Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 26 – Thursday

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CSKA – Barcelona

It is an important battle for homecourt advantage in the playoffs. After two consecutive losses, CSKA bounced back with a road victory in Belgrade. Barcelona is currently on a six-game winning streak, its longest in the EuroLeague under the new format. Mike James (21.3 ppg.) is CSKA’s top scorer, followed by Darrun Hilliard (10.0 ppg.) and Kyle Hines (8.5 ppg.). Nikola Mirotic (18.7 ppg., 6.9 rpg.), former CSKA swingman Cory Higgins (12 ppg.) and Malcolm Delaney (10.5 ppg.) are leading Barcelona.

CSKA played with great aggressiveness in Belgrade last week, pulling down 13 offensive rebounds, collecting 6 steals and getting 3 blocks against Zvezda. It will need that kind of blue-collar mentality against a tough, talented opponent, as well as to improve its three-point shooting percentage: it only made 25% from downtown at Stark Arena.

Barcelona played with great rhythm in Athens, getting 15 offensive rebounds and 24 assists with just 11 turnovers. It will need to prevent James from having a great scoring night, relying on Adam Hanga and Delaney to do so. CSKA ranks seventh in the EuroLeague in defensive rebounds (25.8 drpg.), so attacking the offensive glass and preventing CSKA from running will be a priority for Coach Svetislav Pesic.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 2.45 with bet365
(Price correct at 27/02/2020, 13:45 CET, subject to change)

Zenit – Bayern

The two teams tied at the bottom of the standings will face each other in Round 26 when Zenit St Petersburg hosts FC Bayern Munich on Thursday. Both teams are currently in the middle of four-game losing streaks. Zenit fell at home against ALBA Berlin last week by just 2 points as the team settles in the new system brought in by new head coach Xavi Pascual. Bayern also lost at home against league leader Anadolu Efes and will look to get back to its winning ways, something it has only managed to do once in the last 11 games.

This game against a direct opponent is a golden last chance for Zenit to try to catch the playoff train, which is just four wins away, with nine games left. The hosts have slightly better numbers than Bayern both in offense and defense, but they will also be still adapting to a new coach. Zenit shows more accuracy in field goals, but it will have to watch for Bayern’s better numbers from beyond the arc. The hosts also have the worst numbers from the free-throw line in the league, so they will have to pay close attention to that if the game is a close one.

Bayern is in the same position as Zenit: this win could be the last chance to stay in the playoff race, plus it won in the first game so it has that little edge over the hosts. The visitors shoot better from behind the arc and the stripe, but Zenit does a bit better everywhere else, so Bayern will have to play a serious game after a long, tough trip which never helps.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+5.0) at 1.95 with bet365
(Price correct at 27/02/2020, 13:45 CET, subject to change)

ALBA Berlin – Efes

The top two teams in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in alphabetical order will clash on Thursday in the German capital when ALBA hosts Efes. ALBA, which has won four of its last five road games, will try to capture a valuable victory at home to remain in the playoff hunt; ALBA enters the round two wins behind eighth-placed Khimki Moscow Region in the standings. ALBA has lost its last three home games. Efes, which comes to Berlin without the league’s top performer this season, Shane Larkin, has won 10 in a row.

It figures to be a high-scoring game with ALBA ranked third in scoring (85.1 ppg.) and Efes second (87.1 ppg.). Even though ALBA allows by far the most points in the league (89.0 ppg.), it has also managed to win many games when allowing opponents to score in the high 80s and more. Against Efes, the key will be not to slow down the pace, but to stop the opponents from getting easy shots and converting at their league-best rates (57.1% on two-pointers and 42.0% on threes). If Efes must work harder – or decides to settle for quicker, less open shots in a fast-paced game, ALBA will be in a promising spot.

On paper, this game seems to be right up Efes’s alley, but the team will still need to get maximum production from guards Vasilije Micic, Rodrigue Beaubois and Kruno Simon to make up for the absence of Larkin. That trio has the experience and shot-making ability to handle the role and if Efes does not fall out of rhythm with its go-to scoring injured, it can add another road win to its impressive record.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 170.5 at 1.95 with bet365
(Price correct at 27/02/2020, 13:45 CET, subject to change)

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Maccabi – Olympiakos

Maccabi will look to extend its three-game winning streak and complete a regular-season sweep of Olympiacos for the first time in competition history when it hosts the Reds on Thursday. After winning back-to-back road games, the Israeli champs return home where they have lost only once all season. Olympiacos has rounded into form recently, but has lost its last two road games. However, the Reds have won in three of their last four trips to Tel Aviv.

Maccabi is 12-1 this season when it has held opponents below 80 points and the Reds have not scored more than 80 in their last four games. Backed by its home crowd – Maccabi has only lost once in Tel Aviv this season, the Israeli champs must use their depth and defense to outhustle Olympiacos to take control of the game.

These two teams are among the best in the league in rebounding with Maccabi (36.0 rpg.) third and Olympiacos (35.2 rpg.) fifth. The question is how will Olympiacos fare in the rebounding battle without starting center and the league-leading rebounder Nikola Milutinov. The Reds allowed 13 offensive boards last week against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Even if Octavius Ellis holds his own, it must be a team effort to keep Maccabi from controlling the glass.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 158.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 27/02/2020, 13:45 CET, subject to change)

Baskonia – Crvena Zvezda

Two teams right below the playoff berths will face each other to stay ahead on the race when KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (9-16) welcomes Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (10-15) in Round 26. The hosts have lost three of their last four games, including the last one at home against Zalgiris and look to recover fast to stay on track. After a sweet stint, Zvezda lost six of their last seven games, including the last one against CSKA at home. Zvezda will travel without head coach Dragan Sakota, who remains in Belgrade for medical reasons. Assistant coach Andrija Gavrilovic will lead the team in his stead.

Baskonia hs a great opportunity to try to win at home against a direct rival and even more, hold all tiebreakers against it. Zvezda is performing a bit better overall, but the guests are travelling a rough road right now and the hosts should try to make advantage of that. Zvezda has the worst two-point shooting percentages and Baskonia should regroup in defense to make sure that keeps happening this week. On the other hand, the hosts will need to watch out for their free-throw numbers (second worst in the league) if the game comes to a close ending.

Zvezda is in dire need of a win and the Basque Country could be a great place to get one against a direct opponent. The hosts have the worst numbers in the league from beyond the arc, so Zvezda’s defense should try to give those spaces to Baksonia to try to capitalize on that. Baskonia also has the lowest figures in assists in the competition, so if Zvezda manages to keep a tight defense, especially on Baskonia’s guards, the win will be a bit closer.

basketball prediction Tip: Winning Margin 3-way 1-5 points any team at 2.60 with bet365
(Price correct at 27/02/2020, 13:45 CET, subject to change)

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