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Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 13 – 12/12/2019

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Obradovic Sloukas

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Khimki – ALBA Berlin

Khimki will try to recapture its early-season winning form when it hosts ALBA Berlin, which has been on a roll recently. Khimki has lost four consecutive games and seen its record slip to 6-6 and the edge of the playoff zone. ALBA has won three of its last five and its most-recent defeat, last week on the road at Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, went to overtime. This will be the first game between these teams in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

Alexey Shved is third in the league in scoring this season with 19.6 points per game, but it is when he is passing more that Khimki is at its best. Shved passes often; he is 10th in the league with 4.9 assists per game. When he has delivered more than 5 assists per game, Khimki is 5-0. When he has less than 5, Khimki is 0-4. Shved is such a difficult player to stop, but perhaps the key for Khimki in this game is Shved getting his teammates involved as much as possible.

ALBA not only leads the league in assists (20.1 apg.), but also in turnovers (14.7). In a game between high-scoring teams, every extra possession can be valuable. ALBA is also second in the EuroLeague in steals (7.4 spg.), so if the team can continue to amass steals and deliver assists while limiting its turnovers, it will be in a good position to claim a valuable road win.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 176.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 12/11/2019, 09:50 CET, could have changed)

Fenerbahce – Anadolu Efes

Both teams arrive at this Istanbul derby in good shape. Efes leads the competition and is on a six-game winning streak. After a 2-7 start, Fenerbahce has won its last three games and is back on track, getting closer and closer to the top half of the standings. Shane Larkin (22.2 ppg.), Vasilije Micic (15.2 ppg.) and Sertac Sanli (11.5 ppg.) have led Efes so far. Nando De Colo (20.5 ppg.) has been Fenerbahce’s top scorer until now, followed by Derrick Williams (11.3 ppg.) and Kostas Sloukas (10.6 ppg.).

Fenerbahce has solved its scoring problems in recent weeks. It is averaging 77.7 points per game, but that number rises to 94.7 on its current three-game winning streak. In those three showdowns, Fenerbahce has managed to get excellent shooting percentages (61.8% 2FG, 52.4% 3FG), so if Coach Zeljko Obradovic’s team keeps finding good shots, it will have a good chance to win. Finding a way to stop Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin, however, is the biggest key for Fenerbahce.

Efes is the second-best scoring team in the competition (86.4 ppg.) mainly because of its excellent shooting percentages; it is averaging 58.8% inside the arc and 37.4% from downtown. Efes ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.633) but has struggled to power the boards since Bryant Dunston was injured. Efes only grabs 9.4 offensive rebounds on average and will need extra aggressiveness under the baskets to steal a road win at Ulker Sports Arena.

Adrien Moerman and Bryant Dunston are still sidelined and won’t play against Fenerbahce.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (-2.5) at 2.00 with bet365
(Price correct at 12/11/2019, 09:50 CET, could have changed)

Crvena Zvezda – Baskonia

Zvezda arrives to this game in its best moment this season as the Serbian powerhouse is on a three-game winning streak that includes victories in Kaunas and Milan. Baskonia needs to bounce back right away after consecutive losses by an average margin of 28.5 points. Billy Baron (11.8 ppg.) has been Zvezda’s top scorer until now, followed by Lorenzo Brown (11.7 ppg.) and Stratos Perperoglou (10.0 ppg.), who is currently injured. Toko Shengelia (18.8 ppg.), Nik Stauskas (9.6 ppg.) and Pierria Henry (7.5 ppg.) have led Baskonia so far.

Zvezda ranks 17th in scoring this season (72.5 ppg.) mainly because it ranks last in two-point shooting percentage (46.6%). Zvezda is not very effective from downtown either (33.2%) but makes up due to its great defensive numbers, allowing 75.3 points on average and forcing opponents to hit just 31.4% of their shots from beyone the arc. Zvezda needs to control the tempo, trust its defense and expect Brown to make the difference in crunch time.

Stratos Perperoglou is still recovering from a knee injury.

