Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 33- Thursday

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Baskonia – Efes

Another crucial game to the regular season between the competition’s two hottest teams comes on Thursday in Spain as playoffs hopeful TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (18-14) hosts already-qualified Anadolu Efes Istanbul (21-11) in Round 33. Baskonia has won nine of its last 10 games, including four in a row with Tuesday’s 82-97 road win at Panathinaikos OPAP Athens. Another victory on Thursday could conceivably qualify Baskonia for the playoffs, depending on other results. Efes has won 10 of its last 11 games, including by 83-108 at Real Madrid on Tuesday to punch its playoffs ticket. Efes is now playing to try to secure home-court advantage in the series, which could happen with a victory in Vitoria-Gasteiz if one of two other teams, AX Armani Exchange Milan or Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, loses in Round 33.

Baskonia has managed to enter the playoffs zone with a red-hot streak of wins and now plans to stay there to secure a ticket to the next phase. But Efes is arguably even the hotter team and still fighting for home-court advantage in the playoffs. Efes has the second-best offense in the league and also leads every team in average PIR. Baskonia will have to make good use of its proficiency in rebounds to run the floor and use one of its most valuable assets, assists, to try to thwart Efes’s game plan.

After a doubtful start to the season, Efes managed to find its comfort zone and started winning games like crazy until finally securing its presence in the playoffs earlier this week. The Turkish team will now be playing to land home-court advantage in its series, led again by Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin. Baskonia tops the league in steals and has the fourth-best defense (against Efes’s second-best), so the guests’ offense will have to play smart and with patience to try to dismantle Baskonia’s effective wall of defense.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 162.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 01/04/2021, 09:30 CET, subject to change)

Panathinaikos – AX Milano

It will be an already-eliminated team hosting a playoffs team on Thursday when Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (10-20) welcomes AX Armani Exchange Milan (20-12) for Round 33. The Greens have lost six of their last seven games, including one on Tuesday by 82-97 to visiting TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, and look to win their last home game. Milan finally punched its ticket to the next phase with a road win at Zvezda, 72-93 on Tuesday. The Italian team sits in fourth place and will fight to retain that spot or move higher in order to have home-court advantage in its forthcoming playoff series.

It’s not the best of times for Panathinaikos. The team is already eliminated and even if top scorer Nemanja Nedovic seems almost recovered from his injury, he still did not play Tuesday. The Greens will look to end the home portion of their season on a high note. Panathinaikos is the EuroLeague’s third-best team under the boards, while Milan is third-worst. Crashing for rebounds and trying to run could be a solid strategy for the hosts as they try to get some easy points in transition. There’s barely a 0.6-point difference in PIR between these teams, so even if the standings might say otherwise, there’s not such a big gap in their overall performances.

  • Nemanja Nedovic has missed the last 8 games but could return.

With its playoffs berth secured, Milan reached its main goal of the regular season and will now concentrate on retaining home-court advantage for that upcoming series. Panathinaikos is a team going through a rough patch, so it could be a good occasion for the guests to hold their ground in the standings while also getting some revenge for the loss they suffered a few months back. Panathinaikos has the third-worst defense in the league, so that should be one of Milan’s main points of attack with its league-high three-point accuracy (42.0%). The Greens are also the worst team in the league from the free throw line, so sending the hosts there often could be a good way out for Milan to ramp up its defense.

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

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (-7.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 01/04/2021, 09:30 CET, subject to change)

Bayern – Zalgiris

FC Bayern Munich’s quest to become the first German club to reach the EuroLeague Playoffs continues with a crucial home game on Thursday against just-eliminated Zalgiris Kaunas. Bayern (19-13) has lost its last two games, including by 68-77 at home on Tuesday to Fenerbahce, 68-77, but still depends on itself to advance to the next phase. To qualify in Round 33, however, Bayern would always need help from other results. Zalgiris (16-16) managed to defeat ALBA at home on Tuesday, 96-86, to snap a four-game losing slide, but the win did not prevent its elimination from the playoffs race.

Bayern suffered an untimely defeat against Fenerbahce this week and will remember its last-second loss in Kaunas as one that needs answering now Bayern still depends on itself, but on paper, Zalgiris is not far behind. In fact, the guests fare a bit better in overall average PIR, so Bayern will have to stay focused. The hosts are the second-best team in the league in steals, so that defensive aggressiveness should come to the surface once more to try to make Zalgiris as uncomfortable as possible. Limiting Grigonis and Nigel Hayes on the wings will probably have to be at the top of the list.

  • Nihad Dedovic has missed the team’s last 8 games.
  • Robin Amaize has missed the last 15 games.

Despite a valiant effort this season and a solid win against ALBA earlier this week, Zalgiris missed the playoffs. Now they face a hungry Bayern that is playing for dear life at home, so it will be no easy task for the guests to try to steal this win. On top of that, Bayern will be looking to get some revenge for losing at the buzzer in Kaunas. Zalgiris must make its better shooting percentages – especially from beyond the arc – a main argument against Bayern if they want to complete a sweep of the German side.

  • Arturas Milaknis has missed the last 7 games.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 155.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 01/04/2021, 09:30 CET, subject to change)

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Crvena Zvezda – Maccabi

Two already-eliminated teams will be playing for pride on Thursday when Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (9-23) hosts Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (13-17) for Round 33. Zvezda lost its last two games, including one on Tuesday against Milan, 72-93, which allowed the Italian team to advance to the playoffs. On the other side, Maccabi has won its last two encounters, including the last in overtime against leader FC Barcelona, 99-94.

Zvezda is still struggling with some sidelined players, but will look to try to finish the home portion of its EuroLeague season on a high note so as to face the rest of the domestic campaign with confidence. The hosts have the worst offense and two-point shooting percentage in the EuroLeague. Trying to find better options in offense and securing those shots should be a priority for Zvezda. As Maccabi proved against Barcelona, it will come to Belgrade to fight for a win and finish with the best record possible.

  • Quino Colom has missed the last 9 games.

Maccabi had a strange season. It’s been eliminated from the playoffs early but lost many games by 5 points or less. In fact, it swept league leader Barcelona with two wins, but it could not accomplish its first goal, which was making the playoffs. Now the team travels to Belgrade and on paper it seems to have the upper hand over Zvezda. Maccabi averages a much higher PIR than Zvezda, but it has the league’s third-worst numbers from beyond the arc.

  • Othello Hunter did not play in the last two games.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (-2.5) at 1.95 with bet365
(Price correct at 01/04/2021, 09:30 CET, subject to change)

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