Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 31 – Friday

Spanoulis Olympiacos

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Khimki – Zenit

Khimki Moscow Region (3-26) is out of the playoff race but looks to finish the season in style behind Jordan Mickey (14.6 ppg., 5.6 rpg.), Errick McCollum (11.1 ppg.) and Sergey Karasev (4.7 ppg.). Zenit St Petersburg (16-13) needs to keep adding wins to remain in the playoff zone. Kevin Pangos (12.6 ppg., 6.4 apg.), Arturas Gudaitis (10.0 ppg.) and Mateusz Ponitka (8.3 ppg., 5.0 rpg., 3.2 apg.) are leading Zenit so far this season.

Khimki has a lot of talent on offense, with McCollum and Mickey posting strong numbers and Karasev eager to prove his value against his former team. Khimki has been making efforts to improve its defense. It has allowed 90.4 points on 44.0% three-point shooting and 10.1 offensive rebounds per game. Against Valencia, however, Khimki allowed 77 points on 30.4% three-pointers and 7 offensive boards. If Khimki remains effective on defense, its chances to beat Zenit again should be higher.

  • Devin Booker has missed the last nine games.
  • Stefan Jovic has not played in the last eight games.
  • Janis Timma has not played in the last five games.
  • Alexey Shved did not play in the last two games.

Zenit has a deeper, more experienced roster, and that should allow Coach Xavi Pascual’s team to play with high rhythm on defense for 40 minutes. Zenit has allowed 70.4 points in wins and 81.5 in losses, so everyone on the team should know it all starts with defense. Zenit allows a league-low 7.9 offensive rebounds per game. If Zenit is able to box out and get its best shooters, Hollins and Baron, involved and with good spacing, it should generate double-team situations that lead to many advantages on offense.

basketball prediction Tip: Zenit Under 77.5 at 1.80 with bet365
( Euroleague predictions with correct price at 26/03/2021, 08:40 CET. Odds subject to change )

Baskonia – Milano

It will be another battle with playoff implications on Friday when TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (16-14) welcomes AX Armani Exchange Milan (19-11) in Round 31. The hosts are sitting in ninth place and having won seven of their last games, the last one at Zenit St Petersburg, 75-79, in their final push for the top eight spots. On the other side, Milan could qualify for the playoffs as early as this week if several things come to pass, but all of them require a win combined with scenarios involving other games. Milan comes off a home loss to FC Barcelona, 56-72, last week.

Baskonia is making a hard push for the playoffs, so the news that big man Tonye Jekiri will miss at least six weeks with knee injury is as untimely as they come. The hosts will have to watch out for Milan’s snipers, as the team boasts a league-best 41.8% from beyond the arc. However, Baskonia has the second-best numbers in the league regarding overall PIR, which means that it does things rather well. Heart will play an important part in Baskonia’s final attempts to not lose track of the top eight teams in the standings, starting with Milan, one of the strongest teams this season.

Milan can almost touch a playoff ticket with its fingertips. A win could mathematically advance the Italian team. It all depends on how that win is combined with other results, but it’s safe to say that Milan will go into the game knowing that half the job is mostly done. However, Baskonia pursues the same goal and the Spanish team is on a roll lately. The hosts have many weapons spread all over the court, including the fourth-best defense in the league. It will be a tough battle for both sides with a big prize at the end of the road.

  • Malcolm Delaney has missed the last four games and is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks after undergoing an arthroscopic cleaning of his left knee.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 154.5 at 1.90 with bet365
( Euroleague predictions with correct price at 26/03/2021, 08:40 CET. Odds subject to change )

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Olympiacos – Fenerbahce

It will be a hard-fought battle with the playoffs in mind on Friday when Olympiacos Piraeus (14-16) hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (18-12) in Round 31. A loss could have fatal implications for the Reds, so they will have to give it all to get a win and hope for the same result in the coming weeks. On the other hand, Fenerbahce currently sits in sixth place. A win would not guarantee anything yet for Coach Kokoskov’s team, but it would definitely be a big step forward. The hosts are currently on a three-game winning streak, the last one against ALBA in Berlin, 80-84. Fenerbahce had a couple of hiccups after its long winning streak, but last week won again against Zalgiris, 84-61.

It’s probably one of the last opportunities – if not the last – for Olympiacos to retain realistic chances to advance. Looking through the numbers, both teams aren’t far apart. For instance, the Reds have the 10th best offense in the league, Fener has the ninth. Olympiacos is fifth in average combined PIR, Fener is seventh. Details, talent and experience will be key in such a close contest with that much at stake. If anything, the Reds will have to pay attention to Fenerbahce’s snipers and, in turn, try to get more open shots from long-range themselves to try to balance things out even a little more.

  • Kostas Papanikolaou has missed Olympiacos’s last 15 games.
  • Hassan Martin is sidelined with a knee injury.

Fenerbahce cannot qualify this week, but a loss could become a big problem in such a tight race, especially against Olympiacos, a team that has a lot to gain. The Reds have faltered a bit this season, but seem to have found their rhythm when it mattered most, so the guests will have to watch the duo of Sasha Vezenkov and Shaquielle McKissic close as they seem to be the main catalysts of the late Olympiacos resurgence.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 at 2.45 with bet365
( Euroleague predictions with correct price at 26/03/2021, 08:40 CET. Odds subject to change )

Barcelona – ALBA Berlin

Regular season leader FC Barcelona (22-8) welcomes already-eliminated ALBA Berlin (11-19) for Round 31 on Friday. A win would clinch home-court advantage in the playoffs for Barca, which could also get the same result with losses by both AX Armani Exchange Milan and Anadolu Efes Istanbul in other games this week. ALBA will be looking to end the season on a high note, trying to get as many wins as possible. The hosts have won five of their last six games, most recently against Milan on the road, 56-72. On the other hand, ALBA saw a recently started winning streak come to a halt last week against Olympiacos Piraeus, 80-84.

Winning this game against ALBA would give the hosts some more peace of mind towards the end of the regular season. However, ALBA has a distinctive playing style to which all its opponents have to adapt to. Barca proved it could do it in Berlin already, but it would be wise to watch the guests’ offense closely, as they still lead the league with 20.3 assists per game. However, Barcelona has the best defense in the league and ALBA the second-worst, so if the hosts stick to the game plan, things look good on paper for them.

Already out of the playoff race, ALBA will look to keep growing as a team and maybe play the spoiler part. Injuries have not been kind to the team this season – again – but it has established itself as a name with a distinct style in the league. In front of them this time, the best defensive wall which, on paper, should be the biggest obstacle for the Berlin-based team. However, the visitors will also have to step up behind as Barcelona is the second-best team in the league from beyond the arc. So securing defensive rebounds and then running like there’s no tomorrow to play its game in offense will be ALBA’s major goal in this game.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 160.5 at 1.90 with bet365
( Euroleague predictions with correct price at 26/03/2021, 08:40 CET. Odds subject to change )

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