Baskonia leads the EuroLeague in offensive rebounds (12.1 orpg.) and that kind of blue-collar mentality will be needed to get a chance to win in the Serbian capital. Baskonia is struggling from beyond the three-point line (32.9%) and faces against a team with great perimeter defense. It has a size advantage in the paint with Youssoupha Fall and Michael Eric, and a difference-maker in Shengelia at power forward, so getting its big men involved will be critical for the visitors.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 2.25 with bet365
(Price correct at 12/11/2019, 09:50 CET, could have changed)

Maccabi – CSKA Moscow

An age-old rivalry will write a new chapter on Thursday when Maccabi hosts CSKA Moscow. It is not quite the matchup fans might have expected before the season as Maccabi comes in without three key players due to injuries – Omri Casspi, Nate Wolters and John DiBartolomeo – the latter two of whom were lost in its last game. Nevertheless, Maccabi remains undefeated at home this season. CSKA seems has already adjusted to life without Final Four MVP Will Clyburn, who may be lost for the season, and matches Maccabi with an 8-4 record, including 4-3 on the road.

This season Maccabi has one of the deepest rosters in club history and its current injury crisis is proving why management built such a deep team. Three of the team’s top four players in assists are out this week, so the rest of the team will be charged in helping with the playmaking. Guards Elijah Bryant, Yovel Zoosman and Tyler Dorsey will see a bump in minutes and must take advantage of them to keep Maccabi rolling with such a short-handed backcourt rotation.

CSKA leads the league in both three-pointers made (11.8 per game) and three-point accuracy (41.4%). CSKA also leads the league in three-point defense, limiting teams to 31.2%. Coach Itoudis’s three-point attack is not only about his guards; Johannes Voigtmann, Nikita Kurbanov and Andrey Vorontsevich can also light it up from downtown. CSKA’s three-point attack is not like anything Maccabi’s tough defense has faced this season and if CSKA is knocking down its shots, the hosts may not have an answer.

Panathinaikos Olympiakos live stream

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 2.20 with bet365
(Price correct at 12/11/2019, 09:50 CET, could have changed)

Real Madrid – Olympiacos

Both teams arrive to this game with different momentum. Real won its last seven games, the longest active winning streak in the competition. Meanwhile, Olympiacos comes off a tough overtime road loss against archrivals Panathinaikos. Anthony Randolph (12.3 ppg.), Facu Campazzo (11.8 ppg., 6.4 apg.) and Gabriel Deck (8.5 ppg.) have led Real so far. Georgios Printezia (11.0 ppg.) has been Olympiacos’s top scorer until now, followed by Nikola Milutinov (10.8 ppg.) and Vassilis Spanoulis (10.7 ppg.), but the latter has not travelled to Madrid with muscle problems.

Real is one of the best scoring teams in the competition (85.8 ppg.) and ties for second place in assists (19.0 ppg.). At home, Real is doing even better, averaging 92.9 points and 20.9 assists, both league highs. Campazzo, who had 17 assists in less than 24 minutes last week, is the key player, as Real sends its run-and-gun offense through him. Campazzao’s ability to create for others will give Real a significant advantage in this game.

Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes won’t be available against the Reds.

Olympiacos averages 79.1 points this season but scored more than 90 in each of the last three games, winning two of them. Players like Brandon Paul, Augustine Rubit and Wade Baldwin have shown significant improvement after an adjustment period, while Spanoulis (14.3 ppg., 4.7 apg.) has been really effective lately, even if he won’t be available against Real. The Reds will run their offense through Spanoulis and Milutinov, and hopes to use the offensive glass to prevent Real from running the floor as it prefers.

Vassilis Spanoulis has not travelled to Madrid due to muscle problems.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (-11.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 12/11/2019, 09:50 CET, could have changed)

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News Source: Euroleague.net
Basketball tips: Livetipster


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Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 20 – Friday

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CSKA Moscow – Barcelona

It is a big battle atop the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague standings. CSKA Moscow (15-4) is on a six-game home-court winning streak, led by Mike James (20.6 ppg., 6.0 apg.), Nikola Milutinov (9.0 ppg., 8.8 rpg.) and Darrun Hilliard (11.1 ppg.). FC Barcelona (13-6), still without Brandon Davies, Victor Claver and Nikola Mirotic, has won its last two games and looks for its second win in Russia this week. Cory Higgins (11.8 ppg.), Nick Calathes (7.9 ppg., 7.6 apg.) and Kyle Kuric (9.0 ppg., 61.4% 3FG) are leading the team right now.

