2019 FIBA World Cup Preview: Odds and Predictions

What Is the FIBA World Cup?

The FIBA Basketball World Cup, like its sibling the FIFA World Cup is to soccer, is the premier international basketball competition. Occurring every four years, the FIBA World Cup pits different nations from across the world against one another in order to crown the best basketball nation in the world.

Founded in 1950, the 2019 FIBA World Cup will be the eighteenth tournament for men’s national basketball squads. This year FIBA World Cups group stage has been expanded from 24 teams to 32 teams.

This tournament will also act as a qualification for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics. The top two teams from Europe and the Americas will qualify, while the top team from Africa, Asia & Oceania, and the host country Japan will also automatically qualify.

When is the 2019 FIBA World Cup?

FIBA World Cup starts Saturday, Aug 31, 2019, and ends on Sunday, Sep 15, 2019.

What’s New at the 2019 FIBA World Cup?

The FIBA World Cup was initially scheduled for 2018 but was moved to 2019 for logistical purposes. It will be the first time that China will have hosted the FIBA World Cup.

The pool of teams has been expanded from 24 to 32 for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. With a larger pool comes greater competition, but a greater reward for the countries given this rare opportunity.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup will have two debutants on its stage. Montenegro, formerly a part of Yugoslavia, and later, Serbia and Montenegro, will be representing themselves for the first time. The Czech Republic is also a first-timer, formerly a part of old Czechoslovakia.

Poland will be making its return to the FIBA World Cup since their last appearance in 1967.

After missing the competition in 2014, Canada, China, Germany, Ivory Coast, Russia, and Tunisia will return to the competition in 2019.

FIBA Tournament Format

The 2019 FIBA World Cup will be played in three stages:

Group Stage

The opening stage of the tournament. All 32 qualified teams will be sorted into eight groups labeled A to H. Each team in those groups will play the other once. The top two from each group will advance to the second stage.

Second Group Stage

The Second Group Stage sorts the advanced countries into four groups of four labeled I to L. Each team will play each other once. The top two teams of each group will proceed to the next round.

Knockout Phase

Following the second group phase, the knockout phase ensues. Teams will be seeded based on their finish in the group stages, setting up the brackets for the final.

Where Will the 2019 FIBA World Cup Games Be Held?

Impacting all of China and the world in terms of basketball, there have been eight venues chosen to present the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Beijing

Arena: Wukesong Sport Center

Capacity: 18, 000

Nanjing

Arena: Gymnasium of Youth Olympic Games Sport Park

Capacity: 19, 614

Shanghai

Arena: Shanghai Oriental Sport Center

Capacity: 18, 000

Wuhan

Arena: Wuhan Sports Center

Capacity: 11, 700

Dongguan

Arena: Dongguan Basketball Center

Capacity: 16, 000

Foshan

Arena: Foshan International Sports & Cultural Arena

Capacity: 14, 700

Guangzhou

Arena: Guangzhou Gymnasium

Capacity: 11, 609

Shenzhen

Arena: Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre

Capacity: 12, 381

2019 FIBA World Cup Groups

The initial groups have been drawn and all 32 teams enter their training period with their three competitors in mind. If you are in New Jersey and want to bet on the FIBA World Cup groups, you can do so on 888Sport and BetStars. Check out the latest odds below. 

Group A

Venue: Cadillac Arena, Beijing

  • Cote d’Ivoire (FIBA Rank: 64)
  • Poland (FIBA Rank: 25)
  • Venezuela (FIBA Rank: 20)
  • China (FIBA Rank: 30)

The hosts’ group, Group A seems very much in the favor of China. China will more than likely sit atop the group at the end of the first phase, but Venezuela is a capable and exciting team that can capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes. Cote d’Ivoire and Poland return to the competition after a long absence. Les Éléphants’ defense and Bia?o-czerwoni with their shooting ability will certainly not go down easily.

Group Winner – Group A Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
Poland+115+110
China+185+125
Venezuela+375+450
Ivory Coast+1100+4000

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Group B

Venue: Wuhan Gymnasium, Wuhan

  • Russia (FIBA Rank: 10)
  • Argentina (FIBA Rank: 5)
  • South Korea (FIBA Rank: 32)
  • Nigeria (FIBA Rank: 33)

Group B seems to have a clear cut top two. While South Korea has put on an inspired effort to this point in qualification, they are outclassed by their group-mates. Nigeria boasts a diverse pool of international talent in their primes, but Russia and Argentina are the cream of the crop. Both are expected to finish at the top of the table, barring a major upset.

Group Winner – Group B Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
Argentina+100-118
Russia+150+140
Nigeria+400+600
South Korea+10000+20000

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Group C

Venue: Guangzhou Gymnasium, Guangzhou

  • Spain (FIBA Rank: 2)
  • Iran (FIBA Rank: 27)
  • Puerto Rico (FIBA Rank: 16)
  • Tunisia (FIBA Rank: 51)

To say that Spain received a favorable draw in the first round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup would be an understatement. Iran, Tunisia, and Puerto Rico are not in their class. However, the battle between the three will be thrilling to see who wins the other top seed in the group. Puerto Rico is a powerhouse offensively while Iran and Tunisia boast some incomparable size.

