Euroleague basketball predictions included under each mini game preview.
Round 21 tips off with a clash of titans between 2016 EuroLeague champion CSKA Moscow and 2015 winner Real Madrid. Two hours later, the 2017 finalists, Olympiacos Piraeus and Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul will duel in Greece. On Friday, Khimki Moscow Region point guard Stefan Markovic will welcome his former team, Unicaja Malaga, to the Russian capital.
Khimki Moscow vs Unicaja Malaga
Khimki (11-9) welcomes Unicaja (8-12) for a game with major potential ramifications for the playoffs picture. The Russian team has been wildly unpredictable in recent weeks, especially at home with its last four games resulting in blowout wins by 28 and 18 points and heavy losses by 14 points and 17 points. Attempting to exploit that vulnerability is a Unicaja team full of frustration after losing three of its last five games by just 2 points, all with the outcome decided on the game’s final play. Unicaja is the league’s second-best offensive rebounding team, averaging 12.8 per game, largely thanks to a man who will be on familiar territory: ex-Khimki center James Augustine.
Brose Bamberg vs Panathinaikos
Brose (7-13) will look to give its playoffs ambitions fresh life against a Panathinaikos (13-7) team that has been fraying its fans’ nerves perhaps more than any other team: no less than 10 of the Greens’ games have been settled by 6 points or fewer. Panathinaikos ranks third in the competition in steals with 6.8 per game, while Brose is a long way last in that category with just 4.7 per game. The German team also trails the competition in shots blocked, with just 1.7 rejections per game compared to Panathinaikos’s average of 2.9.
Baskonia vs Crvena Zvezda
Two teams with serious aspirations of pushing towards the top half close the week with a must-win battle in Vitoria. Baskonia (9-11) has won once and lost twice on the final buzzer in the last three weeks, while Zvezda (8-12) will have renewed confidence after ending a three-game losing streak with last week’s win over Olympiacos. Baskonia is the league’s third-best shot-blocking team with an average of 3.4 rejections, but Zvezda often seeks success further away from the rim, attempting the third-highest number of three-point shots in the competition (25.2 per game). Expect maximum intensity in a game with playoffs-like significance.
Euroleague Basketball Tips
CSKA Moscow vs Real Madrid
The week tips off in style as league-leading CSKA (16-4) hosts a Madrid (13-7) team that has won eight of its last nine games and is eager to maintain a place in the top four. CSKA will want revenge after a heavy Round 2 loss in the Spanish capital and has Leo Westermann back from injury to bolster a backcourt also containing ex-Madrid star Sergio Rodriguez. The visitors will look to use the size of in-form Walter Tavares to dominate the paint against another player going up against his old team, Othello Hunter. Los Blancos expect to also welcome former All-EuroLeague big man Anthony Randolph back after more than two months. It’s a meeting between the league’s two highest-scoring teams (CSKA 88.6 points per game; Madrid 84.1 ppg.), so expect fireworks!
Anadolu Efes vs Valencia
A basement battle gives injury-plagued Valencia (7-13) – which lost San Van Rossom in last week’s win over Khimki – another chance to boost its faint playoffs hopes with a trip to face last-placed Efes (5-15). Van Rossom joins fellow point men Antoine Diot and Guillem Vives on the sidelines, but the Spanish team has still managed to win four of its last six games to revive its season. Efes has not lost by more than 5 points at home since Round 4, so Valencia certainly won’t have it easy, and the home team will look to profit from its offensive rebounding abilities (12.6 per game, third-best in the league).
Barcelona vs Olimpia Milan
An early tip-off in Barcelona will see the hosts (7-13) attempt to make a fast start against a Milan team (6-14) that has been offensively potent in recent weeks, scoring at least 80 points in each of its last six games and averaging 89.2 points during that period. Indeed, three of Milan’s last four games have seen at least one team reach triple figures. That will suit Barcelona’s fast-paced offense, which leads the league in assists with an average of 20.9 per game. So everything is pointing towards a high-scoring shoot-out in a game that has to be won to preserve even faint hopes of joining the playoffs race.
