Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 19 – Wednesday


Euroleague Basketball Predictions

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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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