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2019 FIBA World Cup odds, tips and predictions – Day 1

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The FIBA World Cup action begins in the last day of August with eight games on the slate.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup begins on Saturday August 31st with eight games and 16 teams all looking to get off to a good start. The opening game is Angola facing Serbia, who are the huge betting favorites and have the 2nd best basketball betting odds behind Team USA to win the whole tournament.

Here is the schedule for Day 1 of the FIBA World Cup:

Angola vs Serbia
Poland vs Venezuela
Russia vs Nigeria
Iran vs Puerto Rico
Philippines vs Italy
Ivory Coast vs China
Argentina vs Korea
Tunisia vs Spain

Out of all of the Day 1 games in the FIBA World Cup there are only two where there is not a big favorite. Let’s first take a look at those two opening games.

Puerto Rico (-2.5) vs Iran – O/U 149

While not the most marquee matchup when it comes to hoops this Group C matchup is a big one. Well, every game in the World Cup group stage is big one and in this one Puerto Rico has the 2nd best odds to win the group with Iran with the 3rd best odds. Spain is the massive favorite to win the group and the battle may be for 2nd place and a spot in the next round. The other team in the group is Tunisia, which are major long shots to advance out of the group. Because of that it would not be a surprise if the winner of this opening game advances out of the group finishing 2nd.

Puerto Rico is the slight betting favorite in this game, and this is the first ever meeting between these two teams. Puerto Rico would have a much better chance in this game if Dallas Mavericks G JJ Barea did not make the decision to sit out the World Cup.

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Hamed Haddadi and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami lead a veteran laden Iran team and Mohammad Jamshidi averaged 12 ppg in the qualification process. Speaking of that process Iran beat a solid Australian team in their last game, which they needed to win to book their ticket to China.

Both teams have big frontcourts and Iran has three players on the squad that are at least seven feet tall. However, the Puerto Ricans have the better backcourt even though Barrea is not playing.

Puerto Rico did not look great in qualifying, but they have more talent than Iran and while this will be a close game the Central American squad will win this game cover the spread giving 2.5 points.

Nigeria (-4) vs. Russia – O/U 152.5

Nigeria is the betting favorite in this Day 1 game and the last time they met Russia they lost to them back in 2012 in an Olympic qualifying game. The African nation has three players on the squad from the NBA while the Russians have none, as all of their players are playing in their homeland.

Nigeria’s Al-Farouq Aminu averaged over 9 ppg and 7 rpg while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers last season. He along with young bucks Chimezie Metu (San Antonio Spurs) and Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves) give the African team a solid core of international talent.

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The Russians are without scorer Alexey Shved, as he is out for the World Cup with an ankle injury. One player that the squad needs to play well is Nikita Kurbanov from CSKA, but the team will really miss Shved’s scoring in this game. They have to slow the pace and make it a lower scoring game, which they could not do in a less than impressive loss to Argentina 85-64 in a World Cup warmup game.

Nigeria was solid in preparation for the World Cup with nice wins over Canada and Poland. They have more talent up and down their roster, which is a blend of youth and experience. That will show in this game, as they will not blow out the Russians, but handily win and cover the 4-point spread.

Sharks vs Minnows

In four of the games in Day 1 of the FIBA World Cup there are major favorites and with good reason. In these games below the team favored to win their respective group faces the team with the worst betting odds to win the group.

Tunisia vs Spain (-28) O/U 148

Angola vs Serbia (-29.5) O/U 158.5

Ivory Coast vs China (-11) O/U 145.5

Argentina (-20) vs South Korea O/U 165.5

More FIBA World Cup Day 1 predictions

Poland is favored by 10 points against Venezuela in both teams opening game and the Poles have the 2nd best betting odds to win their group with Venezuela with the 3rd best odds. For the Italy vs. Philippines game Italy has decent odds, the 2nd best, to win Group D while Philippines are tied with Angola, who face Serbia on day 1, as having major long shot odds to win the group at $151.00.

Poland (-10) vs Venezuela O/U 146

Philippines vs Italy (-17.5) O/U 155

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