CSKA had an overwhelming rebounding advantage in its last two wins – 33-60 against AX Armani Exchange Milan and 44-26 against Zalgiris. All CSKA players should keep powering the boards, especially its best rebounders – Milutinov, Johannes Voigtmann and Joel Bolomboy. Stopping former CSKA star Higgins should be one of the keys, and the Russian powerhouse relies on Nikita Kurbanov to do so. CSKA should push the game tempo, as players like James, Hilliard and Shengelia bring out their best in transition.

Will Clyburn is out with an ankle injury. Daniel Hackett has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.

Stopping Milutinov down low should be a priority; he has recorded six double-doubles in the last seven games. With Davies sidelined, Barcelona relies on Artem Pustovyi, Pierre Oriola and Rolands Smits to play strong under the rims. Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius has several options to guard James, but Calathes and Adam Hanga should be the most reliable ones. On offense, Calathes must get his team’s best shooters involved, Alex Abrines and Kyle Kuric, as they would open the floor for everyone else with their shots from downtown.

Brandon Davies has missed Barcelona’s last five games. Nikola Mirotic has missed Barcelona’s last three games.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+4.5) at 1.86 with bet365
(Price correct at 15/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Fenerbahce – Panathinaikos

A Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (9-10) team on the rise will welcome Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (6-12) on Friday for Round 20 in their second game this week. The hosts are currently on a four-game winning streak, including a commanding victory on Wednesday against TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, 96-76. On the other side, the Greens, who have just appointed Oded Kattash as new head coach, also got back on the winning track after three straight losses by triumphing over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne at home, 88-71.

Fenerbahce is still the worst offensive team in the league at 74.6 ppg. but the injection of morale that the flurry of wins has given the team makes them a fearful foe. Coach Kokoskov seems to have found the formula and the hosts are going strong for a playoffs spot. However, Panathinaikos has better numbers almost on all fronts and it’s also a team looking to find its identity, as the Kattash signing shows, so expect a hard-fought battle.

Ali Muhammed has missed Fenerbahce’s last four games.

The Greens arrive in Istanbul with a new coach and having lost three of their last four games. However, the last one was a success and the team is still the fifth-best in the league under the boards, so that should be a weapon to help launch fast transitions. On defense, the Greens will have to watch out for Fenerbahce snipers (37.9% from the arc), but most of all, be ready to match the intensity and confidence that Fener will show after so many consecutive wins.

Ioannis Papapetrou did not play in Round 19.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (-8.0) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 15/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Zenit – Zelgiris

Zenit St Petersburg (11-6) looks to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season when it hosts Zalgiris Kaunas. Kevin Pangos (11.9 ppg., 6.4 apg.), Arturas Gudaitis (10.3 ppg.) and Will Thomas (8.5 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) lead Coach Xavi Pascual’s team. Zalgiris Kaunas (11-8) comes off a road loss in Moscow that snapped a six-game winning streak. Marius Grigonis (15.2 ppg.), Joffrey Lauvergne (11.0 ppg.) and Nigel Hayes (9.7 ppg.) have been its top scorers so far this season.

Zenit has some of the best defensive numbers in the competition, allowing a league-low 73.4 points and allowing opponents to make just 52.7% of its two-point shots and 35.8% from downtown. Contesting deep shots should be important against Zalgiris, the best three-point shooting team in the EuroLeague (43.0%). On offense, Zenit should make the most of Gudaitis’s greta form, running his offense through him and Pangos.

Alex Poythress has been unavailable for Zenit’s last two games.

