Australia captured a fantastic win over the Dominican Republic on Saturday night to kick off Round 2 of the FIBA World Cup. They face off against France on Monday night in what could will be an important game for seeding in the knockout stage. We preview the game and give our betting tips below.
Australia and France have both already secured their path into the knockout stage of the tournament. Whoever wins the matchup on Monday night will finish atop Group L, securing what will most likely be an easier matchup in the brackets. The loser of the game will likely have to face off against the USA in the first knockout stage.
The Boomers remain undefeated in the FIBA World Cup so far, having won all four of their games. They captured three wins from three games in the first round, beating out Canada, Senegal and Lithuania to finish on top of Group H.
Those three wins carried over into Group L in the second round, where they defeated the Dominican Republic in the first match to move to an overall 4-0 record. They have scored in the 80’s in their last three games in a row after piling on 108 against Canada and their defence has been fairly solid.
Patty Mills has been the shining light on offence, averaging 19.8 points per game, good for third best in the tournament. On the defensive side of the ball, big men Aaron Baynes and Jock Landale have been impressive while Joe Ingles has done a stellar job guarding the opposition’s best wing player.
In similar fashion to Australia, the French won all three of their first round games. They got their campaign off to a fantastic start by defeating Germany by four points in their first game. NBA star Evan Fournier was fantastic in the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
The French run in the first round got much easier from there as they went on to smash Jordan by 39 points and the Dominican Republic by 34 points. Former NBA player Nando de Colo was dominant in both games, averaging 17 points and controlling the French offence.
France went 4-0 in their first game of the second round when they defeated Lithuania by three point as Fournier had yet another big game with 24 points. While he hasn’t been dominating on the stat sheet, centre Rudy Gobert has been massive for the French on defence, helping his team limit their opponents to under 80 points in every game so far.
These two teams look like they are in very similar positions at the moment, both in very good form and both possessing a bunch of proven NBA talent. We think that the French have probably had more difficult opponents throughout the two stages so far and their win against Germany in the first game was particularly impressive.
The Aussies have relied heavily on a pick’n’roll offence throughout the tournament so far, one that might not be as effective with arguably the best defensive big man in the world, Rudy Gobert, on the other side of the ball. They also possess some real scoring threats the likes of which the Aussies haven’t faced yet in Fournier and de Colo.
France start as 3.5 favourites and as much as we’d like to see the Aussies avoid the United States for as long as possible in the knockout stage, we have to side with the French here.
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