I really think betting on national teams is the hardest part of the basketball predictions. No matter if we speak about the European Championship, the Olympic Games or the World Cup huge surprises can be seen every round. Like in all the competitions you would say. Or a bit more. Because there are some specific factors that will influence the final result more than we can imagine. Let’s see some of them:
- National teams are assembled from players coming from different clubs and countries. They are travelling to meet each other for these FIBA windows and actually they have a couple of days to practice together and to understand the basketball abilities of their teammates. In the case of basketball clubs, the teammates are training together every day for months or including years. That’s why many clubs are trying to keep the same core of players for as many years as possible. To build chemistry, the main factor. As for the national teams, the chemistry is failing in the most important encounters. The value of the roster can be amazing but without chemistry, they cannot win on the long-term.
- Some players are joining the national teams but, unfortunately, they are not playing at their highest potential, because they get paid by their clubs and they don’t allow themselves the luxury to be injured. The fluctuation of motivation can be higher for many national teams.
- For the coaches, is difficult to train people from different clubs and at the same time is hard to learn the opponents. How to organize a strategical defense when many times the members of the other national team will change for each encounter. Spain for example used for the World Cup qualifiers almost 40 different players.
For all these reasons and many others, I recommend you to be sceptical betting on national teams because they provide the biggest surprises. If you bet, do it only on underdogs, especially on huge odds and when they are playing at home. Hungary beating Slovenia and Belgium smashing Lithuania are the most recent cases to illustrate my theory.