- Spain is a -165 favorite to beat Australia in the FIBA World Cup semi-finals
- The Spaniards (2006) were the last country other than the USA to win a FIBA World Cup title
- Australia is in the semi-finals of this tournament for the first time
Spain and Australia were given the easier path to the FIBA World Cup semi-finals than France or Argentina.
The French (USA) and Argentina (Serbia) eliminated the two pre-tournament favorites to meet in the final. Meanwhile, Australia (Czech Republic) and Spain (Poland) were left with relative minnows to contend with in their quarter-final games.
The Spaniards have been established as the -165 chalk in this semi-final.
Australia vs Spain 2019 FIBA World Cup Semi-Final Odds
|Australia||+130||+3 (-110)||Over 160.5 (-110)|
|Spain||-165||-3 (-115)||Under 160.5 (-110)|
*Odds taken 09/12/19.
Spain won the FIBA World Cup in 2006. This is already Australia’s best performance in a FIBA World Cup. In 2014, the Australians were eliminated by Turkey in the Round of 16.
Spain’s Balancing Act
Suiting up four NBA players, the Spanish squad is as deep as they are dangerous. Five different players hit for double digits in the 90-78 quarter-final win over Poland.
Spain was led by 19 points from Phoenix Suns point guard Ricky Rubio. Rubio added nine assists and five rebounds. He’s averaging 15.3 points per game in the tournament,
The Hernangomez brothers, Wily (18) of the Charlotte Hornets and Juan (14) of the Denver Nuggets, combined for 32 points in the win. Rudy Fernandez of Real Madrid added 16 points and Marc Gasol of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors scored 10 points.
Gasol, the 2012-13 NBA defensive player of the year, dished out seven assists and posted a team-high +22 rating in the win.
Fernandez and Gasol were both part of the Spain’s 2006 FIBA World Cup championship club.
Australia’s Best Effort
Regardless of what happens in this game, the Australians go home with the knowledge that they’ve turned in the best FIBA World Cup performance in the history of their country.
The Aussies also list four NBA players – Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs, Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz, Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Aron Baynes, Rubio’s teammate on the Suns. As well, there’s 15-season NBA veteran center Andrew Bogut, now back home playing with the Sydney Kings.
Mills has proven to be the star. He ranks third in the tournament in scoring, averaging 22.2 points per game. Mills is shooting 51.2 percent from the field, and 40.5 percent from 3-point range.
Australia is a veteran team. Seven players on the roster are in their 30s, and only one is younger than 27.
Spaniards Will Send Aussies Down Under
Rubio figures to draw the assignment of slowing down Mills. He’ll also get help defense from Gasol in the paint.
If Spain succeeds in limiting Mills even a bit, it will force others to step up. That could prove problematic. After Mills, Baynes (13.3 ppg, 39th) is the only other Aussie among the tournament’s top 86 scorers.
Baynes is averaging 58.7 percent from the field but he’s also averaging just 8.8 field goal attempts per game.
Australia (6-0) are no slouches. The Aussies beat the USA in a pre-tournament game and edged France 100-98 in a preliminary round meeting. They’ve averaged 90 ppg, highest among the four remaining contenders.
The Spaniards take care of the ball well. Spain has committed just 71 turnovers while distributing 136 assists. That efficiency, combined with Spain’s depth, will give the Spaniards the edge over an Australian squad that relies too much on Mills to carry the load.
Pick: Spain [-165, -3 (-115), over 160.5 (-110)]
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