Stopping Pangos is a priority for anyone playing against Zenit as its other pure point guard, Dmitriy Khvostov, is sidelined. Zalgiris relies on Thomas Walkup to play intense on-the-ball defense against him. The Lithuanian champs have enough shooters – Grigonis, Hayes, Arturas Milaknis, Lukas Lekavicius – to dynamite any game from beyond the three-point time. Martinas Geben and Lauvergne should be ready to stop Gudaitis around the basket. Controlling the defensive boards should be important to get easy points in transition.

Zalgiris swingman Patricio Garino remains out of action after a knee operation. Steve Vasturia will be sidelined at least until mid-February with a knee injury.

basketball prediction Tip: Zalgiris Over 74.5 at 1.83 with bet365
(Price correct at 15/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

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Bayern – Real Madrid

A virtual tie for third place in the standings will be broken on Friday in Round 21, when FC Bayern Munich (12-7) hosts Real Madrid (12-6). Bayern has won two of its last three games, including an 82-80 decision at home against Zenit St Petersburg on Wednesday. Real saw a blizzard postpone its own game that night game against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, so its most recent result was a home loss to AX Armani Exchange Milan, 76-80, in Round 18.

Bayern faces the third-best offense in the league, although Real will be missing Sergio Llull aside from Randolph. It can be a great opportunity for the hosts to return the favor from Round 6. However, Los Blancos still lead the league in average PIR and they will be a bit more rested having skipped Wednesday’s game. If Lucic can keep the pace he set against Zenit, his added dimension will be needed to put the breaks on a Real team that won six in a row before last week.

Robin Amaize, Nihad Dedovic and Zan Mark Sisko have missed the last two games.

Real has better numbers in general than Bayern, and after not playing earlier this week, should be a bit more rested. However, Bayern has not let much rattle it so far this season. Real will have to watch for the aggressive defense of the hosts, who are second in the league in steals (7.9 spg.). Pay attention also to the battle in the paint by two of the hottest centers in the competition, Jalen Reynolds of Bayern and Walter Tavares of Real. This rematch with a step in the standings at stake will be quite a battle as teams start battling tooth and nail for playoffs position.

Anthony Randolph is out with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Sergio Llull and Rudy Fernandez were both sidelined in Round 18.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 156.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 15/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Olympiacos – Villeurbanne

Olympiacos will look to extend its three-game winning streak when it welcomes ASVEL to Peace and Friendship Stadium for the first of two games in five days between these teams. ASVEL, which will try to end its four-game losing streak, is set to host their rescheduled Round 10 game on Tuesday. ASVEL is on a three-day trip to Greece where it suffered an 88-71 loss against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Wednesday night, and now takes on a confident Olympiacos side coming off a dramatic 87-89 road win at Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv.

Olympiacos has found its offensive click. No team is scoring more points over the last three games than Olympiacos with 92.7 per game, however, Coach Georgios Bartzokas’s team certainly has room for improvement. The Reds would certainly like to move the ball a little better, averaging just 17.0 assists during that same stretch, which is in the bottom half in the league. If Olympiacos improves its ball movement, it will be hard to stop.

Kostas Papanikolaou has missed Olympiacos’s last three games.

ASVEL has been outrebounded by an average margin of 7.3 rebounds over the last three games. And while it suggests the team has been struggling to control the boards, the rebounding deficit has also been a product of the team making just 45.6% of its two-point shots over that span. It will be important for ASVEL to establish an inside game to have a better shot at an upset in Piraeus.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+8.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 15/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Valencia – Crvena Zvezda

The final game of Round 20 will see Valencia Basket host Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. Valencia (10-8) is on a three-game losing streak for the first time this season and hopes to bounce back at La Fonteta. Klemen Prepelic (11.2 ppg.), Nikola Kalinic (9.7 ppg.) and Louis Labeyrie (8.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg.) are leading the team right now with Bojan Dubljevic sidelined. Zvezda (6-12) looks for its first road win since mid-November. Corey Walden (11.1 ppg.), Johnny O’Bryant (12.1 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) and Quino Colom (9.3 ppg.) lead the attack with Jordan Loyd out.