Group Winner – Group C Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
Spain-3335-10000
Puerto Rico+1100+1200
Iran+2500+6600
Tunisia+5000+9000

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Group D

Venue: Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center, Foshan

  • Serbia (FIBA Rank: 4)
  • Italy (FIBA Rank: 13)
  • Philippines (FIBA Rank: 31)
  • Angola (FIBA Rank: 39)

Group D seems clear cut due to the talent gap seen between Serbia and Italy, and the Philippines and Angola. This group may not be as much of a sure-thing as expected though. Philippines has played inspired basketball to qualify for this tournament and are led by NBA guard Jordan Clarkson. Meanwhile, Angola boasts one of this years top NBA Draft picks in Bruno Fernando. It will be a group that matches quality against heart.

Group Winner – Group D Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
Serbia-670-700
Italy+350+400
Philippines+10000+15000
Angola+20000+15000

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Group E

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai

  • USA (FIBA Rank: 1)
  • Turkey (FIBA Rank: 17)
  • Czech Republic (FIBA Rank: 24)
  • Japan (FIBA Rank: 48)

Group E is and was always going to be in the favour of the USA. While they won’t be boasting their top talent at this tournament, they still have a lineup to take down their group. Turkey is a powerful side with scoring from every position. The Czech Republic makes their first appearance, while Japan enter with high hopes as they are led by their young stars Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe.

Group Winner – Group E Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
USA-5000-5000
Turkey+1500+1100
Czech Republic+5000+3300
Japan+25000+30000

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Group F

Venue: Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park Gymnasium, Nanjing

  • Greece (FIBA Rank: 8)
  • New Zealand (FIBA Rank: 38)
  • Brazil (FIBA Rank: 12)
  • Montenegro (FIBA Rank: 28)

Since splitting off from Serbia in representation, Montenegro’s side has grown considerably weaker on the international level. While the Tall Blacks live up to their moniker, they don’t look to have the quality needed to compete. Brazil and Greece are the stars of this group. Loaded with players from the worlds top leagues, Group F is theirs for the taking.

Group Winner – Group F Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
Greece-400-350
Brazil+425+450
Montenegro+1500+900
New Zealand+1500+2500

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Group G

Venue: Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre, Shenzhen

  • France (FIBA Rank: 3)
  • Dominican Republic (FIBA Rank: 18)
  • Germany (FIBA Rank: 22)
  • Jordan (FIBA Rank: 49)

Jordan shocked the world when they qualified for the FIBA World Cup. Unfortunately, they were drawn into a very tough group. France is the top dog in the group, standing as one of the tournaments best teams. Meanwhile, Dominican Republic always stands tall against supposed greater competition while Germany touts its own pool of rising stars.

Group Winner – Group G Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
France-335-400
Germany+350+350
Dominican Republic+1000+1100
Jordan+10000+15000

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Group H

Venue: Dongfeng Nissan Cultural and Sports Centre, Dongguan

  • Canada (FIBA Rank: 23)
  • Senegal (FIBA Rank: 37)
  • Lithuania (FIBA Rank: 6)
  • Australia (FIBA Rank: 11)

Every major tournament has it, Group H is the 2019 FIBA World Cup’s Group of Death. Four incredibly talented sides are in the same pot looking to advance in one of the top two positions. Senegal may be just outside of their competitors quality range, but they are not to be underestimated. Meanwhile, Lithuania is still a power in world basketball. Australia was dealt a hard blow when Ben Simmons withdrew from the FIBA World Cup, while Canada was unable to convince its best talent Andrew Wiggins to the side. Group H is one to watch.

Group Winner – Group H Odds

Team888Sport NJ BetStars NJ 
Australia+140+150
Canada+175+188
Lithuania+220+188
Senegal+5000+10000

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Why Is the USA the Favorite to Win the 2019 FIBA World Cup?

Ever since the international basketball scene began allowing professionals in major tournaments, the USA has dominated the competition. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia – which maintains the same number of FIBA World Cup titles as the USA (5) – there is yet to be a country to match their dominance.

In their group alone, the USA opens at a -5000 favorite. The benefit of having the worlds largest basketball talent pool and the most successful league has resulted in American basketball players dominating the world in quality.

The USA side has suffered some tough blows as of late. As a number of their top stars have chosen to withdraw from the competition. Some of the top names are:

  • LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • James Harden (Houston Rockets)
  • Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Demar Derozan (San Antonio Spurs)

Even without their top players, the USA team still boasts a field of capable role players and All-Stars to lead them forward. The drawback is that it is a side with relatively little international experience. Still, it should be only a small challenge for legendary head coach Gregg Popovich.

Who Is Ready to Take the Crown?

Australia

The Boomers felt a harsh blow when star point guard Ben Simmons chose to withdraw his name from the FIBA World Cup tournament. Despite his absence, the Boomers are still an incredibly talented side, led by savvy veterans from the worlds top leagues.

