It’s almost time for Eurobasket so BallinEurope is breaking down each of the groups over the next few days. Rather than going team by team which, to be honest, would take way too long, we’re going group by group to preview the battles ahead in the opening stages. By process of following the alphabet, we’re going in the order A, B, C, and then D. Today it’s time to look at Group B
Venue: Ülker Sports Arena, Istanbul
Is Dan Clark aka the original Kristaps Porzingis playing there?: Yes
Pause for a moment. We get to watch Ufuk Sarica coach Bobby Dixon again, that’s nice. Turkey host both this group and the entirety of the knockout stages, with the latter taking place across the Bosphorous in the Sinan Erdem Dome. The home side is joined by Olympic silver medal winners Serbia, Kristaps Porzingis and Latvia, the prototype Porzingis that is Dan Clark and Great Britain, an Alexey Shved led Russia, and the lions of Belgium. This is a pretty fun looking group bolstered by the star power of Porzingis and large chunks of the Serbian roster.
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What the bookies think
The odds on this group are far tighter than anyone would expect. Serbia are favourites at 7/10 but Turkey aren’t a million miles behind them at 2/1. While home advantage counts for a bit, this price seems flat out miserly on the hosts. You can get Russia for 14/1 next, again a price that looks far too tight considering Russia’s recent performances in international play, followed by Latvia at 16/1 on some markets. Belgium are a good way back at 80/1 with Great Britain rounding things out at 100/1. The prices here seem all over the shop and that’s good news for punters who keep a clear head. Serbia’s price simply should not be ignored and they are good value at current prices.
I mean, our entire preview series has been built around our intro pun. We can’t really make any other call.
It’s Dan Clark, Mr Blood and Bandages, against his padawan (according to roughly three people…none of whom are serious about it but we all love Dan) Kristaps Porzingis. Great Britain take on Latvia on 4 September, which is the same day as our Group C pick but fortunately in an earlier time slot so you can do both. I’d love to think my neighbours have a shot here but this site is neutral most of the time. This is Latvia’s game to lose but it’s going to be cool watching the similar styles of Porzingis and Clark square off.
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Your four teams to progress are, in alphabetical order:
I just can’t see how Russia are third favourites even allowing for lazy bookies. It’s entirely plausible they go 0-5 at this tournament, given they play Great Britain last and that could be a nothing game. Latvia are wildly under rated and look to have a serious side that is capable of repeating its run to the quarter finals last time. They should take second slot behind Serbia, with Belgium and Turkey battling to decide the order they each finish.
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