Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 18 – Thursday

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Crvena Zvezda – Fenerbahce

Two teams coming off wins will look to keep the momentum going in their first games of 2021 when Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Thursday. Zvezda (6-11) has now won back-to-back home games after holding off Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in Coach Dejan Radonjic’s first game back on the team’s bench. Fenerbahce (7-10) has also won its last two home games, but dropped its last two on the road and Coach Igor Kokoskov’s men are 3-6 on the road this season.

Zvezda is last in the EuroLeague in two-point shooting (49.5%) while having more of its shots blocked than all but one team (3.2 bpg.) and allowing opponents to make 55.0% of twos, which is third best. Stronger play in the paint from forwards Marko Jagodic-Kuridza and Johnny O’Bryant alongside centers Ognjen Kuzmic and Duop Reath could be the key against Fenerbahce.

Langston Hall missed Round 17 with an injury and is not expected to play this week. Jordan Loyd missed Zvezda’s Round 16 and 17 games with an illness and is not expected to return this week. Marko Jagodic Kuridza missed practice time this week with a stomach virus. Marko Simonovic is not available for the game.

Rebounding has been an issue for Fenerbahce this season; it ranks third from the bottom with 30.7 rebounds per game and has allowed more offensive rebounds (11.2) than any other team in the league. That combined with 14.7 turnovers per game – fifth-most in the competition – gives Fenerbahce two major areas to improve, especially considering that Zvezda is among the leaders in offensive rebounds (10.3). Jan Vesely, Danilo Bartell and Ahmet Duverioglu are among the players who Coach Kokoskov needs to lock up the glass on Thursday.

Ali Muhammed has missed Fenerbahce’s last two games.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (-3.5) at 1.95 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/01/2010, 10:45 CET, subject to change)

ALBA Berlin – Maccabi

ALBA Berlin hopes to overcome injuries and absences once again when it welcomes Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Thursday for its second game in 48 hours. ALBA is coming off a 95-91 win over TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in a rescheduled Round 5 game, and now takes on Maccabi in a clash of two 7-10 teams looking to catch up in the race for playoff spots. The visitors are looking to get back on track after a home loss to Zenit St Petersburg last week.

ALBA does a great job of moving the ball, ranking second this season with 19.9 assists per game, but it has not been as stellar with its shooting accuracy, making just 51.3% of its two-pointers and 35.8% for three this season. On Tuesday, ALBA shot a season-high 55.2% from long range and also converted 57.5% of its two-point tries. Repeating such high shooting accuracy would put ALBA in a good position to finally come away with a home victory against Maccabi.

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

Maccabi is the best team in the EuroLeague when it comes to defensive rebounding (24.5 drpg.), and the team will need to keep to that standard in this contest. But Maccabi needs to use its size and muscle inside on the offensive end, too. ALBA allows league-high 57.5% rate to opponents on two-point shots, which is a segment of the game Maccabi needs to exploit better if it wants to win on the road and win consistently.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 157.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/01/2010, 10:45 CET, subject to change)

Panathinaikos – Zenit

Panathinaikos OPAP Athens returns home after losing two games on the road looking to change things against a Zenit St Petersburg side that has won two in a row. Panathinaikos (5-11) is 3-5 on its home court this season and will be facing a few Zenit guys who are comfortable at OAKA in Coach Xavi Pascual and sharpshooter K.C. Rivers. What’s more, Zenit (10-5) has a remarkable 7-2 record on the road this season.

Zenit boasts the stingiest defense in the competition, allowing a league-low 72.6 points per game. Against such a team, the Greens cannot afford to leave any points on the table. This season, Panathinaikos is last in free-throw accuracy (74.3%) and third-from-last in three-point shooting (35.5%). Maximizing every possession and getting more good looks – and free throws – to fall than usual is imperative this week.