Zalgiris vs Maccabi Tel Aviv
After gaining its first road win in six attempts last week, Maccabi (11-9) will now try to double up and join Zalgiris on 12 wins for the season. Zalgiris would like to win by at least 8 points to ensure control of the head-to-head tiebreaker between the teams. Maccabi again showcased its open style by scoring 31 two-pointers – the fifth-highest of the season – in last week’s win at Milan, with many of those coming in fastbreak or transition situations. Zalgiris has won six straight at home and boasts much more accurate shooting than Maccabi across the board, making 55% of two-pointers, 40% of triples and 78.5% of free throws against the Israeli team’s respective figures of 51.2%, 36.6% and 69.7%.
Olympiacos vs Fenerbahce
A hotly-anticipated rematch of last season’s championship game carries huge significance for Olympiacos (13-7), which has dropped down the standings with a run of four consecutive road defeats. But the Reds have still excelled at home with five straight victories in Piraeus, so Fenerbahce (14-6) faces a major challenge to extend its winning run to six games. It is a meeting between the league’s top two defenses, with Fenerbahce allowing 72.5 points per game and Olympiacos only fractionally worse with 73.3 ppg conceded. But Olympiacos must find a way to stop red-hot Brad Wanamaker, the league’s MVP for the last two rounds.
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Euroleague Preview – Final Four 2019
The waiting is nearly over and the big moment will soon be ον. Τηε European basketball’s grandest showcase takes place in Vitoria-Gasteiz this weekend and there will be plenty for betting fans from all over the world. Let’s look ahead to the highlights.
Familiar foes to clash in semifinals
The 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four will have a familiar look with three teams returning from last season’s event. In fact, the winners of the past four EuroLeague crowns will all be in Vitoria-Gasteiz to battle for the trophy at Fernando Buesa Arena. CSKA Moscow will make its eighth straight and record 19th Final Four appearance overall. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul checks in for its fifth consecutive Final Four. Defending champion Real Madrid will play the Final Four for the sixth time in seven seasons. The new face will be Anadolu Efes Istanbul, which crashed the party for its Final Four since 2001.
The two semifinals (Friday 17/5)
Fenerbahce – Anadolu Efes
The 2019 Turkish Airlines… semifinal. The Final Four will get underway with crosstown rivals Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes tipping off their semifinal showdown at Fernando Buesa Arena. The opening game could well unfold as primarily a battle between Efes’s offense and Fenerbahce’s defense.
By both teams reaching this event, Turkey will have two representatives at the Final Four for the first time ever. Fenerbahce and Efes are the winningest teams in Turkish basketball history and have met many times for league and cup titles, but their semifinal in Vitoria-Gasteiz marks their first clash in European competition this deep into a season. This season, Efes bested Fenerbahce 89-83 in Round 4 on the strength of an Adrien Moerman double-double. Fenerbahce scored an 84-66 rout in Round 24 thanks to 17 points from Kostas Sloukas. Already this season they have shared the spoils in Turkish titles; Efes beat Fenerbahce for the preseason Turkish Basketball Presidential Cup and Fenerbahce topped Efes for the Turkish Cup. The teams ranked first (Fenerbahce – 43.4%) and second (Efes – 40.5%) in the EuroLeague in three-point shooting this season.
Ergin Ataman’s team has produced a series of explosive performances throughout the season, scoring 85.4 points per game behind dazzling backcourt play from Vasilije Micic, Shane Larkin, Rodrigue Beaubois and Kruno Simon, who delivered a combined average of more than 40 points per game. Efes loves playing at a fast tempo and keeping the ball moving, but will have a tough task achieving that against a Fenerbahce team which bolstered Zeljko Obradovic’s reputation for defensive excellence by allowing just 74.6 points per game – fewer than any other team – during the regular season.
Fenerbahce is struggling with injuries, with Joffrey Lauvergne and Gigi Datome definitely out while Nikola Kalinic and Jan Vesely are doubtful. But the defensive discipline instilled by Obradovic will remain unchanged regardless of which players are on the floor and Efes will have to work harder than ever to find its rhythm and create good shots.
