The FIBA Basketball World Cup has reached the semi-final stage in Barcelona, and Championship favourites USA are preparing to take on Lithuania. The bookmakers are giving Lithuania little chance in this game, with the United States currently priced at 1.02 with Stan James.
Given the depth of talent on this USA roster, there is little chance in my midn that Lithuania comes that close to beating them on Thursday evening. With that said, lets look at the point spread. The USA are favoured by a massive 26.5 points, but is that line justified?
Lithuania have played well to reach this stage of the tournament, and on the evidence of games played, they’re much better than the USA’a previous opponents. This two sides met four years ago, when Lithuania’s only loss was also a semi-final meeting with the States. They haven’t beaten the USA since 2004, but it’s not completely out of the question.
The USA managed to beat Slovenia by 43 points as they turned up the heat on defence in the third quarter. The USA also made a high percentage of their jump shots, which is something they failed to do in the first half.
Despite the extremely short odds and the likelyhood that the USA roll to a comfortabl double digit victory, they never seem to make it easy for themselves against the Lithuanians, and the three ball in particular could be a big threat to the States.
Against Turkey, Lithuania made 10 of their 19 shots from beyond the arc. Whilst that alone may not be enough to beat the States, it may be all the Europeans are limited to at time, so the defence certainly cant afford to allow them too much space.
Another factor may be the form of Jonas Valanciunas who has been on a roll throughout this World Cup. The Raptors center should give the US plenty of problems in the paint, whilst Rockets Forward Donatas Motiejunas will also be familiar with the US line-up.
It’ll take a lot more that one Raptor and one Rocket to beat the USA, but every little helps. This will be the toughest test both teams have faced so far, but it still all comes down to the performance of the USA.
If the USA really want to go out and make a statement, then it’ll be hard for the Europeans to claim their first win in the fixture in over 10 years. That said, I see enough evidence to suggest Lithuania will compete here.
I personally think they’ll keep it within 20 points, so back Lithuania +27 at 1.86 with Bet365.
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