Round 1 of the 2023 FIBA World Cup is in the books, so we ponder the outlook for Team USA as we head into their first game of Round 2 on Friday, Sept. 1.
As with nearly every international basketball tournament, expectations for the USA are high, which is reflected in the betting markets.
The USA remains the favorite to win the FIBA World Cup at -125, which isn’t surprising after seeing their Round 1 results.
The Americans cruised through Group C, winning their games against New Zealand, Greece and Jordan by 27, 28 and 48 points, respectively.
The groups get reorganized for Round 2, with the USA in Group J with Greece (again), Montenegro and Lithuania.
That makes a group of four teams with winning records through Round 1. However, the USA’s point differential of +103 still has them as the most dominant in the group - only Canada’s +111-point differential is better in the tournament.
The first game of Round 2 for the US is against Montenegro in Manila on Friday, September 1 at 4:40AM EST .
Regardless, they are huge 26.5-point favorites, so it may not be a close contest.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is leading the team this year, which is an extremely young roster.
It includes 20-year-old Paolo Banchero alongside Anthony Edwards and Walker Kessler, both of whom are just 22 years old. Despite the young age, it’s Edwards who led the team with 16.3 points per game in the first round.
There were just three teams who won each of their opening round games by at least 20 points, two of which you could likely guess - USA and Canada.
The third was Lithuania, who the Americans will play on Sunday morning. That’s set to be an 8:40AM EST start time and is one that should be worth watching.
We mentioned the youngsters on the USA squad and it’s clear that they are still putting their best foot forward after the disappointing showing in 2019.
Captain Jalen Brunson is coming off a fantastic season with the New York Knicks, leading them to the playoffs.
Austin Reaves also entered the FIBA World Cup as hot as ever, having just had a breakout postseason with the Los Angeles Lakers.
On the Montenegro side of things, you won't be seeing any recognizable NBA stars, so it’s no surprise that analysts and oddsmakers alike are anticipating another smooth USA victory.
However, the Americans play Lithuania on Sunday and they are led by New Orleans Pelicans star center Jonas Valanciunas. The US doesn’t have quite as much size as past teams, so it should make for an interesting matchup in the paint.
Even still, Lithuania is a +2500 long shot to win the tournament. Similarly, Montenegro finds themselves with even longer odds at +4000.
Following Team USA at -125, it’s Canada at +400 as second favorites to win the 2023 FIBA World Cup.