Eurobasket-2011 Qualification: Day 1 Picks

eurobasket-2011It took longer than usual for bookies to set up the line for today’s games and that is why I was forced to sit and wait lines instead of studying them. However after in-deep analysis I did not find any strong positions to back tonight and only 2 positions are good enough to test them with low-medium stakes.

Hungary – Great Britain

Great Britain has many new faces comparing to last year Eurobasket and many missings (Archibald, Freeland, Betts). Team is built around Mensa-Bonsu, Reinking and NBA-star L.Deng. But so far Deng did not play in any of friendlies and nobody knows his current form and conditions to be an offensive power for GB team.

Hungary on other side can only dream about such players as GB have but at home Hungary always was a dangerous opponent. So far their preparations were not impressive and honestly speaking I don’t know what to expect from Hungarian team at this moment.

There are enough class on GB side to consider them as a favorite in this match but away game status makes it nobet for me. GB team lost 4 of its 5 friendlies and even with addition on L.Deng I still have doubts to back them away.

Ukraine – Macedonia

Ukraine playing at home should win but there are a lot of questions about Ukrainian team. I really don’t rate them class better than Macedonia but also I don’t know a lot about Macedonia team. I think it is better to avoid bets in match without deep knowledge of the teams.

Italy – Israel

This game is probably the most interesting one this evening. Piangiani has debut on NT bench but looks that he still needs time to enroll his system into this team. Italy still has defensive problems according to friendlies game results but they are looking really good on offensive end. They can score 80+ points any given night especially playing at home. Bargnani is all-around center and as always there are plenty of shooters on perimeter who can score 9-11 3-pointers with ease.

Israel has Casspi and Eliahu in paint, while Halperin, Bluthental and Burstein are perimeter weapons. Also Israel NT have a lot of forwards and solid bench to provide problems to any team in this group. Their weakness is center position where they don’t have any player who can stop Bargnani. But offensively Israel looks very solid and I would not be suprised to see 70+ pts from Israel tonight in Bari.

Italy for sure have to slow pace down and try to control the rebound, but I hardly imagine Piangiani team playing really slow-paced basketball. Let’s see what will happen but I think that this game has some good chances to end with over 151.5 points but it is not a confident play for sure. Both coaches are talking about defense importance in their interviews but so far both teams had more overs than unders. I expect Italy to win 83-74.

Pick: Over 151.5 @ 1.85 Ladbrokes 3/10

Montenegro – Latvia

Latvia simply does not have power to stop inside play of Montenegro team. Latvia will rely on its shooting abilities but I can’t see them winning here. Montenegro ML is good combo material I suppose but handicap is a bit risky.

Georgia – Poland

In my eyes Poland is better team here with T.Kelati, M.Gortac, M.Lampe but now they are without D.Logan and their new engine T.Kelati is not the same type of player as David was. Georgia has many well-skilled players but they are still not at the same as Polish leaders. I would not be surprised with Georgia giving a real fight here as well as losing it by double digits. According georgian coach interview looks that game vs Poland is a not top priority for them and he is probably right because Poland is clear favorite in this group. Nobet for me.

Portugal – Bulgaria

What I like here is Bulgaria ML odds. Bulgaria is looking much better team on all positions with twins-borther Ivanovs, F.Videnov, J.Homan. Bulgaria playing as a team with deep rotation and well covered on all positions.

For Portugal veteran Elvis Evora, 32, is not in the squad due to injury and that is a big blow for Portugal. Mario Fernandes, Miguel Minhava, Joao Gomes, Joao Santos, Jorge Coelho, Miguel Miranda and Francisco Jordao all played at EuroBasket 2007 in Spain but it was 4 years ago when they probably were at their peak and every year they are getting worser. However at home Portugal always dangerous opponents because sometimes they can hit 14 3-pointers or show magical defense. This is main risk here.

Bulgaria has for sure the better roster and more tactical solutions and I rate their chances to win are good enough but not sure that I know enough about Portugal team. I think that is worth to try Bulgaria ML odds around 1.65 but only with low-medium stakes.

Pick: Bulgaria to win @ 1.61  Pinnacle 3/10

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