Egypt will make its seventh appearance at the FIBA World Cup and enters the 2023 edition of the tournament as the 55th-ranked team. The Egyptians played just two games during the friendlies, where they surprisingly defeated Georgia and then lost to Lebanon. Egypt went 6-3 during the FIBA World Cup Africa Qualifications to book its spot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. They will be led by a new head coach in Roy Rana, a Canadian native, and veterans Amr Abdelhalim, Assem Marei, and Anas Mahmoud.
Meanwhile, Lithuania enters the 2023 FIBA World Cup with 10 exhibition games under its belt, where they won seven of them. They, however, are not ideally at full strength with Sacramento Kings star Domantas Sabonis not on this tournament's roster. Nonetheless, Jonas Valanciunas of the New Orleans Pelicans will still man the middle for the Lithuanians. While they were eliminated in the round of 16 in the EuroBasket, Lithuania still took eventual champion Spain to overtime, which is a good sign of where this team is at. Though they have less talent compared to the past heading into this tournament, Lithuania may be a sneaky team to go deep in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Here are the 2023 FIBA World Cup Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
FIBA World Cup Odds: Egypt-Lithuania Odds
Egypt: +20.5 (-111)
Lithuania: -20.5 (-115)
Over: 157.5 (-113)
Under: 157.5 (-113)
How to Watch Egypt vs. Lithuania
Stream: Watch ESPN
Time: 8:10 AM ET/ 5:10 AM PT
*Watch FIBA World Cup Games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Egypt Could Cover The Spread
Egypt expectedly heads into their 2023 FIBA World Cup opener versus Lithuania as major underdogs. If bettors want to take a chance on the Egyptians for this one, they just have to hope Egypt does not lose by 21 points or more. Nonetheless, anything can happen in basketball. Even underdogs like Egypt can get hot enough to make what should be a lop-sided contest competitive.
Despite their ranking, Egypt still has some talent on its squad. Amr Abdelhalim figures to lead this team in this tournament. He is a seasoned veteran in the international stage, having played for the national team since the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Abdelhalim has the potential to get hot in a hurry. The 31-year-old erupted for 42 points during Egypt's final qualifying game against South Sudan, setting the record for most points in an African qualifiers game. If Abdelhalim is able to string some buckets together, the Egyptians could actually make this a ball game.
Ehab Saleh is also someone who could play a major role for Egypt. The 28-year-old averaged 14.5 points in 11 games for his country during the African qualifiers. Assem Marei is another player who averaged double-digits (12.6 PPG) for Egypt during the qualifiers. If Abdelhalim, Saleh, and Marei could string together a strong scoring effort on Friday, they could be in good shape to make this game competitive.
Why Lithuania Could Cover The Spread
Lithuania fans who are willing to bet on their country must believe that their team can blow Egypt out of the water with at least a 21-point victory. It's certainly possible, considering the talent discrepancy between the two teams. Though Lithuania won't have Domantas Sabonis for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, they still have some great talent on their roster that makes them a sneakily good team in the tournament.
Jonas Valanciunas figures to lead this team without Sabonis. In addition to Valanciunas, they also have an ex-NBA player in Domantas Motiejunas to pair with the New Orleans Pelicans center up front. That is an imposing twin-tower combination that can impose its will inside the paint.
Apart from the two bigs, guys like Rokas Jokubaitis, Ignas Brazdeikis, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas are just among the other talented players on their roster. Jokubaitis has established himself as a solid point guard for FC Barcelona. Meanwhile, Brazdeikis and Kuzminskas, like Motiejunas have both found themselves on NBA rosters in the past.
Azuolas Tubelis is also a wildcard to look out for as he looks to make a good first impression on the international stage. Tubelis went undrafted in the 2023 NBA Draft and playing well in the 2023 FIBA World Cup should be a motivating factor for him as he attempts to make an NBA roster. In his junior season, the Arizona Wildcat averaged 19.8 points and 9.1 rebounds to win MVP honors of the Pac-12 Tournament while leading his school to the Pac-12 championship.
Final Egypt-Lithuania Prediction & Pick
Despite the massive spread, still take Lithuania for this. They just have too much firepower and better talent for Egypt to handle. Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Motiejunas should be able to impose themselves inside the paint against Egypt's bigs, while their slew of perimeter players should be able to contribute in several ways for an all-around team win to open their 2023 FIBA World Cup.