Valencia has been outrebounded in each of its last three games, so being more aggressive under the rims should be one of the aspects to focus on. Without Dubljevic, everyone must help on the boards, but especially Tobey, Labeyrie and Derrick Williams. Preventing Colom from generating good options off pick-and-roll situations is also important for Valencia, as well as speeding up the game tempo and getting its best shooters involved. If Van Rossom, Fernando San Emeterio and especially Prepelic find good shots, it should be easier for the hosts.

Bojan Dubljevic has missed Valencia’s last two games. Vanja Marinkovic has missed Valencia’s last 14 games due to a shoulder injury.

Zvezda is allowing 78.0 points on average per game, but that number went down to 72.0 in the last two games. Defense and concentration come first for Coach Dejan Radonjic and his team has been more disciplined lately, using non-shooting balls to avoid easy points. Zvezda needs to improve its shooting percentages (49.1% 2FG, 36.5% 3FG) and has talented scorers such as O’Bryant, Corey Walden and Dejan Davidovac. The additions of experienced players like Colom and Landry Nnoko only help Zvezda raise those numbers.

Langston Hall and Marko Simonovic have missed the last two games with an injury. Jordan Loyd has missed Zvezda’s last three games with an illness.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 157.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 15/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

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Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 20 – Thursday

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Efes – Khimki

Two teams going in different directions will square off on Thursday when Anadolu Efes Istanbul (10-9) welcomes Khimki Moscow Region (2-17) for Round 20 in their second game this week. Efes has won three of its previous four games, including the last against ALBA, 84-76, on Tuesday. Khimki is on a 10-game downward spiral, including a 75-87 home loss to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Efes seems to be finding its rhythm in recent weeks and now sits one spot shy of playoffs territory. Khimki has the worst defense in the league, allowing opponents 89.9 points per game, and the hosts will try to take advantage of that. On paper, however, these teams are not that far from each other. Of course, Khimki is loaded with offensive weapons, so despite the result from their previous encounter this season, Efes will be wise to pay attention to all the details to stay on its positive streak.

Efes signed Dzenan Musa, who is set to make his season debut.

Khimki is in danger of falling out of the race for the playoff spots, and the negative wave the team is riding does not help. But this team is loaded with quality players who can win any game at any time, and the tide could turn with just a single victory. The numbers say that Efes and Khimki are not that far apart, so the guests will have to play with heart in Istanbul and show a collective effort, especially on defense, that can bring them back to the winning path.

Janis Timma and Jonas Jerebko have missed the last three games. Greg Monroe has not played since Round 13.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 172.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 14/01/2010, 11:45 CET, subject to change)

ALBA Berlin – AX Milano

Two teams experiencing different dynamics will square off on Thursday when ALBA Berlin (7-12) hosts AX Armani Exchange Milan (11-7) in their second game each of this double-round week. ALBA, missing coach Aito Garcia Reneses due to COVID and several players with injuries, has lost five of its last six games, including the last one at Anadolu Efes, 84-76. Milan won its second game in a row with a strong home victory against Valencia, 95-80.

ALBA is juggling injuries and has not been able to field a stable lineup lately. Now, it faces one of the strongest rosters in the league. Milan comes off two prestige victories, at Real Madrid and against Valencia, and will seek its first three-game winning streak of the season in Berlin. ALBA has to capitalize on the offensive flow that ranks it second overall in assists while also looking for better options from beyond the arc against a Milan team that is second-most accurate in the league (42.0%) from that range.

Luke Sikma and Niels Giffey are expected to miss several weeks with injuries. Head Coach Aito Garcia Reneses has missed ALBA’s last four games after testing positive for COVID-19. Marcus Eriksson has missed ALBA’s last 10 games.

Milan is on a roll and will look to stay that way in Berlin. For starters, the guests average 5 points more per game and are also playing the third-weakest defense in the league. However, Milan remains at the bottom of the rebounds rankings (29.9 rpg.) and will have to secure those boards to avoid ALBA from running and scoring easily.

