FIBA World Cup 2023: Greece’s Odds Plunge as Giannis Antetokounmpo Recovers from Knee Surgery
The odds for Greece to win the 2023 FIBA World Cup have taken a significant hit as Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the “Greek Freak,” is unable to play for the national team due to recovery from knee surgery.
The 2023 FIBA World Cup is set to take place in Asia starting on August 26, with the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia as the host countries. This year’s tournament showcases 32 national teams, with Spain as the defending FIBA World Cup champions.
Previously, Greece had odds of +900 to win the FIBA World Cup, making them the third favorite on DraftKings’ futures board as of June. However, without Antetokounmpo in their lineup, their odds have slipped to +2200, now placing them eighth on the board.
The stakes are high in the competition, with seven spots for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris up for grabs. France, as the host team, automatically qualifies, but the remaining seven spots will be determined by the FIBA World Cup rankings. Teams outside the top seven will need to find alternative routes to qualify for the Olympics.
Antetokounmpo’s Minor Knee Surgery
In July, Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP with the Milwaukee Bucks, underwent a minor surgery to address loose cartilage in his left knee.
Despite Greece’s preparation to compete in the FIBA World Cup without Antetokounmpo, his absence during training camp and warm-up exhibitions has impacted their chances.
After months of work and multiple meetings with medical staff, it is clear that I am not ready to compete at the required level in the World Cup,” Antetokounmpo shared on his social media accounts. “This decision was not by choice but the best option to ensure my return to the high level of basketball I have achieved throughout my career. I am extremely disappointed, but this was a decision made with the guidance of medical professionals.”
While the Bucks secured the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, they were eliminated in the first round by the #8 Miami Heat, with Antetokounmpo sustaining a back injury in Game 1. The Heat only needed five games to knock out the Bucks in the absence of a fully fit Antetokounmpo.
USA Leads Betting Odds at FIBA World Cup
With -120 odds, Team USA is the favored team to win the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Canada (+500), France (+700), Slovenia (+900), Australia (+900), Spain (+1100), and Serbia (+1300) are currently ranked higher than Greece on the futures board.
Greece competes in Pool C alongside the United States, Jordan, and New Zealand. Greece and Team USA will face off on August 30 during the pool play stage.
Team USA emerged as the champions in the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cups, defeating Turkey and Serbia, respectively. However, they faced a disappointing finish in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, finishing in seventh place after being upset by France in the quarterfinals.
Spain, the defending FIBA World Cup champions, defeated Argentina in the 2019 finals. They currently stand at sixth on the futures board with +1100 odds to repeat their success. In the 2022 EuroBasket finals, Spain defeated France, showcasing their strength against Europe’s top national squads.
Slovenia is considered a strong contender with +900 odds due to the leadership of Luka Dončić from the Dallas Mavericks. The team aims to bounce back after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the 2022 EuroBasket.
Serbia will not have Nikola Jokić on their national team for the World Cup. Jokić recently led the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA championship and has opted to sit out the World Cup due to exhaustion. Without Jokić, Serbia’s odds of winning the World Cup stand at +1300.