After 3 weeks of basketball marathon we will know the name of best European Team of 2011 and also we will know who is the better team: Russia or Macedonia.
Russia – Macedonia
My line: (-7.5/139.5)
Personally I think that FIBA should give bronze medals to all who lose in semifinals like FIFA doing is soccer. Russia and Macedonia worth that medal for sure.
From betting point of view it is hard to oppose that Russia is more flexible team with deeper bench and probably more power left after 10 played games. Especially now when their offense clicked in and Shved (pictured), Khriapa, Kirilenko and Monia take care about it with Mozgov helping in the paint with his rebounding and agressiveness. At the beginning of tournament other people were team leaders like Fridzon, Vorontsevic but now it is another story and another level too.
Macedonia is surprise of the tournament with 8 of 10 covered spreads. That tells a lot about how bookies and public understimated this team. And today they are again with +6.5 handicap which should be taken without doubts after such performance at this tournament. But I still can’t see value in it.
I can’t see it because offensively they are still not so effective and maybe sometime too lucky to be backed. Russia has one of the best (if not the best) defenses here and only McCalebb can score points against it. Others may fail..
All in one I see this game in the 134-146 points range where Russia scores 71-76 points and Macedonia 63-70. No bets this time.
Prediction: Russia 76 – 68 Macedonia
Spain – France
My line: (-3.5/146.5)
Spain are listed as 7 points favorite. What does that mean if we talk about rating? Spain was listed as 6.5 fav against Lithuania and 9.5 fav against Germany. They won both games quite easily and proved that they are better. But the same could be said about France. They have alose beaten Lithuania and Germany in the same easy manner without doing at 80%. For example they have beaten Lithuania without Parker in 4th quarter. 7 points handicap means that bookies rate France as the same calibre team as Lithuania, Russia? Sorry but I can’t agree with this. France already proved than they are much better team than those and that is the first reason why I like France +7.
Second reason is that I don’t think that Spain has much better roster. Actually the only position where they are better (maybe better) are centers. French coach does not have defensive solution against Gasol brothers because his forwards are shorter. But don’t forget about power and athlecism in their legs! They are faster and can be very agressive defensively. Parker is French Navarro, Batum is better than Fernandez and Nando De Colo is a man to watch too as well as Calderon in Spain.
Third reason. Statistically I see Spain scoring 70-80 points and France scoring 68-75. Yes this could end with 13 points loss but also this could be 5 points victory. And when you see +7 and there is a chance for a win – it means you see value.
Forth and final reason why I go with France today it is a feeling that they played only at 60-70% of their real power all this tournament. They showed their real defense only for quarter in each match and that was enough to win matches, they never were 100% focused on the game because till this moment they always were favorites to win a match. Now they will dress underdog custom which suits them very well since old old well forgoten times…
Go Parker, go France!
Prediction: Spain 70 – 76 France