Vladimir Micov has missed the team’s last four games. Shavon Shields has not played the last two games due to a thigh injury.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 162.5 at 1.95 with bet365
(Price correct at 14/01/2010, 11:45 CET, subject to change)

Maccabi – Baskonia

Two teams coming off losses earlier will look to end this double-round week on a high note as Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (8-11) welcomes TS Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (9-10) to Israel on Thursday. Maccabi fell to Olympiacos at home in overtime on Tuesday, 87-89, while Baskonia suffered a heavy loss at Fenerbahce, 96-76.

These teams are practically even points scored and allowed, so inspiration will be the factor to watch in this game. Maccabi will have to limit the offensive flow of the guests, who live off their 19.5 assists per game. In overall figures, Maccabi’s average PIR is almost 10 points below Baskonia’s. The hosts could have an edge under the boards, but this game will be as close as they come.

After defeating CSKA last week, Baskonia will look to get back on the right track with another prestige win in Tel Aviv. Both teams compare closely in both stats and records, so expect a close game in which every detail could matter. Maccabi shoots a bit better from the stripe, but Baskonia shows better numbers from the field. The biggest edge the guests have over Maccabi is in assists, so if Baskonia can execute its trademark aggressive defense, it could translate into transition points and the desired win.

basketball prediction Tip: Maccabi Over 80.5 at 1.80 with bet365
(Price correct at 14/01/2010, 11:45 CET, subject to change)

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Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 19 – Wednesday

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CSKA Moscow – Zalgiris

The next chapter in one of basketball’s oldest rivalries will be written this week when CSKA Moscow hosts Zalgiris Kaunas. But this game is about much more than history. League-leading CSKA (14-4) will look to bounce back from last week’s loss at TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, which snapped a 12-game winning streak. Zalgiris has won six games in a row to improve its record to 11-7 and a share of fifth place in the standings. Zalgiris is 6-2 on the road this season, but has lost all 12 of its games against CSKA in Moscow this century.

Mike James (20.5 ppg.) leads the league in scoring and CSKA is 6-1 when he’s scored more than 20 points in a game. James will need to carry a big load with Daniel Hackett and Will Clyburn sidelined. However, CSKA will need another player to step up and Toko Shengelia (9.5 rpg.) could be the answer. CSKA is 6-2 this season when he’s scored in double figures.

Will Clyburn is out with an ankle injury. Daniel Hackett’s participation is in doubt with an ankle injury.

CSKA leads the league in rebounding with 37.1 per game, but Zalgiris has allowed the fewest boards in the league this season (28.8 rpg.). The battle on the glass could prove pivotal. If Zalgiris is able to contain Milutinov and deny CSKA’s top-ranked offense second-chance opportunities, the Lithuanian champs will boost their chances of grabbing another key road win.

Zalgiris swingman Patricio Garino remains out of action after a knee operation. Steve Vasturia will be sidelined at least until mid-February with a knee injury.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+8.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 13/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Bayern – Zenit

FC Bayern Munich will put its fantastic home record on the line against the team with the most road wins, Zenit St Petersburg, when they meet on Wednesday. Bayern (11-7) has won its last four home games and is 8-2 in Germany this season. However, it has stagnated recently with losses in three of its last five games (all on the road). Zenit (11-5) has won three straight games and is 8-2 on the road this season, with its only losses coming at CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid. With these teams ranked fourth and fifth in the standings, an intense showdown is a certainty.

Bayern can find success in a slow, physical game as it leads the league in fouls committed (23.6 per game) and has made the third-most free throws (14.7 per game) this season. In a game that could be close, offensive rebounds could prove decisive and Bayern has allowed the third-most (10.3) and Zenit the second-fewest (9.0). If Bayern’s bigs can reverse that trend and earn a few more second-chance points against the vaunted Zenit defense, it could make a major impact on the game.

Vladimir Lucic has missed the last six games with a back injury.

Robin Amaize, Nihad Dedovic and Zan Mark Sisko missed Bayern’s Round 18 game.

