J9 Predictor Game winner Gytis Juozapavičius
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Gytis the Great - Lithuanian reflections on winning World Cup J9 Predictor Game

KAUNAS (Lithuania) - The country of Lithuania is a hotbed of hoops. Basketball, as the saying goes, is a religion in the Baltic land.

How fitting, then, that a Lithuanian, from Kaunas, one of the great cities of the sport in the world, used his expertise and savvy to win the J9 Prediction Game on the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 website.

Gytis Juozapavičius, who received an official World Cup basketball, can now claim he has one of the most astute hoops minds in the world! Or at least he can brag to family and friends.

And how did he achieve this impressive feat?

"Maybe it was a cocktail of luck and knowledge," he said. "I live in basketball city ... and here, there are a lot of basketball 'experts'. Maybe I am one of them (he smiles)."

But what specifically did he do to get over the hump and beat the multitudes in this game?

"I can say, I really didn't believe in the USA team,"Juozapavičius said. "I was betting against them four or five times and the first time they lost was against my home country, the Lithuania national team.

"I remember it was euphoria all over the country after it. In this game, I earned maybe 300 points with this one match and took the lead.

"Later, I fell from the first position, but didn't stop trying to choose the right underdog teams to bet on. So I bet against USA team again when they played with Germany. I bet against them when they played Canada. They lost both times. I won a big pot of points and returned to the first position until the end."

Conventional wisdom, considering the USA success in international basketball over the years, would suggest that betting against them is a risky strategy.

Yet Juozapavičius followed his instincts, assessed the other teams and monitored the tournament. He clearly made good observations.

He says that before the start of the World Cup, his expectations were not high.

"No, I did not expect to win this game," he said. "I knew that there would be a lot of participants from all the word, but the game seemed interesting, prizes were provided for daily winners, too, so I decided to register and tried it."

 When he looks back at his initial thinking, he had a good approach to the game.

"Firstly I bought some credits to be enough for all extra questions and balls throughout the game,"Juozapavičius said. "Also, it would be naive to hope to collect more points than other participants, always betting on favorites (high level) teams, even using 3x balls. So I tried to choose one or two underdog teams per day and bet on it using 3xballs. And it worked."

As one of the many fans in his country that lives and dies by every bounce of the ball, winning the J9 Prediction Game help soften the blow of Lithuania's Quarter-Final defeat and then tournament ending setback to Latvia.

Juozapavičius also won a bet with his friends that Germany would win the World Cup


"But that's basketball, the ball is round, you cannot know how everything would have happened.

"On the other hand, I was very satisfied with the first victory of Germany in the championship. I really liked their team even before the championship. My friends and I played a game guessing which teams would perform best in the championship and I was the only one who bet on Germany to win and I won that game with a cash prize (he smiles again."