Puerto Rico vs Serbia Preview: Prediction, odds and more for the FIBA World Cup 2023

Serbia v China: Group B - FIBA Basketball World Cup
Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic will be a key factor against Puerto Rico in the 2023 FIBA World Cup

The top two teams in Group B of the 2023 FIBA World Cup will clash as Puerto Rico and Serbia tip off on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, Philippines.

Both teams have had a great start to their group-stage games and are entering the matchup with two points.

Puerto Rico narrowly defeated South Sudan in an overtime thriller to secure their first victory. South Sudanese Carlik Jones' masterful performance was not enough against the collective effort of Tremont Waters, Ismael Romero, Stephen Thompson Jr. and George Conditt of Puerto Rico.

On the other side of the court, the Serbian National team is coming off a monster win against China. It obliterated the Chinese National team by 42 points, the second-largest margin of victory in the World Cup so far.

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The winner of the game will secure the top spot in the group and a better chance for a second-round berth.

2023 FIBA World Cup: Puerto Rico vs. Serbia preview and predictions

Puerto Rico vs. Serbia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup
Puerto Rico vs. Serbia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup

The Serbian team is unquestionably filled with better individual talent, but the Puerto Rican team has shown resilience and excellent teamwork.

Serbia has three NBA players on its roster whereas Puerto Rico has none. At this level of competition, individual greatness often helps the team win big games. Serbia is shooting 67.7% on 2-pointers and 46.4% on 3-pointers while shooting 85.7% from the stripe, while Puerto Rico is shooting 46.3%, 35.7% and 67.7% respectively.

Dusan Ristic and Vanja Marinkovic of Serbia sank four 3-pointers off the bench against China. The 7-foot Ristic shot a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and also grabbed six rebounds in just 14 minutes.

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The Serbian team is determined to get out of Group B and into Group I for round two. The team went 4-1 in its exhibition games before the World Cup, with its sole loss being a one-point defeat.

Let's take a look at Puerto Rico. Four players carried the biggest load in the close win against South Sudan: George Conditt, Stephen Thompson Jr., Ismael Romero and Tremont Waters. All four players put up spectacular numbers and recorded double-doubles while the bench had a below-average performance.

The entire team will have to come together and shoot more efficiently to defeat Serbia on Monday. One cannot expect just four players to put up numbers while several end up scoreless.

In conclusion, Serbia has better chances of winning and is the favorite.

2023 FIBA World Cup: Puerto Rico vs. Serbia Betting Odds & Spreads

The Serbian National Team is a massive favorite against Puerto Rico. If it keeps up its hot shooting, it's going to do deep in this tournament. Serbia is the favorite to come out of the group despite reigning NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokic's absence. It would have been a championship contender had Jokic been on the roster.

Puerto Rico will overcome huge odds if it pulls off an upset. It's over 18-point underdogs in Monday's matchup.

Points Spread: (+18.5) Puerto Rico vs. Serbia (-18.5)

Total (Over/Under): (U 173.5) Puerto Rico vs. Serbia (O 173.5)

Moneyline: (+1100) Puerto Rico vs. Serbia (-2100)

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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