait is finally over! FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 is starting very soon and for the very first time, we are going to have 32 teams competing for medals. This also means the upcoming tournament is going to be remembered as the biggest one in basketball history. It is the 18th World Cup Basketball event in history. The very first one was in 1950 when Argentina became the first champions. It is going to take place in China with multiple cities hosting group stages and the playoffs. Besides the obvious reasons why all teams should give their best in attempts to win the top places, there is something else on stake too. There is a possibility to qualify for the Olympics 2020 as well, so we are surely going to see a lot of action on the pitch.
There were no any drastic changes when it comes to the tournament format, despite the fact, there are more teams participating. Initially, squads will be split into eight groups of four teams. The top two will make it to the second stage, another set of groups, but the number of teams being cut into half. Again, the top two are going to make it to the playoffs (quarter-finals). From there we will have the traditional elimination format all the way to the finals. The final match of the tournament is going to take place in Beijing on 15th September. This is the first time China hosts a tournament like this. What is interesting to add is that the initial schedule had this tournament set for 2019, but organizers decided to move it for 12 months to avoid FIFA World Cup overlapping, according to basket betting expert John Pentin from a UK sports betting tips and predictions website.
We are also going to get two debutants – Czech Republic and Montenegro. Only the top two teams from Europe and the Americas will get a direct invitation for Japan 2020 Olympics. There is going to be one direct ticket for teams from Asia, Oceania, and Africa too.
According to many fans votes and opinion of experts, the „Group of Death“ is going to be F, featuring Greece, New Zealand, Brazil, and Montenegro. Judging by the odds all teams have a fair shot to reach the 2nd phase.
The tournament is going to be organized in eight different cities: Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan, Wuhan, Dongguan, Shanghai and Nanjing.
When it comes to the betting odds for this event, no one is really surprised to see the USA marked as the biggest favorite to defend the crowd. At the moment this price is around 1.20 with different bookies. Who can ruin the plans for the States and potentially cause some big upsets? Spain and Serbia are the top options in our opinion. All of the big NBA stars like Steph Curry and LeBron James are going to miss the tournament, and there have been many cancellations in the last couple of weeks as well. Some would say that the morale is not at a high level for Gregg Popovich’s squad right now. It is worth reminding ourselves about the 2002 tournament in Indianapolis when Yugoslavia shocked the world and defeated the USA in the quarter-finals.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Serbian team here. They have won the silver medal in the previous World Cup 2014. Coach Aleksandar Sasa Djordjevic has a lot of experienced players and rising stars at his disposal. The team to make an appearance in China is not much different in comparison to silver medal winners. They are one of the tallest teams in the competition, mainly thanks to Nikola Jokic and Boban Marjanovic, while many will agree that Serbia’s versatility on the bench is amazing. Sacramento Kings’ duo Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica should have a big impact as well. The bad news arrived last week though, with the main playmaker Milos Teodosic got injured in a friendly duel against Lithuania. He won’t be traveling to China. The current price on Serbians to win the World Cup 2019 in 10.00 – definitely worth a small stake in our opinion, especially now when the situation with USA squad is not that great.
France is also marked as one of the dark horses going into the tournament. Legendary Tony Parker won’t be there to help the team, but there is an interesting mix of players with strong offensive characteristics. Nando De Colo and Nicolas Batum should be the leaders on the court, especially if they have a good shooting night. Rudy Goubert should be the main source of threat to the opponents from paint.