Leading them forward will be two veteran stars and former NBA Champions, Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills. They’ll also have capable role players in Deng Adel, Matthew Dellavedova, and Joe Ingles.

The Boomers are both a gritty defensive side and a capable offensive outlet. They’ve proven their ability on multiple occasions and might be back just in time to take advantage of the USA’s lack of star power.

Canada

This is Canada’s Golden Generation for basketball. For a country that touted so much NBA-level talent, they have underachieved on the international level. From coaching issues to poor recruitment, the best years of legend Steve Nash were wasted with a less than capable supporting class.

This year the Canadian national team boasts a talent pool on the level, if not greater than that of the USA. Eighteen of their twenty-nine invitees to training camp are currently attached to an NBA team, while twenty-one out of them have prior NBA experience.

The key to Canada’s team will be unity. Once the roster is trimmed down to twelve, chances are that the remaining side will have little to no experience playing together on the international level. Reigning NBA Champion Head Coach Nick Nurse and his staff will need to organize a game plan that suggests Canada has played together for years.

France

While Tony Parker will not be the familiar face leading the line for Les Bleus going into this tournament, France will have an interesting mix of quality and experience at their disposal. France will be a defensively adept team but armed with the offensive flair seen more often in North American sides.

Reigning two-time defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert is the greatest threat for Les Bleus in the tournament. His size is near unmatched in the paint and there isn’t a better rim-protector in the tournament. He will have a number of capable wings at his side – Nicolas Batum, Nando De Colo, and Axel Toupane – to spell him when the paint is too crowded.

The question for France lays in its point guard play. Will Frank Ntilikina be able to find himself and lead his side to victory? Or will France have to rely on the steadier, but less dynamic play of Huertel or Albicy? France has the defensive side locked down, it is now up to their offense to keep up.

Serbia

If you want to see exciting basketball during the FIBA World Cup, look no further than Serbia’s outfit. A fantastic mix of youthfulness and experience, Serbia is presenting a side that a contest any opposition.

Without a player under 6’4 on the roster, Serbia is one of the tallest teams in the competition. They can shoot it from range and have the length to go uncontested in the paint.

Speed will be their biggest issue in the tournament. While their length is commendable, they can be taken advantage of in transition. A common tactic amongst American outfits, Serbia will need to enforce their game plan if they hope to win.

Keep An Eye On These Teams

Spain

While they won’t be lining up with the talents of Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, or Jose Calderon, Spain will certainly have a team to worry about at every phase of this tournament.

Spain has incredible guard play in Ricky Rubio and Sergio Llull, tremendous shooting in Rudy and Jaime Fernandez, modern inside-outside threats with the Hernangomez brothers, and an all-world level center in Marc Gasol.

Spain may be lacking in athleticism, but they are certain to bring their organized play and defensive intensity all tournament long.

Greece

Greece is always a threat on the world stage, but for the first time, they can say that they will be fielding the best player in the tournament. Current NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will be looking to lead his team to gold after bowing out early during the NBA Playoffs.

Greece will have to prove that they can knock down shots from the outside, in order to keep Antetokounmpo’s penetration a threat. If anything, Greece is a bit too heavy on size. Suggesting that sealing off the paint could signal their end.

There are concerns regarding Greece’s lack of consistency playing with Antetokounmpo. Thanassis Skourtopoulos will be tasked with bringing the side together in order to capitalize on their most capable player.

Philippines

While they are a long shot to win the tournament, Philippines is the type of team that can derail another sides campaign with a single win. They have collected what is likely to be their most talented roster ever, and head coach Yeng Guiao will be feeling the pressure to motivate them.

A shocking move from head coach Yang Guiao was the inclusion of Jordan Clarkson, Christian Standhardinger, and Stanley Pringle to the side – along with Andray Blatche. The four players failed to acquire Philippine Passports/Citizenship before they were sixteen, so they will be battling for the single naturalized player spot.

Signs point to Blatche being chosen due to his size and consistency with the national side. However, Cleveland Cavaliers wing Jordan Clarkson and his dynamic scoring will have something to say about that. Decisions must be made for the Philippines, but their talent is certainly nothing to disregard.

2019 FIBA World Cup Odds and Predictions

With the USA opening as such a heavy favorite, it is difficult to pick a wager on outright markets.

The jump is steep after the USA (-500) and Serbia (+600) as Australia and Spain trail (+2000).

Group A and Group H are the most competitive groups to pick. Poland opens as the favorite as a +115 but hosts China and the always capable Venezuela have a greater body of work to suggest they’ll take the top two spots.

Group H is frankly up in the air. Australia opens as the favorites at +140, but they lost their talisman, Ben Simmons. Canada sits next at a +175, but their lack of familiarity as a team could cost them in such a tournament. It is also difficult to count out Lithuania, who are ranked sixth in the world but do not have their most capable roster at hand.

Stay locked in on WSN as we’ll be covering the dynamic odds and matches at the 2019 FIBA World Cup!