The excellence Zenit has displayed on the offensive end has allowed the team to continue winning despite making the fewest two-pointers in the league (17.7 per game). Part of that is by design since Zenit likes to slow the pace. However, considering Zenit makes 55.9% of its two-pointers, challenging Papagiannis, Ioannis Papapetrou and Dinos Mitoglou in the paint and wearing down the Greens’ frontline could bear fruits in Athens.

basketball prediction Tip: Panathinaikos Over 75.5 at 1.80 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/01/2010, 10:45 CET, subject to change)

Barcelona – Valencia

Two powers from the Spanish league will lock horns on Thursday when FC Barcelona hosts Valencia Basket. Both clubs are ranked high in the standings, but looking to shake off their recent doldrums. Barcelona has lost three consecutive games to drop to a share of third place at 11-6. Valencia has lost two of its last three to slip to a tie for sixth at 10-7. Barcelona boasts a 7-2 record at home this season and Valencia is 4-4 on the road.

It will be offense vs. defense in the showdown as Valencia is third in the league in points scored (81.2 ppg.) and Barcelona has allowed the second-fewest (73.6 ppg.). With Nick Calathes running the attack, Barcelona will never pass up a chance for an easy bucket in transition, however, the hosts would be wise to also slow the pace and play at their comfortable tempo, which Valencia is not accustomed to.

Brandon Davies has missed Barcelona’s last three games. Nikola Mirotic missed Barcelona’s Round 17 game.

Valencia is not among the better rebounding teams in the competition and will have its hands full against Barcelona’s frontline, which has allowed the third-fewest rebounds per game (29.6 rpg.), while claiming the third-most defensive boards (24.0). Valencia getting pushed around on the glass would also stop the visitors from running much in the transition game. Mike Tobey, Derrick Williams and Nikola Kalinic must all be at their best to help Valencia make an impact on this front.

Vanja Marinkovic has missed Valencia’s last 12 games due to a shoulder injury.

basketball prediction Tip: Valencia – Barcelona (HT/FT) at 6.00 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/01/2010, 10:45 CET, subject to change)

Baskonia- CSKA Moscow

The EuroLeague’s hottest team entering 2021, CSKA (14-3) visits the team from whom no fewer than four of its top players have spent time in the past, Baskonia (8-9). CSKA is on a blistering 12-game winning streak, while Baskonia tries to recover from a last-minute loss at ALBA Berlin just 48 hours before this game tips off. CSKA will miss point guard Daniel Hackett and forward Will Clyburn, who both have ankle injuries.

It’s fair to say that the hosts need a committee of players to step up if they wish to halt CSKA’s streak. More specifically, the guard combo of Pierria Henry and Luca Vildoza have to put the brakes on James and Hilliard; forwards Alec Peters and Rokas Giedraitis need to take advantage of Clyburn’s absence; and perhaps most of all, centers Youssoupha Fall, Tonye Jekiri and Achille Polonara must somehow limit December MVP Nikita Milutinov’s dominance inside a week after he shattered the EuroLeague’s long-time offensive rebounds mark with 16. A balanced effort that wins two of those three battles in the backcourt, wings and middle is Baskonia’s best chance.

Without Hackett to run the offense and play on-the-ball defense, CSKA will need first to take care of the ball. Baskonia’s Henry is the league leader in steals and CSKA suffered earlier in the season before correcting turnover problems. Voigtmann, Shengelia and Joel Bolomboy will be expected to balance the visitors’ scoring with Clyburn out, while at the same time taking advantage of Baskonia’s expected defensive focus on Milutinov and James. Expect Hilliard to test Baskonia’s wing defenders. CSKA’s league-leading offense, remember, dishes the second-lowest number of assists, which means that it has dominated one-on-one situations. Until an opponent can change that dynamic, CSKA will have the confidence to keep winning.

Will Clyburn is out with an ankle injury. Hackett is also sidelined.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 at 3.00 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/01/2010, 10:45 CET, subject to change)

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