Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 25 – Thursday

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Zenit – ALBA Berlin

Zenit St. Petersburg will play its first game under new head coach Xavi Pascual when it welcomes ALBA Berlin and its offense into town. Zenit parted ways with Coach Joan Plaza during the off week and goes into the final stretch of its premier EuroLeague season in a share of EuroLeague’s worst record and an offense that posts the fourth-fewest points (74.8 ppg.). ALBA has one win more, but has an offense that ranks third with 85.2 points and leads the EuroLeague with 19.8 assists per game.

Zenit has plenty of veteran leadership, from the presence of Gustavo Ayon and Will Thomas in its frontcourt to Alex Renfroe, Evgeny Voronov and Anton Ponkrashov on the perimeter. In a situation such as this one, with a new coach on the bench, Zenit will need to rely on its experienced veterans to lead the way – prior and during the game – to overcome adversity.

ALBA will need to attempt to control this game with its offense against an opponent that has mostly struggled in that segment this season. ALBA has been held below 80 points just eight times this season, while Zenit has scored that many just eight times this season. So, ALBA’s recipe is to get the hosts in its rhythm, setting the pace and using ball movement to tally baskets and forcing Zenit to try to match it.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (-3.0) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 20/02/2020, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Olympiacos – Villeurbanne

It could prove to be a pivotal moment in both teams’ seasons when Olympiacos hosts ASVEL on Thursday. Both sit outside the playoff zone, but within striking distance of eight place. However, to do so neither can afford losses to direct opponents in the bottom half of the standings. The Reds have won three in a row at home, including a resounding blowout of the defending champs in Round 25. ASVEL has lost seven straight on the road.

The Reds are still adjusting to life without Vassilis Spanoulis and will lean on several other players to replace his production, including Wade Baldwin IV. One advantage Olympiacos will have is that it did not play cup games during the break and should come back fresh. An energetic display led by Kostas Papanikolaou like displayed against CSKA at home makes Olympiacos tough to beat.

Vassilis Spanoulis is out for the remainder of the season.

ASVEL’s scoring average of 74.4 points per game is third-lowest in the league and it drops to a league-low 68.6 points in road games. To overcome that, ASVEL must not only generate more points, but also deny the opponents easy baskets. To date, ASVEL has collected the second-fewest defensive rebounds (20.8). Against an aggressive Olympiacos frontline, which between Nikola Milutinov, Octavius Ellis and Augustine Rubit can do some damage on the offensive glass, ASVEL must rebounder better to improve its chances on the road.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+6.0) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 20/02/2020, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Fenerbahce – Real Madrid

Two of the last three Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champions meet again. Real is on a three-game winning streak and looking for more in a tough place to play. Fenerbahce has won six of its last eight games, but comes off a home loss against Maccabi. Nando De Colo (16.6 ppg.) is Fenerbahce’s top scorer this season, followed by Kostas Sloukas (11.8 ppg.) and Derrick Williams (11.3 ppg.). Anthony Randolph (13.7 ppg.), Facu Campazzo (10.5 ppg., 7.2 apg.) and Trey Thompkins (10.7 ppg.) are leading Real.

Fenerbahce has made 40.4% of its shots from downtown and that should be one of its biggest weapons against Real Madrid. It will need to be extra physical on defense, especially at the center position, playing hard against Jordan Mickey and Edy Tavares. Fenerbahce is not rebounding the ball well (29.8 rpg., 18th overall), getting 21.4 defensive boards and allowing opponents to get 10.5 offensive rebounds per night. Better rebounding will lead to a more efficient offense led by Sloukas and De Colo.

Real has a 1.55 assist-to-turnover ratio, which shows its efficiency on offense. It all starts with grabbing the defensive rebound to get its trademark transition offense going, and it is no surprise that Real ranks fourth in this category (24.9 drpg.). Real needs to improve at steals (6.2 spg., 13th overall) to be able to run the floor even more, making the most out of dynamic players like Sergio Llull, Campazzo, Rudy Fernandez and Randolph.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 2.20 with bet365
(Price correct at 20/02/2020, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Milano – Khimki

One can expect to see a playoff atmosphere on Thursday when Milan hosts Khimki. Milan enters the round occupying the last spot in the playoff zone, but has a mere one-win lead over Khimki in the standings. Both teams have slumped recently with Milan losing five of its last six games and Khimki dropping three of its last four.

Despite the presence of Kaleb Tarczewski and his 66.7% shooting accuracy, Milan is last in the league in two-point shooting accuracy at 48.7%. It is noteworthy that the number rises to 51.5% in home games. Nevertheless, against a Khimki attack that is fourth in the league in scoring (85.1 ppg.) and second in two-point shooting (56.3%), Milan can ill afford missing shots from any range, let alone close to the basket.

Khimki has allowed the second-most points in the league this season (86.7 ppg.) and one reason for that is that is has given up the second-most offensive rebounds (12.0). The arrival of Thomas Robinson to strengthen the frontline should help in that regard as Khimki must do a better job rebounding and defending to win in Italy.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 173.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 20/02/2020, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

Baskonia – Zalgiris

Baskonia comes off a home win against ASVEL and hopes it is a turning point for the rest of the season. Zalgiris registered a narrow road loss against first-place Efes, snapping a three-game winning streak. Toko Shengelia (15.8 ppg.) is Baskonia’s top scorer this season, followed by Zoran Dragic (10.5 ppg.) and Shavon Shields (9.7 ppg.). Lukas Lekavicius (10.9 ppg.), Jock Landale (10.8 ppg.) and Thomas Walkup (9.8 ppg., 5.2 apg.) are leading Zalgiris.

Baskonia ranks second in turnovers (14.4 per game), which is one of its main handicaps right now. The other may be three-point shooting, as Baskonia is last in the EuroLeague this season, hitting just 33.1% of its shots from downtown. Baskonia did better against ASVEL, shooting fewer three-point shots and improving its efficiency (7 of 16, 43.8%). It also outrebounded ASVEL 42-25. Making the most out of its depth at center – Youssoupha Fall, Michael Eric, Ilimane Diop – is critical for the hosts.

Zalgiris downed 19 three-point shots against Efes in Round 24, a new EuroLeague club record. It remains to be seen if it was a one-game strategy – Zalgiris takes 36.9 two-point shots and 22.8 three-pointers on average, but it took more shots outside (31) than inside the three-point line (24) in Istanbul. Zalgiris ranks low in steals (5.6 spg.) and blocks (1.6 bpg.), and it will need extra aggressiveness against an athletic, physical team like Baskonia.

basketball prediction Tip: Winning Margin 3-way 1-5 points at 2.45 with bet365
(Price correct at 20/02/2020, 09:15 CET, subject to change)

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