Zenit’s greatest weapon has been its defense; the team allows the fewest points (72.9 ppg.) and second-fewest rebounds (29.3 rpg.) and assists (15.0 apg.) in the league. Bayern is a team that likes to go inside – it has made the most two-pointers (21.4 per game) and fewest threes (7.3 per game) this season. Bayern also leads the league with 8.0 steals per game. Stopping the likes of Jalen Reynolds, James Gist and Baldwin from scoring inside and denying Bayern easy baskets off turnovers are crucial to Zenit’s chances in Munich.

Alex Poythress was unavailable for Zenit’s Round 18 game.

basketball prediction Tip: Winning margin 3-way ‘Any other result’ (1-5p. each way) at 2.60 with bet365
(Price correct at 13/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Panathinaikos – Villeurbanne

Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (5-12), which is on a three-game losing streak, will look for its fourth home win of the season when it hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, which has also lost its last three games. Nemanja Nedovic (16.0 ppg.) has been Panathinaikos’s top scorer until now, followed by Ioannis Papapetrou (13.1 ppg.) and Georgios Papagiannis (9.2 ppg.). ASVEL (5-12) is on a five-game road losing streak. Norris Cole (12.6 ppg.), David Lighty (10.6 ppg.) and Guerschon Yabusele (10.2 ppg.) lead the team’s attack.

Panathinaikos is struggling from beyond the arc this season, having made just 35.8% of its three-point shots. Getting its best shooters – Nedovic, Marcus Foster and Shelvin Mack – involved should be important to raise those numbers, as it would also create more space for Papagiannis and Mitoglou to play close to the basket. As always, Panathinaikos needs to get Papapetrou involved on offense; his experience and character is needed to put an end to the Greens’ current losing streak.

ASVEL has allowed over 80 points in each of its last five games and comes off a 22-point home loss in which Anadolu Efes Istanbul scored 102. Improving its defense should be the first step to be more competitive, as well as powering the offensive glass. ASVEL ranks 15th in offensive rebounds at just 8.7 per game despite hitting 52.0% of its two-point shots (13th overall). Getting Fall back should help, but ASVEL needs Yabusele, Ismael Bako and its entire frontcourt to be more active under the rims.

basketball prediction Tip: Panathinaikos Over 80.5 at 1.80 with bet365
(Price correct at 13/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Real Madrid – Crvena Zvezda

Real Madrid (12-6) comes off a home loss against AX Armani Exchange Milan which snapped a six-game winning streak. Los Blancos will try to get a new run going when they host Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. Edy Tavares (11.6 ppg., 7.8 rpg., 2.0 bpg.), Trey Thompkins (11.1 ppg., 4.1 rpg.) and Alberto Abalde (8.2 ppg.) are Real’s pillars right now. Zvezda (6-12) looks for its first road win since mid-November. Corey Walden (11.1 ppg.), Johnny O’Bryant (12.1 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) and Quino Colom (9.3 ppg.) lead the attack with Jordan Loyd still sidelined.

Real ranks third in two-point shooting percentage (56.3%) but is 12th from downtown (37.0%) despite leading the EuroLeague in three-point shots attempted at 29.2 per game. Its ball circulation is excellent, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.56, so it needs to put the ball in the hands of its best shooters – Thompkins, Fabien Causeur and Jaycee Carroll, who has been in great shape recently. Feeding Tavares down low should be critical for easy points in the paint and off double-team situations.

Sergio Llull and Rudy Fernandez were both sidelined in Round 18.

Zvezda is allowing 78.0 points on average, but that number went down to 72.0 in the last two games. Defense and concentration come first for Coach Dejan Radonjic and his team has been more disciplined lately, using non-shooting balls to avoid easy points. Zvezda needs to improve its shooting percentages (49.1% 2FG, 36.5% 3FG) and has talented scorers such as O’Bryant, Walden and Dejan Davidovac. Adding experienced players like Colom and Landry Nnoko can only help Zvezda raise those numbers.

Langston Hall and Marko Simonovic have missed the last two games with an injury. Jordan Loyd has missed Zvezda’s last three games with an illness.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (-11.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 13/01/2010, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

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News Source: Euroleague.net

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