Serbia vs Argentina
Tuesday, September 10 at 7a.m. EST
Serbia faces off against Argentina in the FIBA quarterfinals. Serbia is favored by 12 pts. Argentina is undefeated so far while Serbia is coming off a tough loss to a solid Spain squad. Before that Serbia had won by at least 15 pts in every game, defeating Angola, Philippines, Italy and Puerto Rico. In the loss to Spain, team leader Nikola Jokic was ejected, which definitely impacted the result of that game. Jokic is the most talented player Serbia has. Losing his scoring, passing, and leadership was a tough blow for the Serbs, one they were not able to overcome. Serbia is also dealing with the emotions of their point guard Micic, whose mother just passed away. Micic decided to stay with the team, even with the passing of his mother. How will Serbia respond? I expect a very focused Serbian team who will be trying to get revenge for their most recent loss against Spain, as well as play for the grief of their teammate, which must be very emotional for the whole team.
Argentina is undefeated, but a look at their strength of schedule in the FIBA World Cup shows that they have not yet faced a team the caliber of Serbia. Argentina has played South Korea, Nigeria, Russia, Venezuela, and Poland. Argentina has played well, but they have not been playing the strongest teams. Argentina is led by 39 year old Luis Scola, who is a solid player but has also been feasting on the lower level of competition he has faced so far in this World Cup. The shortcomings of the Argentinian team should be exposed.
More Skill and Talent
A 12 point spread is a tough amount to lay, but we are dealing with unusual conditions. Serbia should have supreme motivation coming off the loss to Spain and playing to honor their grieving teammate. I expect to see a focused Serbian team that will not let up. I am backing the much more talented team. I am predicting that the Serbian squad, who has much more depth, will be able to cover the 12 point spread against Argentina and advance to the semi finals of the FIBA World Cup.
Pest Pick: Serbia -12 (-110) with 5Dimes