After losing their 78-straight game international winning streak, the United States will look to take out their frustrations on a Czech Republic team that is nearly a 30-point underdog in their first opening round games.
<div><p style="text-align:right"><em>Jordan’s FIBA World Cup Picks: 1-1</em></p><h2><strong>Fade The United States?</strong></h2><p>At this point, I don’t think I’m willing to fade the United States for the tournament.</p><p>France, Australia, and a few others have the ability to make a run through the knockout round, but if the U.S is motivated by losing a winning streak that has stood for 15 years, I think they will come out in this first game (and tournament) and play flawless basketball.</p><p>A lot has been made on who made the team and who has withdrawn from the U.S. team over the last few weeks. I don’t think it makes a huge difference other than in the U.S. sports media landscape. This is still the most talented team in the tournament.</p><p>They may be young and inexperienced, but after the American’s run through international competition since embarrassing everyone in 2004, and the bigger focus on rest for star veteran players, it should be the 25 and under players who get a chance to add to the U.S. Basketball gold medal count.</p><p>If you look at it that way, this team is missing very few under 25 American players who are at the top of their games. It is also a very dynamic roster that can guard multiple positions and play at a tempo that may not be matched by more than one or two teams.</p><p>Considering international rules thrown in as well, and you have what could be the best defensive team in the tournament.</p><p> </p><p><strong>The Sharp Pick</strong></p><p>In this first game however, the spread is off limits for me. While I could easily see the U.S. winning by 30, I could also see them throttling back in the second half and letting the Czechs get back into a reasonable margin.</p><p>With that in mind, I think the better play is fading the Czech Republic’s offense. Outside of Tomas Satoransky, this Czech team has no NBA players and they have very few that play outside of the Czech Leagues during the winter.</p><p>Compare that to the U.S. who is stacked full of defenders. Myles Turner may be the second best defensive player in the tournament outside of Rudy Gobert for France, and add in Jayson Tatum and Mason Plumlee and this American frontcourt is going to be tough to score on.</p><p>Add in a crop of talented wing and guard defenders and you can already see where this is going.</p><p>Don’t be surprised if they double Satoransky constantly and make the other Czech players try to score. I expect some serious screen hedging and traps from the Americans here.</p><p>If the Czechs are turning the ball over early in this one, it could be a long night where they don’t get above 70 points. At 75.5, their team total is ripe for an under play.</p><p style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4579&book=5dimes" target="_blank"><strong>My Pick: Czech Republic UNDER 75.5 (-110) at 5Dimes</strong></a></p></div>