Group H is been labeled the “group of death” in the 2019 FIBA World Cup and for good reason. In addition to an Australia team who recently ended a 78-game Team USA win streak, the group features Canada and a Lithuanian team lead by Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis. The group is rounded out by Senegal, who ranks near the tournaments worst currently sitting at +10000 to win the tournament. With nearly around the clock basketball getting underway this weekend, much of which can be streamed on ESPN+, let’s take a look at a Group H matchup where I see an edge.
Canada vs. Australia
Sunday, September 1st, 2019 – 3:30 am EST
Canada +6, O/U 166.5 (via PointsBet)
Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse will make his debut for Team Canada and will have to work some of the same ‘do more with less’ magic that he did this season for Toronto. Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph was a late add to the roster and is expected to lead this team alongside center Khem Birch. The guard position is the clear strength of this Canada team, which should translate well to the ball-centric nature of international basketball. A major hole in this Canadian team, however, is the absence of a natural scorer, a role Joseph will be asked to fill early on in this tournament. Team Canada was also dealt a major blow in the injury of Kelly Olynyk who would’ve been a major boost defensively and on the boards.
Outside of the United States, Australia arguably has the most talented top-to-bottom roster in this tournament. They also possess something the majority of teams in this tournament lack: depth. Starting down low, the Boomers are two deep in Aron Baynes and Andrew Bogut at center and bring in Saint Mary’s standout Jock Landale at the power forward position. Landale is the only expected non-NBA starter, with Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills, and Joe Ingles rounding out the starting five. I expect a scorched earth brand of basketball from this Australia team filled with players who are mostly in or just on the outskirts of their prime.
In addition to having one of the deeper rotations, you’ll find few teams in this tournament who have played more basketball together than this Australian group. With so much NBA talent, this should also be one of the most fearless teams we see over the next few weeks, looking to make statements anywhere they can. With a game looming against Lituania early in the week, I expected the more experienced and talented Boomers to secure the win both SU and ATS.