Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 15 – Friday


Euroleague Basketball Predictions

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CSKA Moscow – Zenit

CSKA Moscow (11-3) is on a nine-game winning streak, its longest in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague under the new format. Mike James (19.8 ppg., 5.5 apg.), Will Clyburn (14.9 ppg.) and Darrun Hilliard (11.0 ppg.) are its main contributors this season. Zenit St Petersburg (8-4), coming off a comeback win against FC Bayern Munich and boasting a 6-1 road record, is led by Will Thomas (9.1 ppg., 5.7 rpg.), Kevin Pangos (10.5 ppg., 6.7 apg.) and Mateusz Ponitka (7.7 ppg., 4.7 rpg., 3.2 apg.).

Generally speaking, the game tempo is always important when you play against a five-on-five offensive team like Zenit. As such, CSKA has to make the most out of the mobility of its big men, Shengelia and Nikola Milutinov, to run the floor as much as possible. CSKA leads the EuroLeague in points per game (84.3 ppg.) and offensive rebounds (12.2 orpg.). Looking for those second-chance opportunities is critical, because with James and Clyburn, CSKA can already expect plenty of scoring opportunities.

Zenit allows just 72.1 points per game, and sticking to those defensive numbers is critical against the biggest-scoring team in the competition. Liumiting James is a must, and Zenit relies on Billy Baron, Austin Hollins and Pangos to do so. Zenit has a lot of versatile forwards like Ponitka, Thomas and Alex Poythress, and is expected to look for advantages in potential mismatches. Zenit will do well to raise its three-point shooting percentage, too; it ranks 16th overall at 35.3%.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 155.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 18/12/2020, 08:45 CET, subject to change)

Crvena Zvezda – Valencia

Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (4-10) is on a five-game losing streak and hopes to bounce back at home. Former Valencia guard Jordan Loyd (18.6 ppg.) has been its top scorer until now, followed by Johnny O’Bryant (11.9 ppg.) and Corey Walden (11.5 ppg.). Valencia Basket (9-5) won its last two games and wants to add its fourth road victory of the season. Bojan Dubljevic (11.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg.), Klemen Prepelic (11.4 ppg.) and former Zvezda forward Nikola Kalinic (9.4 ppg., 3.4 rpg.) have been its main players so far this season.

Zvezda ranks 15th in scoring this season at 75.4 points per game, mainly because of its poor shooting percentages. Zvezda ranks last in two-point shooting percentage (48.3%) and 12th from beyond the arc (36.3%). On the other hand, Zvezda goes to the foul line often (17.9 free throw attempts per game) with excellent accuracy (84.1%). O’Bryant and Emanuel Terry must be locked in to stop Valencia centers Dubljevic and Mike Tobey. As always, Loyd must be its first option on offense.

Taylor Rochestie’s contract has expired and he is no longer with the club.

Valencia leads the EuroLeague in assists at 20.5 per game. It has a fantastic assist-per-turnover ratio (1.69), which speaks wonders about its flow on offense. That allows Valencia to lead the EuroLeague in two-point shooting percentage at 59.2%. Valencia needs to stop O’Bryant and expects Louis Labeyrie, Derrick Williams and Kalinic to do so. As always, Sam Van Rossom and Guillem Vives must set a high game tempo, looking for Prepelic and opening the floor with its big men, all able to pull the trigger from downtown.

Joan Sastre is sidelined with a partial tear to the internal lateral ligament of his right knee.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 1.68 with bet365
(Price correct at 18/12/2020, 08:45 CET, subject to change)

Bayern – Baskonia

FC Bayern Munich (9-5) returns home after a tough road loss to Zenit in St Petersburg, Russia, that the German powerhouse had led most of the way. Jalen Reynolds (12.6 ppg., 6.7 rpg.), Wade Baldwin (13.5 ppg.) and Paul Zipser (9.4 ppg.) are its main active players at this moment, in the recent absence of Vladimir Lucic. TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (6-7) is seeking a bounce-back win after losing its last two games. Pierria Henry (10.8 ppg., 6.9 apg., 2.1 spg.), Alec Peters (12.1 ppg.) and Luca Vildoza (11.9 ppg.) are its main players this season.

Bayern has some of the best defensive numbers in the competition, keeping opponents to 76.6 points per game and 33.1% three-point shooting. Maintaining those numbers is particularily important against a team with great shooters like Peters, Vildoza and Rokas Giedraitis. Baskonia ranks first in steals (8.2 spg.) with Bayern right behind (8.1 spg.), so the game may very well go down to who puts more on-the-ball pressure on point guards and reads the passing lanes better.

