The United States will begin their 2023 FIBA World Cup tournament run in a group play matchup against New Zealand on Saturday, Aug. 26. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET and will be available to watch on ESPN2, WatchESPN and ESPN+. The action will take place from the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Despite Team USA being without notable star power on the roster, head coach Steve Kerr has more than a few options to lean on when it comes to finding the basket. Jalen Brunson, Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr., Anthony Edwards, and Paolo Banchero will likely be the go-to options on the scoring front.
Tyrese Haliburton off the bench will be more than adept at controlling the temp and helping space the floor with his shooting.
Memphis Grizzlies’ center Steven Adams indicated he had positive talks about playing for the New Zealand national team, but a knee injury late in January effectively ended his hopes of suiting up for the Kiwis in the World Cup. Ruben Te Rangi, Shea lli, and Izayah Le’afa will be the primary scoring threats for New Zealand, though they will ultimately rely on their collective talent to stay competitive against the United States.
The United States is a 37-point favorite against New Zealand, and the combined point total is set at 185.5, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
USA vs. New Zealand, 8:30 a.m. ET
Pick ATS: New Zealand +37
Team USA should firmly win their opening matchup of group play but given that this roster is relatively young, I’m not entirely sold on the Americans covering the spread. Their average margin of victory in their last three exhibition games has been +11, which speaks to both the young on the United States roster as well as the increased level of competition internationally. If New Zealand can slow the tempo, there remains a high probability that they can avoid a 40-plus point blowout loss.
If Kerr’s squad jumps out to a convincing double-digit lead by the start of the fourth quarter, there’s also the added factor of the United States calling off the dogs and ruling out the chance of covering the spread.
Over/Under: Over 185.5
All three of Team USA’s recent exhibition games have finished over the 185.5 point total, while New Zealand’s slower style of play, and thus lower scoring average, increases the likelihood of this point total hitting under. The talent level of the United States roster should overwhelm New Zealand, and with an ample number of scoring threats in the starting lineup and on the bench, it should allow Team USA to finish with one of their higher totals.