The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup is the 18th edition of basketball’s World Cup. It will be held from August 31- September 15, 2019, across 8 cities in China.
A record 32 teams will play in at least 96 games beginning next month to determine who is the best basketball team in the world. The 32 teams are split into eight groups of four with the top two teams per group advancing to the knockout Round of 16. The quarterfinals will be staged on September 10 & 11, 2019 and the semifinals will be held on September 13. Basketball’s world champion will be crowned two days later on the 14th of September, 2019 in Beijing.
The United States enter the competition as the defending champions after beating Serbia 129-92 in the 2014 World Cup finals. The Americans also won in 2010 and have not lost a game in the last two editions of the FIBA World Cup.
Here are the odds to win the 2019 FIBA World Cup 2019. Odds are taken from MyBookie.ag as of July 10, 2019:
Who Are The Favorites?
There’s no doubt that the United States is the heavy basketball betting favorite to win the tournament. The Americans are tied with the former Yugoslavia for most wins at the FIBA World Cup with five each. Team USA has won the last two and is gunning for their third straight FIBA World title.
This year’s team will be without the likes of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Paul George but no question, they will still have the best team in the competition, at least on paper. Team USA is composed exclusively of NBA stars and will be coached by one of the greatest minds in basketball in Gregg Popovich. Coach Pop has a 20 man pool and regardless of who will his final selection be, it’s going to be stacked with the best basketball talent the world has.
Not only will the U.S. team bee oozing with superstar talent, but they will also be coming in with plenty of experience. 18 out of the 20 members of Popovich’s pool have prior World Cup experience. Five of them have previously won FIBA gold. These players are Harrison Barnes, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Kevin Love, and Kyle Lowry. Those five alone make the team look unbeatable. But are they?
Remember that in 2006, the Americans played a line-up that had LeBron, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard but managed to finish only third. Spain won that tournament and they were led by NBA players like Pau Gasol and Jose Calderon. Likewise, the Americans got beaten on home soil in 2002 and managed only 6th place despite having the likes of Reggie Miller and Paul Pierce leading the way.
Serbia is the #4 ranked team in FIBA and is tipped as the second best favorites. Serbia also boasts of NBA talent with the Denver Nuggets’ unicorn Nikola Jokic leading the way. Also part of the Serbian team would be the Sacramento Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica and the Dallas Mavericks’ Boban Marjanovic. Serbia were silver medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2017 Eurobasket.
Spain is the 2nd ranked team in FIBA and is third in the current odds board. The 2006 FIBA World Cup winners will be without the best basketball player in their history in Pau Gasol. However, his brother Marc isn’t a shabby replacement as starting center and the younger Gasol will be joined by Ricky Rubio and the Hernangomez brothers. Stalwarts Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Lull, and Victor Claver are also expected to be back. Spain were bronze medalists in Rio and in the 2017 Eurobasket.
France is ranked 3rd by FIBA and was third in the 2014 FIBA World Cup but finished 6th in the Rio Olympics and 12th in the 2017 Eurobasket. Expected to suit up for France is the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year winner Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. Aside from Gobert, other NBA players who will play for France are Evan Fournier, Nicolas Batum, and Frank Ntilikina.
While Serbia, Spain, and France also boast of NBA talents in their respective teams, they just don’t match with the Americans, at least on paper, when it comes to star power. The only advantage they have would be that their cores have played longer together because the Americans don’t have the luxury of playing together, given the NBA’s 82-game season and their contractual obligations with their mother clubs. However, as we’ve seen in the last two editions of the World Cup, the Americans weren’t affected by that. They’ve won the last two World Cups, rather easily.
I think there’s no question who the team to beat and the team to bet is. The Americans have reclaimed their spot on top of the basketball world and I don’t think they are going to yield it any time soon. Prediction: United States
Other Bets To Make
If you don’t like the betting value on the outright winner given that the Americans are heavy favorites, then you might want to go into group betting. Again, from MyBookie.ag, these are the two groups which you could make money from.
Odds to win Group A
- Poland +110
- China +160
- Venezuela +400
- Ivory Coast +3300
When you take a look at Group A, Poland is the favorite but remember that Venezuela is ranked higher at 20 versus Poland’s 25. Poland is also making its first appearance at the World Cup since 1967 so there may be jitters here as well. China could be a sleeper as well with the Chinese regaining their supremacy in Asia after winning gold at the 2018 Asian Games. I like China to win this group but won’t mind picking Venezuela. Prediction: China
Odds to win Group B
- Argentina -120
- Russia +145
- Nigeria +600
- South Korea +15000
No question Argentina is a basketball powerhouse but with Manu Ginobili now retired and Luis Scola already 37 years old, I don’t think Argentina is as good as before although they were second placers in the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup. Russia did not qualify in the 2014 World Cup but were 4th placers at the 2017 Eurobasket. Alexey Shved and Timofey Mozgov are expected to lead the Russians. Mozgov is the oldest player in the team at 31 and he’s six years younger than Scola. Prediction: Russia