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Rio 2016: Croatia vs. Serbia Quarterfinal Preview

Croatia and Serbia have always owned one of the most heated rivalries in European basketball, and a new chapter will be written when the countries collide in the Rio Summer Olympics quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Shark Bites
  • Serbia (22.8 assists per game) has an edge in the assist department over Croatia (17.6).
  • Miroslav Raduljica leads Serbia with 17.6 points per game.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic leads both team in player efficiency (19.2).

Croatia (3-2) had a strong showing in the early going of the tournament and clinched the top spot in Group B as a result. The breakout of Bojan Bogdanovic has been a major reason for that, as the 27-year-old came out of nowhere to lead the Olympics with 24.8 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting. Dario Saric (12.8 points) is excelling in his first ever international competition as well.

Serbia (2-3) took advantage of a weak group and snuck into the medal round in the last spot of Group A. The Serbs have held their own against stronger teams, highlighted by a 94-91 close call against the heavily favored United States.

Bench play could be the biggest factor in this matchup. Serbia is getting a phemononal 45.4 points from its second unit – tops in the Olympics – while Croatia lags well behind at 21.2 bench points per game. If Bogdanovic, Saric and the rest of the starters aren’t on their game, Croatia’s bench will need to step up in a big way.

Serbia was listed as 5.5-point faves at the time of writing, with an OVER/UNDER of 157. This one is a virtual toss-up, and I believe the line should be more in the -3/-3.5 range for Serbia.

The winner of this game will go on to face either Australia or Lithuania in the semifinals.

For outright winner odds, visit our Rio men’s basketball futures page.

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