Fener – Efes prediction
It will be a tough game to bet on because of Fener’s injuries. At the same time, the 2.5 handicap to Efes looks quite fragile. Having said that, I’ll go for the points total, believing that the teams from Istanbul will score more than 152.5 points.
Tip: Over 152.5 points at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 16/05/2019, 12:00 CET)
CSKA Moscow – Real Madrid
The other semifinal will present a familiar sight as reigning champion Real Madrid squares off with CSKA Moscow for the third consecutive Final Four: CSKA won the Third Place Game in Istanbul a couple of years ago before Real prevailed in last season’s semifinal. This season’s meetings were both taken by CSKA, which gained an 88-93 victory in Madrid in November and another narrow win, 82-78, in Round 22 in Moscow.
There is a long and rich history of big games between CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid, including championship games in 1963, 1965 and 1969. Last season, Madrid beat CSKA in the semifinals at the Final Four in Belgrade 92-83 behind 16 points apiece from Luka Doncic and Sergio Llull. This season, CSKA bested Madrid twice in the regular season, winning 88-93 in Round 10 in the Spanish capital behind 24 points from Cory Higgins. In the return leg in Moscow, CSKA claimed an 82-78 triumph thanks to 21 points from Nando De Colo. The teams ranked second (CSKA 86.5 ppg.) and third (Madrid – 85.5 ppg.) in the competition in scoring this season.
Defeating a top-quality team like Real three times in a row is no easy mission, but CSKA’s quest will be helped by one of the hottest performers of the playoffs: Nando De Colo was sensational in the series against KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, netting 28 and 27 points in the decisive road wins in Games 3 and 4, so he’ll certainly feel comfortable returning to Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday.
On the other side of the ball, Real will hope the threat posed by De Colo can be matched by its own superstar leader, Sergio Llull. The 2017 EuroLeague MVP was unable to appear in the playoffs against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens due to injury, before returning for four Spanish League games in the build-up to the big event. But Llull wasn’t at his best in those games, shooting 3-of-18 from three-point range, and the question of whether he can recover his top form could be crucial.
CSKA – Real prediction
Clash of Titans in Vitoria. Real is last year’s winner and maybe with the strongest roster but I have a feeling that this time they will not make it to the Final. Plain win for CSKA is my bet here, I wouldn’t even risk the -1.0 point handicap just to inject the price from 1.90 to 2.00.
Tip: 1 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 16/05/2019, 12:00 CET)
Who will take the MVP crown?
A night after the semifinals, the winner of the competition’s most prestigious individual prize will be announced at the annual awards ceremony, which culminates with the crowning of this season’s MVP. The list of contenders contains two players from Fenerbahce: Kostas Sloukas has earned the first All-EuroLeague nomination of his glittering career, while Jan Vesely topped the performance index rating charts out of all players competing at the Final Four. CSKA’s Will Clyburn also presents a strong case after averaging 13.2 points and 6.9 rebounds – the only player to rank in the top 10 in both of those categories this season.
That trio has been joined in the All-EuroLeague First Team by two players who will not be playing in the Final Four: Panathinaikos backcourt general Nick Calathes smashed his own record for the most assists in a single season (a total of 286, 8.7 per game), while Brandon Davies led Zalgiris Kaunas’s charge into the playoffs with 14.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Whatever the decision, one thing is for sure: with none of the five nominees having won before, we will have a brand-new EuroLeague MVP on Saturday night.
The awards ceremony is just one of the many activities taking part away from Fernando Buesa Arena this week and most of them are open to the public at no expense. There will be plenty to enjoy at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague FanZone, located in the beautiful heart of Vitoria-Gasteiz at three adjacent central squares: Plaza España, Plaza de la Virgen Blanca and Plaza de los Fueros. The fun starts at 1100 local time on Friday morning with a One Team session and Ambassadors Game and continues throughout the weekend with three-on-three games, slam dunk contests, special appearances by players and much more.
