FIBA World Cup preview - two horse race this year?
In-Play trader Maciej Bogdanski offers his thoughts on the FIBA World Cup
Less than a month left to the FIBA World Cup Spain 2014, the biggest international event in the basketball world.
Let's have a look at the favourites and teams most fancied by punters.
USA, usual suspects to win gold, now 9/20 from 4/11, look very strong as always. Despite some withdrawals due to injuries, experienced coach Mike Krzyzewski will do everything to make sure that the NBA pack, led by Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City Thunder, will defend the title they won in 2010 in Turkey.
This young American team (average age - 24) is the most popular choice among punters so far.
Hosts Spain are second favourites at @2/1. Their experienced squad is a deadly mix of top European teams and NBA players with star player, Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls) available for international selection after missing last year's European Championship due to injury.
The Spaniards are 2/5 favourite to win their group (against Egypt, France, Iran, Brazil and Serbia). USA's and Spain's paths will not cross earlier than the final game - both teams were seeded in the group draw.
So, you might think that it will be a two horse race this year. You can not be more wrong!
France, reigning European Champions, bring no less than 6 NBA players to the tournament, and are fancied by punters to win the World Cup @33/1 and also to win Group A @11/2 (second favourites to Spain). France's odds drifted from 28/1 and 5/1 respectively after withdrawal of their leader, Tony Parker (LA Lakers) who takes summer off international duty.
Greece - runners up in World Cup 2006 - bring most of their best players from the top European teams (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Panathinaikos).
They are 33/1 to win gold and 5/4 favourites to win Group B against Argentina, Croatia, Philippines, Senegal and Puerto Rico.
After rather disappointing seasons in the football and volleyball at international level this year, all eyes in Brazil are on the national basketball team! After injury plagued them last year, all their best players are available for Spain 2014.
Brazil are one of most experienced teams in the tournament - average age over 29. They are priced up at 33/1 to win the tournament and 6/1 (behind Spain and France) to win Group A. The opening day fixture France v Brazil looks very tasty for basketball fans.
Brazil's arch rivals, Argentina, are 40/1 to win the tournament. They are considered the main threat to Greece to finish on the top of Group B (Greece - 5/4, Argentina - 11/8).
The team suffered a big blow at the beginning of August - veteran leader Manu Ginobili (SA Spurs) became unavailable to selection due to injury. Despite that, the Argentine team will be very dangerous - NBA and Spanish ACB League players supported by domestic league talent can always mix up, not only at the group stage.
Another team widely regarded to be a "dark horse" this year is Lithuania. Last year's European Championship runners-up, their team is loaded with experience from top European clubs and are 8/11 favourite to win Group D and 40/1 to win 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
All games available for betting In-Play and streamed on our website, starts on Saturday 30th August.