Euroleague Tips with Previews – Play-Offs

Euroleague playoffs

Euroleague Basketball Predictions

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CSKA Moscow – Fenerbahce

The first playoff game on Wednesday pits CSKA Moscow against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. CSKA finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak and was tied for the best record in the league, 24-10. Fenerbahce returned to form by winning its final two games for a 21-13 mark. CSKA seeks its ninth consecutive Final Four appearance, while Fenerbahce looks to get to the European showcase for the sixth time in a row.

Daniel Hackett is not expected to play for CSKA which leaves it without any of its main ballhandlers. However, CSKA has thrived this season despite low assists numbers by crating promising one-on-one situations. Getting Will Clyburn, Shengelia and Lundberg into good scoring situations may be the recipe for starting the series on the right foot.

  • Nikola Milutinov could miss the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
  • Mike James has been suspended by head coach Dimitris Itoudis.
  • Daniel Hackett will miss this game due to a shoulder injury.

Fenerbahce will be shorthanded with Jan Vesely injured among a few other potential absentees. Fenerbahce’s 30.2 rebounds per game ranked last in the league and CSKA led all teams with 36.0. Kyle O’Quin, Danilo Barthel and Ahmet Duverioglu will need to match CSKA on the boards to improve the team’s chances of starting the series with a road win.

  • Edgaras Ulanovas has missed the last five games.
  • Jan Vesley sat out Round 34 with an ankle injury and remains sidelined.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 162.5 points at 1.86 with bet365
(Price correct at 21/04/2021, 10:10 CET, subject to change)

Barcelona – Zenit

The team with the best record from the regular season will host a first-time playoff side on Wednesday when FC Barcelona meets Zenit St Petersburg in Game 1 of their best-of-five Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs series. Barcelona (24-10) seeks its first Final Four appearance since 2014 led by Nikola Mirotic (16.9 ppg., 6.3 rpg.), Cory Higgins (12.6 ppg.) and Nick Calathes (7.0 apg.). Zenit (20-14), which won three straight must-win games to finish the regular season in eighth place, has relied on Kevin Pangos (13.1 ppg., 6.6 apg.), Arturs Gudaitis (9.9 ppg.) and Mateusz Ponitka. These teams boast the best two defenses in the league with Barcelona having limited opponents to a league-low 73.6 points per game and Zenit second at 74.9.

Reflecting on the two previous matchups between these teams this season shows what Barcelona must focus on. Barcelona was the superior rebounding team this season and outrebounding Zenit is critical in the series. And Zenit was second in two-point shooting accuracy this season (57.3%), yet Barcelona reigned in the paint when they played. If Davies, Pierre Oriola and the returning-to-form Pau Gasol can control the paint, Barcelona will be in a great spot.

  • Pau Gasol made his Barcelona return and season debut in Round 34.

Coach Xavi Pascual never fails to bring a new wrinkle to his team’s tactics before big games such as these, however, it may be a little tougher against a Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, who played under Pascual in Barcelona. Zenit’s focus may well be on the defensive end as it limited opponents to 70.1 points scored in its victories this season. Barcelona was held below 70 points only three times all season and lost each of those games. Zenit went 7-0 when keeping opponents below 70.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (-8.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 21/04/2021, 10:10 CET, subject to change)

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(20/4) Efes – Real Madrid

Anadolu Efes Istanbul hosts Real Madrid in Game 1 of their best-of-five Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs series. The two sides split road wins this season and met as recently as March 30, when Efes scored 67 second-half points and marched through the Spanish capital for a resounding 93-108 win. Efes enters the game having won 11 of its last 13 regular-season games, while Real ended the regular season with two victories after having lost six of its previous nine games.

Efes is hard to beat, home or away, if it plays its kind of basketball, with pace and good ball movement where it does not allow opponents to adjust and players take open shots. To achieve that as quickly as possible, however, Efes must make sure to open the game with the focus that will help the team fight off the pressure and stress that come with the start of the playoffs.

It is hard to find a team with more playoff experience than what Real’s players have and they need to use all of it in Game 1 against Efes. It is imperative for Real not to try to run with Efes, which is hard for any team. Real should attempt to slow down the pace of the game and make it a low-scoring affair. Another segment that is imperative for Los Blancos is to win the rebounding battle. Real is the best defensive rebounding team in the league and it cannot afford to lose that battle against Efes.

  • Anthony Randolph is out with a ruptured left Achilles tendon.
  • Gabriel Deck has left the team.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+8.5) at 1.86 with bet365
(Price correct at 20/04/2021, 10:40 CET, subject to change)

(20/4) Milano – Bayern

Two teams in search of new horizons open their best-of-five series at Mediolanum Forum. It is the first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs game in visiting Bayern’s history, while Milan returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and is chasing its first Final Four berth in 29 years. The two clubs enter the playoffs with identical 21-13 regular-season record, but Milan holds the home-court advantage for the series thanks to sweeping Bayern in their two meetings.

No team in the competition does a better job of taking care of the ball than Milan, which committed only 10.9 turnovers per game during the regular season. Coach Ettore Messina’s squad will need to maintain the focus and patience it had all season to carry over into this playoff series opener. That should allow Milan to establish control of the pace and rhythm of the game to its liking.

In the first, historic, playoff game in club history, and also the first EuroLeague Playoffs appearance for all but one of the players on the Bayern roster, the visitors must come out with high energy and determination from the opening tip off. What Bayern also must focus on is keeping Milan’s long-range shooting in check. Milan ranks second in three-point accuracy (41.6%) accuracy this season and Bayern does not want to see Milan convert high percentages from behind the arc.

  • Nihad Dedovic has missed the team’s last 10 games.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 153.5 points at 1.95 with bet365
(Price correct at 20/04/2021, 10:40 CET, subject to change)

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