Eurobasket 2017 Winner Odds
The European Basketball Championship, better known as EuroBasket, has been around since the 1930's and has been held every two years since 1947. While the NBA may be the #1 basketball competition, it is hard to beat the raw passion and excitement that is generated by some of the best basketball nations, and European supporters are known for being absolute fanatics.
The 2017 edition of the tournament will be hosted by four countries - Finland, Israel, Romania and Turkey. These four nations will host one of four groups containing six teams, with each team to play each other once within their pool. The four best sides at the end of this group stage will progress to the knockout phase, and from that point on it can really be anyone's tournament.
So who are the favourites to win this year's EuroBasket? Below are the current odds, followed by our analysis of the best chances to win the tournament and our fearless predictions.
The Favourites - Spain
La Roja are currently ranked second in the world and are coming into the tournament in fine form. They have won two silver medals and a bronze at the last three Olympic Games, and have have won three out of the last four EuroBasket competitions. They will once again be favourites to get the gold in the 2017 edition and the leading sportsbooks agree.
Led by Spurs star Pau Gasol, the Spanish squad consists of seven current NBA players and is easily the best team on paper. With Croatia the only team in their group that could be considered a threat to the Spaniards, expect them to breeze through their group and be there in the final match on September 17th. At +175, they represent solid value and are our pick to take out the title.
The Main Contenders
Serbia appear next on the list of odds above and are certainly one to watch at this year's tournament. Their best finish as an independent country was their silver medal in the 2009 event, when they lost the final to Spain, however they have a strong pedigree in the competition having competed under the title of Yugoslavia, the most successful nation in the history of the event. They are currently ranked 3rd in the world.
If Serbia are going to go all the way in this year's tournament, they will have to do it without young prodigy Nikola Jokic, who has withdrawn from the tournament. Jokic is coming off his second season in the NBA and was voted into the NBA All-Rookie first team after his first year. The Serbs can still call on the likes of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Boban Marjanovic, who will play in the 2017/18 NBA season, so they have the talent to match the Spanish.
France are the next best chance according to the bookies, and they too will pose as one of the few teams that could beat Spain on their day. The French won the 2013 EuroBasket competition and has recorded a top-three finish in each of the last three events. They also have appeared at the EuroBasket a total of 37 times, the most out of any nation.
The French side is currently ranked number four in the world, however some of their best players will not be lining up for the team when the EuroBasket gets underway, most notably Rudy Gobert and Tony Parker who are household names in the NBA. Instead, it will be up to new Spurs F/C Joffrey Lauvergne and veteran Jazz forward Boris Diaw to lead the way. At odds of +525 they are still good value, but may struggle in the latter stages without the big names.
Greece are rated fourth on the list, which is very surprising given that they are thirteenth in the FIBA World Rankings, behind Lithuania, Turkey, Croatia and even Russia who appear well down the list of odds. The most logical reason for their appearance here is that their squad is almost solely made up of players from leading Greek club sides, namely Panathinaikos and Olympiacos.
Players in these teams make regular trips to the EuroLeague, Europe's premier basketball league, and will be much more suited to European competition than perhaps NBA-heavy sides will be. At +600, they are probably slightly under-priced, however they represent a good pick for the top-four, and any team can win the tournament from there.
Similar to the Greeks, Turkey have a squad that is largely made up of players from their domestic league. While they appear at sixth on the list of favourites here, they will have to improve on their past performances at the EuroBasket; the Turks have only finished higher than eighth-place in three out of twenty-four appearances, and have never won the competition.
Turkey do have home advantage in this tournament, including home matches for every round of the knockout phase should they make it that far. They should comfortably make it through the group stage on the back of their host status and could even surprise a few people, although it is tough to see them winning the lot. Odds of +1225 are tempting, but perhaps only for the brave.
Lithuania were runners up in the 2015 tournament and will again be a tough prospect this year. Toronto Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas will be critical to the success of the team, and the fifth overall NBA draft pick from 2011 will be looking to add a gold medal to his collection at this year's event. At +975, the team is great value as one of the top outsiders at the tournament.
Slovenia should also provide a strong showing as long as Miami Heat star Goran Dragic can pull the strings. While the Slovenians have made the semi-finals just once in their thirteen appearances, they are definitely a team that can cause an upset or two, and at odds of +2600 there's no harm in having a punt on them.
While Turkey are a genuine contender given they have home-court advantage for the duration of the tournament, the other three hosts are unlikely to fare so well. Israel are perhaps the best of the rest; they have made 29 appearances at the tournament and should qualify from their group.
Finland are ranked 32nd in the world and may possibly navigate their way through the group stage given they also have Iceland and Poland in their pool, although won't make it any further than that. Romania will struggle to make it out of their group even with home-court advantage. Your best option is to place head-to-head bets on these teams lest they cause a few upsets.
Spain look to be the goods in this year's tournament - they have arguably the best roster and have been performing far too well in recent tournaments to miss out on another gold medal here. As for the other finalist, well we'd love to see Turkey make it and cause an upset in front of their home crowd, but our pick is that they will play France in the decider... What are your thoughts? Do you think Spain will win the 2017 EuroBasket or will another team take their crown? As always, be sure to join in on the conversation by checking out our Facebook page.
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