Another big attraction for all basketball fans is the chance to watch the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament, which will see the continent’s best eight Under 18 teams battle for the chance to appear in the Final at Fernando Buesa Arena on Sunday. Group games take place at Polideportivo Mendizorrotza in downtown Vitoria-Gasteiz between 900 and 1700 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and entry is free of charge.
Milestones for the champs
So, who will be crowned champion of the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague? We will find out after Sunday’s championship game at Fernando Buesa Arena and whoever comes away with the trophy there will also have some significant milestones to celebrate.
Real Madrid, for starters, is aiming to win back-to-back trophies for the first time in more than half a century, having last done so in 1967 and 1968, while Pablo Laso can become only the seventh coach to win three EuroLeague titles. That list, of course, is led by Zeljko Obradovic and victory on Sunday night would give the Fenerbahce boss his 10th European crown.
Obradovic’s backcourt leader Kostas Sloukas will be hoping to extend his remarkable semifinals record after going 6-0 in the last seven years. Then h will try to become the only active player with four EuroLeague titles. That feat can also be matched by his former Olympiacos teammate Kyle Hines, while Hines or Sloukas could become just the third player to win the competition multiple times with two different teams – only Dino Meneghin (Varese, Milan) and Fausto Bargna (Cantu, Milan) have done that in the past.
Efes, of course, is looking to become European champion for the very first time and it would also be the first EuroLeague title for coach Ergin Ataman and all his players – Bryant Dunston and Vasilije Micic are the only two Efes players to have appeared in a Final Four before: Dunston helped Olympiacos reach the 2015 championship game, and Micic finished in third place with Zalgiris last year.
Who will take the Euroleague?
Our bet: CSKA Moscow to win the Euroleague at 3.20 with bet365
(Price correct at 16/05/2019, 12:00 CET)
Zalgiris – Fenerbahce tips – Play-offs Game 4
Euroleague Basketball Tips
Euro League basketball predictions appear under each mini game preview.
Zalgiris – Fenerbahce
For the first time in this series, Zalgiris faces a do-or-die situation and Fenerbahce is one win away from making it to its fifth consecutive Final Four. Fenerbahce defeated Zalgiris in Game 3 to regain the home-court advantage. It also snapped the Lithuanian champs’ five-game winning streak at home. Every game has been different in this series, but the atmosphere at Zalgirio Arena will be just as extraordinary as in Game 3. Simply one-of-a-kind.
Fenerbahce rolled in Game 1, defeating Zalgiris 76-43 at home behind 16 points from Nikola Kalinic. Fenerbahce won all four quarters and made history; Zalgiris had never scored fewer than 50 points in a EuroLeague game this century. Zalgiris bounced back in Game 2, downing Fenerbahce 80-82 behind 20 points from Edgaras Ulanovas. Zalgiris held off Fenerbahce’s comeback and a close basket by Ulanovas allowed his team to tie the series. In Game 3, Fenerbahce grabbed a 57-66 road win with 17 points from Marko Guduric. Melih Mahmutoglu sealed the win with a big triple in the final minute.
Simply put, Zalgiris has to go back to what worked well in Game 2, in which it hit 70.6% of its two-point shots – the 12th-best mark in playoffs history. In its two losses, Zalgiris was limited to 27 of 66 two-point shots (40.9%). Being effective inside the arc is critical for Zalgiris, as Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius’s team takes fewer three-point shots (16.6 per game) than any other team in the competition. Good ball circulation and getting its frontcourt players involved will be very important for Zalgiris to take the series to Game 5.
Fenerbahce is 10-0 this season when allowing less than 70 points – and 20-1 when allowing up to 75. It all starts with good defense for Fenerbahce. In fact, opponents average 86 points per game when beating the Turkish powerhouse. Fenerbahce leads the competition in lowest three-point shooting allowed (34.7%), but closing the paint and controlling the defensive rebounds will be the biggest key for the guests. Good defense has led to wins of all kind, against all sorts of opponents, so Fenerbahce’s priority will be to be strong when Zalgiris has the ball.
Tip: 1 (+5.0) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 25/04/2019, 09:35 CET)