Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 24 – Friday

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Khimki – Crvena Zvezda

Two direct competitors clinging to playoffs hopes face off when Khimki (9-14) hosts Zvezda (10-13) on Friday in a crucial Round 24 showdown for both. Khimki lost its seventh in eight decisions by 80-77 at Maccabi on Wednesday despite leading most of the game. Zvezda ended a four-game losing streak by stopping Panathinaikos 78-73 at home as Kevin Punter scored 24 points.

Khimki misses 18.0 three-pointers on average, a number that has to come down whether by trying fewer or making more. More offensive patience might help Khimki get more than just 15.9 free throw attempts per game, second-lowest in the league, too. But offense is not the big problem. Rather, giving up 12.0 offensive rebounds on average and 55.3% two-point shooting to opponents are both numbers that need to improve if Khimki wants to stay in the playoffs race.

Nine players contributed to Zvezda’s season-high assists total during its earlier victory against Khimki. The hosts give up 87.4 points on average, second-lowest in the EuroLeague, so extending Khimki’s defense in terms of time and spacing should pay dividends again for Zvezda. That and solid defense on the perimeter, where no team shoots more thank Khimki’s 29.0 three-point attempts per game, would be key ingredients if Zvezda is to win on the road.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (-6.5) at 1.86 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/02/2020, 09:05 CET, subject to change)

Fenerbahce – Maccabi

Fenerbahce (11-12) looks to win a fourth game in a row for the first time this season when it hosts injury-ridden Maccabi (15-8) on Friday of Round 24. On Wednesday, Fenerbahce escaped Zenit St Petersburg with a 68-73 victory in which Leo Westermann was decisive by scoring 11 of his 13 points in the last 13 minutes. Maccabi made a similar escape at home to beat Khimki Moscow Region 80-77 with 21 points from Elijah Bryant.

Fenerbahce remains the worst rebounding team in the EuroLeague, with 29.8 per game, while Maccabi ranks second at 36.4. Fenerbahce’s route to victory will have to include minimizing that difference while also taking advantage of Maccabi’s injuries to lock down scorers like Elijah Bryant and Hunter, leaving the visitors with fewer options to put points on the board.

The visitors will likely have to concentrate their efforts to contain Fenerbahce on the perimeter, where Kostas Sloukas, Nando De Colo and Leo Westermann bring a raft of experience to the task of trying to complete Fenerbahce’s comeback to the playoff positions. Maccabi’s top scorer, Scottie Wilbekin, made the trip to Istanbul, and if he plays will be key in giving his team a go-to shooter against a Fenerbahce defense that tends to force late shots on its opponents.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+6.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/02/2020, 09:05 CET, subject to change)

Bayern – Valencia

Bayern welcomes Valencia for the first time in EuroLeague action in a clash between teams looking to quickly bounce back from tough losses 48 hours earlier. Valencia is coming off a heartbreaking 76-77 home loss against FC Barcelona in a game where it let a 15-point fourth-quarter lead slip away. Bayern struggled offensively on Wednesday in a 75-65 road loss at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, which marked its eighth defeat in the last nine games.

To get back on a winning track, Bayern will need to turn to its defense. In the seven games it won this season, Bayern held opponents to an admirable 72.6 points per game. But that number skyrockets to 87.0 points in the team’s 16 losses. Bayern has held opponents to fewer than 80 points in each of its last three games, and it will need to keep showing the same defensive desire and hustle to give its faithful fans another victory.

For Valencia, this game will be more mental than anything else. It will be key for the team to put behind an opportunity lost in the previous game and get off to a good start on a tough road test. Depleted in the backcourt with the absences of second-best scorer Jordan Loyd and team’s assists leader Sam Van Rossom, Valencia will need to rely once again even more to a team effort, something that has characterized it and helped it succeed this season.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 2.30 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/02/2020, 09:05 CET, subject to change)

Panathinaikos – Zenit

Panathinaikos will be looking to extend its home winning streak to four games when it welcomes Zenit St Petersburg for the first time ever. Occupying a playoff position, but on the outside looking in when it comes to the battle for the home-court advantage, Panathinaikos is coming off back-to-back losses, including a Round 23 defeat at Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade where the Greens squandered a double-digit lead in each half. Zenit, on the other hand, comes into the game depleted by injuries, but encouraged by a brave effort in a close 68-73 loss against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. Zenit shares a EuroLeague worst 7-16 record, but more than half of its wins have come on the road.

Panathinaikos has the EuroLeague’s best offense, averaging 88.7 points, and it will need to find its mojo again. Just 48 hours ago, Panathinaikos was held to a season-low 73 points in a loss to Crvena Zvezda. Whether behind its defensive energy, running transition, or finding its touch from three-point range, it will be imperative for Panathinaikos to get its offense rolling again against Zenit.

With a depleted roster and an offense that averages the league’s second-fewest points, 74.5 per game, Zenit must control the rebounds on both ends of the floor. Offensive rebounding, in particular, would help the visitors defend against one of the league’s best transition teams, but also to slow down the tempo and rhythm of this contest.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 167.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/02/2020, 09:05 CET, subject to change)

Barcelona – Milano

Two teams going in opposite directions face each other in a high-profile clash. Barcelona (17-6) is on a four-game winning streak, and in a share of the second place in the standings, coming off an encouraging come-from-behind 1-point road win over Valencia Basket. Milan (11-12), on the other hand, has lost four of its last five games, including being stunned by ALBA Berlin 96-102 at home on Tuesday. Also, Milan has not been victorious as a visitor since late October, having lost eight in a row on the road since then.

Barcelona will have to put pressure on Milan’s perimeter because that’s where majority of Milan’s offensive threat originates, with Sergio Rodriguez and Nemanja Nedovic. Barcelona not only needs to do it to limit their playmaking, but it would also make it tougher for the visitors to get their long-range shooting going. Milan averages just 77.6 points per game, and has not scored more than 82 points on the road this season, but it is coming off a 96-point performance and is more than capable of lighting it up offensively.

With all the worries about facing all of Barcelona’s talents, coach Ettore Messina’s team will have to make sure it takes good care of basketball. Milan has been among the best in the EuroLeague in that segment, but no team forces more turnovers than Barcelona (14.6 per game) and uses those thefts to put points on the scoreboard. Limiting turnovers is one of the prerequisites for Milan to succeed and pull out a win at Palau Blaugrana.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+10.0) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 07/02/2020, 09:05 CET, subject to change)

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