Stadium: Saitama Super Arena.
Round 1 of the Olympic basketball tournament is crucial for the Czech Republic. They have to beat the Iranians and prepare for the upcoming playoff battles.
This is the 3rd time in their history that the Iranian team have made it to the Olympics, and the last time they competed in the Games was 13 years ago in Beijing. At the 2019 World Cup, the team finished only 23rd, losing all 3 matches in the group stage. The Iranians’ entire game is now built around the big men. For example, Hamed Haddadi once played in the NBA, and he has been the national team leader for years. A lot will also depend on point guard Behnam Yakhchali, who had a successful season at German Rostock. The Iranian squad is primarily made up of experienced players from their home nation, with only one player under age 26 (Mohammadishe Vahedi turning 20 this year) included in the roster at the very last minute.
Mehran Shahintab’s men qualified successfully for the Asian Cup this summer and played five friendlies before the Olympics. The Iranians picked up just one win in 3 friendlies against Japan before losing twice to Spain. Their last defeat was a severe 53-96 loss to La Roja. After the first half, Iran were already trailing by 24 points, with little chance of pulling back into the game. None of their players scored more than 10 points: Haddadi had 5 points, and Yakhchali was the top scorer on Iran’s squad with 9.
The Czech Republic made it to the Tokyo Olympics after all. They outscored Canada, Greece, and Turkey in the qualifiers, meeting the Canadians the most dramatic one. The Czechs squandered a significant advantage in regulation time, but they took a 5-point lead in overtime and made it 103-101. Of course, the team’s play now revolves around its only NBA representative, Tomasz Satoranski. Fenerbahce’s Jan Vesely also has high hopes, although the other big men in the Canadian selection process were Ondrej Balvin and Patrik Auda.
The Czechs have not played a sparring session since Olympic qualifying, and in their last game, they defeated Greece, 97-72. The critical period for their team was the first and third quarters when they made 8 of 14 three-pointers and cut the lead to 10 and 20 points, respectively. But Ronen Ginzburg’s men shot almost all of them from under the basket. Patrik Auda made 8 of 9 shots for 20 points. Vesely had his best game of the tournament with 16 points on 7 of 9 from the field.
Expert Betting Tips
Even for the Japs, Iran looked weak and failed to keep up with their opponents on defense. In their last sparring session, their team had no one to take the lead on offense, and Haddadi, for example, was invisible under the basket. Czech team leader Tomas Satoranski has more of an impact on the game than the Iranians’ main playmaker. The Iranian squad is the weakest in the current Olympics, and the Czech Republic will have no problems after their triumphant qualification. I suggest to wager on the following outcomes:
- Handicap 2 (-17.5) for 1.92;
- Total Over 152.5 for 1.94;
- Individual Total 2 Over 83.5 points for 1.68.