Greek Freak to Skip 2023 FIBA World Cup, Greece’s Odds Drop

Posted on: August 12, 2023, 08:30h. 

Last updated on: August 12, 2023, 10:44h.

Greece saw a huge drop in their odds to win the 2023 FIBA World Cup because Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo will not play for the national team while he recovers from minor knee surgery.

Giannis Greek Freak Antetokounmpo
Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, seen here playing in the 2022 EuroBasket tournament, will not play for Greece in the FIBA World Cup. (Image: Getty)

The 2023 FIBA World Cup will take place in Asia once again this year and the tournament begins on August 26. The Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia are the host countries. This year’s World Cup features 32 national teams, and Spain in the defending FIBA World Cup champion.

Greece was +900 odds to win the FIBA World Cup and the third favorite on DraftKings’ futures board in June. Without Antetokounmpo in the lineup, Greece saw their FIBA World Cup odds slip to +2200, and they’re now eighth on the board.

Seven berths to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are at stake. France gets an automatic berth as the host team, but the top seven places in the FIBA World Cup will qualify for the 2024 Olympics. If teams do not finish in the top seven at the FIBA World Cup, they’ll have to find alternative routes to qualify for the Olympics.

Greek Freak Gets Knee Scoped

Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP with the Milwaukee Bucks, underwent minor surgery in July to clean up loose cartilage in his left knee.

Greece had prepared to play in the FIBA World Cup without Antetokounmpo. He missed training camp and several warm-up exhibitions.

After months of work and multiple meetings with medical staff it is clear that I am not ready to compete in the level that I need to be to participate in the World Cup,” Antetokounmpo posted on his social media accounts. “This was not a choice but my only option in ensuring I get back to the level of basketball I have worked so hard to achieve so far in my career. I am extremely disappointed in this outcome but this was a decision made with the medical staff.”

The Bucks secured the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but they were upset in the first round by the #8 Miami Heat. Antetokounmpo injured his back after a nasty fall in Game 1. Without a healthy Antetokounmpo, the Heat needed only five games to knock out the Bucks.

USA Betting Favorite at 2023 World Cup

Team USA is the consensus favorite to win the 2023 FIBA World Cup at -120 odds. Canada (+500), France (+700), Slovenia (+900), Australia (+900), Spain (+1100), and Serbia (+1300) are all ahead of Greece on the futures board.

Pool C in the FIBA World Cup includes Greece, USA, Jordan, and New Zealand. Greece and Team USA square off on August 30 in pool play.

The Americans last won the FIBA World Cup in 2014 when they defeated Serbia to secure back-to-back World Cups. Team USA also won the 2010 FIBA World Cup when they defeated the host country of Turkey in the finals.

The Americans had a disappointing finish at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Team USA’s roster was loaded with NBA players, but they were plagued by injuries and went 6-2 overall. France upset Team USA in the quarterfinals. The Americans would inevitably finish in seventh place.

Spain is the defending FIBA World Cup champion after they defeated Argentina in the 2019 finals. Spain is sixth overall on the futures board and +1100 odds to repeat this year. Last summer, the Hernangomez brothers led Spain to a victory over France in the 2022 EuroBasket finals which featured the top national squads in Europe.

Slovenia is a popular pick to win the World Cup at +900 odds because they’re led by Luka Dončić from the Dallas Mavericks. Slovenia seeks to bounce back after a disappointing sixth-place finish in 2022 EuroBasket.

Serbia will not have Nikola Jokic on their national team for the World Cup. Jokic led the Denver Nuggets to the franchise’s first NBA championship in June. An exhausted Jokic made a difficult decision to sit out the World Cup. Without Jokic, Serbia is +1300 odds to win the World Cup.