Baskonia is also one of the best defensive teams in the EuroLeague, allowing just 74.9 points per game. It ranks second in offensive rebounds at 11.7 per night. Baskonia has a size advantage in the paint with Youssoupha Fall, Tonye Jekiri and Achille Polonara, and must make the most out of that. Baskonia averages a league-best 37.7 rebounds in wins, but just 31.9 in losses. Being aggressive on the boards, from point guards to centers, is a must if it wants to beat a athletic, hard-nosed team like Bayern.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+2.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 18/12/2020, 08:45 CET, subject to change)

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Olympiacos – Real Madrid

Olympiacos Piraeus (7-6) lost its last two games, both against Spanish teams, and wants to bounce back against another. Hassan Martin (9.3 ppg., 5.5 rpg.), Kostas Sloukas (9.8 ppg., 5.6 apg.) and Shaquielle McKissic (10.0 ppg.) have been the Reds’ main pillars, statistically speaking. Real (9-5) won eight of its last nine games after a 1-4 start. Walter Tavares (11.5 ppg., 7.4 rpg., 1.8 bpg.), Trey Thompkins (11.0 ppg.) and Alberto Abalde (9.6 ppg., 48.7% 3FG) are its main players in this moment.

Olympiacos has been really effective inside the arc, hitting 56.8% of its two-point shots. Having great finishers like McKissic, Martin and Octavius Ellis definitely helps, and getting them involved on offense should give the Reds a plus. Tavares has been on fire lately, and Olympiacos relies on Ellis and Livio Jean-Charles to stop him under the rim and bring him out of the paint to create one-on-one opportunities for Sloukas and McKissic.

Real holds opponents to 52.4% two-point accuracy. Tavares is the main reason for that, not just because of his many shots he blocks, but also those he forces rivals to change. Real is limiting turnovers to just 11.7 and is shooting the ball well in general terms (57.2% 2FG, 81.2% FT). As always, if Real is able to get defensive stops and run the floor, not many teams can slow down Los Blancos in transition. Olympiacos has an undersized frontcourt and Real should take advantage of it by feeding Tavares down low.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (+3.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 18/12/2020, 08:45 CET, subject to change)

Villeurbanne – Khimki

Two teams looked to finish 2020 stronger will clash on Friday of Round 15 when LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (4-9) hosts last-place Khimki Moscow Region (2-12) in their second games of a double-round week. ASVEL stopped Maccabi 84-81 on Wednesday to snap a two-game losing streak. Khimki is currently on a five-game slide, including a loss at Barcelona, 87-74, on Wednesday.

ASVEL comes from an invigorating win over Maccabi that will have its confidence good and high. However, the hosts must not fall for the fact that Khimki holds last place in the standings. The guests score more points, pull more boards and have a higher average PIR, so ASVEL will have to take it step by step and watch out for the many dangers that the Khimki roster can offer.

The quality of Khimki’s roster does not match its place in the standings, so the assumption is that, at some point, this team will start winning. Villeurbanne could be a great place to snap the losing streak, and the numbers say Khimki has options to do just that. However, ASVEL shoots with better accuracy from all ranges, so Khimki will have to increase its defensive aggressiveness to find the easy options on offense that would favor its style.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 1.71 with bet365
(Price correct at 18/12/2020, 08:45 CET, subject to change)

Barcelona – Maccabi

FC Barcelona (11-3) leads the standings and has a 7-1 home record this season. Nikola Mirotic (17.1 ppg.) has been its top scorer until now, followed by Brandon Davies (11.5 ppg.) and Cory Higgins (10.9 ppg.). Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (5-9) comes off a road loss and wants to bounce back right now. Scottie Wilbekin (17.6 ppg.), Othello Hunter (8.5 ppg., 5.3 rpg.) and Elijah Bryant (10.5 ppg., 4.1 rpg.) have been its main players to far in this EuroLeague season.

Barcelona’s defense allows 68.1 points in wins, a number that rises to 83.3 points in losses. It all starts with good defense for head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius. His three main shooters, Higgins (42.4% 3FG), Alex Abrines (46.7% 3FG) and Kyle Kuric (69.2% 3FG), have been really solid this season, and getting them involved opens the floor for Mirotic, Davies and Rolands Smits to play one-on-one. Nick Calathes has a key role as the team’s point guard and main ball distributor. If Calathes is able to run the show, Barcelona has a bigger chance to win.

Maccabi is the best rebounding team in the competition, pulling down 35.9 boards per game. It will need that blue-collar mentality against a team like Barcelona that needs rebounds to get its transition game going. On offense, Maccabi will want to keep running its offense through Wilbekin, who has scored 20 or more points six times this season. On defense, Hunter, Angelo Caloiaro and Omri Casspi should be ready to play physical against Mirotic, as stopping him is one of the biggest keys for the Israeli powerhouse.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+7.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 18/12/2020, 08:45 CET, subject to change)

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