It’s crunch time in international basketball, as we’ve reached the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup. And it’d be an understatement to say that things look much different this time around for Team Canada compared to 2019. Back then, Canada was never really a threat, and failed to get out of the Group stage.
The game has changed a lot since for Canada, who save for a quick hurdle against Brazil, have risen to the occasion and then some. Next up is a quarterfinal matchup with Slovenia, and a chance to book their ticket to the semifinals. Here’s what to know about the upcoming game against the Slovenians, which bets are worth looking at, and what player props could be a good idea.
Canada’s game against Slovenia is on Wednesday September 6th, at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Bet on Canada vs. Slovenia
It has been mostly smooth sailing for Slovenia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. As a matter of fact, the only blemish came in the final game of the Group stage, in which they endured a 100-71 thumping by Germany. That sent the Germans to the top of Group K, with Slovenia qualifying just behind them.
While we may not have felt similarly heading into Sunday, looking back, the path has been similarly smooth for the Canadians. Their only major hiccup was a 69-65 loss to Brazil, which wasn’t enough to keep Canada from winning Group L. Now the two face off, with a trip to the semifinals on the line.
The Canadians are 7.5-point favourites heading into the contest according to Bet365. These are two of the strongest teams left in the field, and it isn’t too much to say that Slovenia’s Luka Doncic is one of the best players in the world. Meanwhile, Shai Gilgeous- Alexander has been one of the best players in the World Cup so far.
Regardless of the outcome, this has the potential to be one of the best matchups in the tournament so far.
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Could This Be The Year?
The Canadians have never medaled in the FIBA World Cup before. Heading into the quarterfinals, it felt like this could finally be the year it happened. Even without Jamal Murray in the lineup, the Canadians have been unrecognizable from the team that crashed out in 2019.
Gilgeous-Alexander was key in the late comeback against Spain, fueling the 88-85 victory with 30 points and 7 assists. He has been an absolute monster so far in the tournament, routinely threatening the 30-point marker while contributing a remarkable all-around game.
Dillon Brooks was also outstanding in the comeback and ousting of the defending champion Spain. Brooks had 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, playing excellent defence along the way. Kelly Olynyk has become a playmaking threat, and R.J. Barrett can threaten the basket with his slashing drives.
The United States is still the team to watch, but the gap between them and Canada may not be as large as it seems. The U.S. has a lack of size and it showed against opponents like Lithuania and Montenegro. A motivated Canadian group could have enough to not only medal for the first time, but also to walk away as champions.
Player props to watch
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup by checking out some of the featured prop bets. For an international event featuring Slovenia and Canada, there is quite a bit of NBA star power to go around. With Gilgeous-Alexander and Doncic involved, there are some interesting prop bets to keep an eye out for.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Over 2.5 Points (-125)
When he was needed most, Canada’s biggest star stepped his game up. Indeed, against the defending World Cup champions Spain, Gilgeous-Alexander put up his best game to date. He helped erase a 12-point deficit by putting up 30 points (his best in the tournament), 7 assists, and 4 rebounds.
The First-Team All-NBA selection has really had a coming out party in the past year, both in the NBA and on the international stage. He has been the catalyst for the Canadians but the presence of Barrett and an emerging Brooks means that the entire focus of the Slovenian defence cannot be on Gilgeous-Alexander. Look for another sterling performance out of the Canadian star.
Luca Doncic, Under 29.5 Points (-145)
Doncic is interesting because he’s clearly one of the most gifted, dominant scorers in the world whether on the NBA or World Cup stage. He started the tournament strong, posting 37 against Venezuela and 34 against Georgia. In blowout wins against Cape Verde and Australia, he only had 17 and 19 points respectively. He got off to a hot start against Germany and wound up finishing with 23 points in a 29-point loss.
The entire focus of the Canadian defence will be on him, and this is without a doubt the best team that Slovenia has faced to date. Luca is a superstar and will get his points, but 29.5 is a steep ask considering he hasn’t been to that level in the last three contests. Luca should end up in the 25-point range, particularly if Canada wins.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada) to score over 27.5 Points
What about the game itself? We know which way to go on bets for Gilgeous-Alexander, R.J. Barrett, and Luka Doncic. But what about the over/under or the spread? Here are the two bets that make the most sense for the upcoming Canada-Slovenia matchup.
Slovenia +8.5 (-110)
On paper, Canada is a lot deeper than Slovenia. But this is going to be a battle of arguably two of the strongest teams left in the field. It should be a battle, one that could come down to the final seconds of the game.
Doncic has the ability to take a game over at any moment, and he has that killer instinct that only the best have. Canada will likely get its best out of Barrett, Gilgeous-Alexander, and the rest, but all it takes is a motivated Luka to keep things close enough to cover a 8.5-point spread.
Over 176.5 (-110)
Both teams have the ability to pour it in. Slovenia scored under 87 points just once in the Group stage, the final game against Germany (71 points). Canada, meanwhile, had some truly explosive outings (128 against Lebanon, 101 against Latvia, 95 against France) and one major anomaly (65 against Brazil).
There is a pretty good chance that both offences are going to take it up a notch, especially with a trip to the semifinals and being one step away from the championship at stake. Look for both teams to score in the upper 80s, lower 90s to cover the over in what should be a thrilling contest.