Team USA begins pool play at the FIBA World Cup on Saturday when they meet Finland at 3:30 PM ET. The game will televised on ESPN where they’re a 35.5-point favorite on the FIBA World Cup odds
Finland vs USA
Saturday, August 30th – 3:30 PM ET
Odds: USA -35.5
What’s Team USA Made Of?
So by now, you’ve probably heard that there’s no LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant or Blake Griffin. Yes, they all decided to skip the FIBA festivities in Spain. You probably also heard about that Damian Lillard was cut and Paul George suffered a grueling leg injury, that will keep him sidelined off the roster (and the Indiana Pacers roster too). So who’s left?
Even with all of those subtractions, the Americans are still favored to win the FIBA World Cup at -185. They’re an extremely heavy favorite to win Group C at -2400. That’s because their roster is still fully-loaded with all sorts of talent.
The starting lineup should look like this: Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, James Harden, Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis. Off the bench, they’re looking at guys like Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Mason Plumlee, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond.
Yeah, life is not bad for Team USA. In Group C, they shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever. They’ll share the space with the Finland, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Turkey and Ukraine. Turkey is likely to be the toughest opponent but really, this is a lineup of cupcakes. The U.S. shouldn’t stumble until the knockout phase when they might get challenged by someone like Lithuania or Australia.
The Matchup With Finland
USA will start with Finland on Saturday and then play Turkey, New Zealand, Dominican Republic and Ukraine all before September 4th. Finland, as you might recall, sent USA hockey home without a medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It’s quite likely that the Americans avenge that loss in basketball.
They have to win by 36 points for you to cover the bet, which is clearly a big number, but that’s going to be the biggest story here. If they lose straight-up tomorrow, it might be the apocalypse. Don’t worry; that’s not going to happen.
Finland doesn’t have much on its roster – especially with Drew Gooden getting denied being part of the team. The only other players that NBA bettors might recognize is Petteri Koponen, who was the 30th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft but never did anything in the NBA, and Cleveland Cavaliers sharpshooter Erik Murphy, who played just 2.6 minutes per game with the Chicago Bulls last season.
This is a complete mismatch of epic proportions and that being the case, laying the points does make sense. This is an American team constructed of a lot of new first-time faces and they’ll be looking to put on a shot. It’s a guard-heavy team too, so they should be able to get out and run a lot. Lay the points here.
FIBA Pick: USA -35.5 at 5Dimes