Euroleague Tips with Previews – Round 22 – Thursday

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Euro League basketball predictions appear under each mini game preview.

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Khimki – CSKA Moscow

The Leningradka Derby promises a lot of excitement and action, as always. CSKA arrives on a four-game winning streak – its longest since late October. Khimki comes off a road loss against Baskonia, but managed to beat mighty Real Madrid in front of its fans in Round 20. Alexey Shved (21.1 ppg.) has been Khimki’s top scorer until now, followed by Janis Timma (13.1 ppg.) and Devin Booker (11.7 ppg.). Mike James (21.1 ppg., 4.4 apg.), Darrun Hilliard (10.6 ppg.) and Johannes Voigtmann (7.3 ppg.) are leading CSKA right now.

Khimki is the third-best scorer in the competition (86.6 ppg.) and does even better (89.7 ppg.) at home, where it’s made a EuroLeague-best 59.5% two-point shots at Mytishchi Arena. Khimki will run its offense through Alexey Shved, whose unlimited range and outstanding driving skills make him a nightmare matchup. In its VTB United League win, Khimki limited CSKA to just 9-of-29 three-point shooting (31%), which is important, as both teams lead the EuroLeague in shots from downtown (Khimki 28.4 per game, CSKA 28.3).

CSKA was sensational from beyond the three-point line, hitting 13-of-27 three-point shots against Baskonia (48.1%), and even better against Valencia (14-of-22, 63.6%). CSKA, however, has struggled inside the arc, combining for 29 of 71 shots (40.8%) in these two games. CSKA ranks second in defensive rebounds (25.8 drpg.) and that will be the key to raise that shooting percentage – being able to run the floor and find easy points in transition. Limiting the impact of Shved will be critical, too.

basketball prediction Tip: 1 (+2.5) at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 30/01/2020, 10:30 CET, subject to change)

ALBA Berlin – Fenerbahce

ALBA Berlin returns home from a successful road trip to host a resurgent Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul side. ALBA won two of three on the road in recent weeks to keep a late-season playoff run in the cards. Fenerbahce has won four of its last five games, including two away from home, but is 3-7 on the road this season.

The book on ALBA as a high-scoring team is that it needs to be firing on all cylinders on offense to achieve desired results, but in essence, its defense has been more important to results. ALBA is 4-1 this season when it has held its opponents to 80 points or less. Fenerbahce has averaged 79.5 points per game this season. No cat can change its stripes, so ALBA is likely to make this a high-scoring game, but strong defense may be the key to victory.

Fenerbahce ranks last in the league in rebounding with 29.6 per game and 8.3 offensive rebounds per game. Attacking the glass against an ALBA side that likes to get out in transition could pay dividends not only in second-chance baskets, but also by taking away those fastbreak and transition points from the home side. Malcolm Thomas and Jan Vesely should be the players to spearhead that challenge.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (-5.5) at 1.80 with bet365
(Price correct at 30/01/2020, 10:30 CET, subject to change)

Olympiacos – Baskonia

Olympiacos comes off a tough road loss against Zenit and has the opportunity to bounce back in front of its fans. Baskonia snapped a three-game losing streak with a brilliant home win against Khimki, but has not won on the road since mid-December. Georgios Printezis (12.3 ppg.) has been Olympiacos’s top scorer this season, followed by Vassilis Spanoulis (11.3 ppg.) and Nikola Milutinov (10.4 ppg.). Toko Shengelia (16.1 ppg., 5.6 rpg.), Nik Stauskas (9.5 ppg.) and Shavon Shields (9.2 ppg.) are leading Baskonia.

First and foremost, Olympiacos has to improve its defense. It allowed 91 points against Zenit, which hit 23 of 37 two-point shots (62.2%) and pulled down 13 offensive rebounds. Boxing out will be critical and it is up to the whole team to have a better defensive attitude. The offense is finally flowing through Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou. Olympiacos hits 59.1% of its two-point shots at home and limits opponents to just 52.5%. Getting Nikola Milutinov and Augustine Rubit involved for easy points in the paint will be important for the Reds.

Baskonia struggled from the three-point line in its win against Khimki, hitting just 4 of 17 shots (23.5%). Baskonia is last in three-point shooting (32.1%) and will look to its best shooters, Nik Stauskas, Shavon Shields and Matt Janning, to change this situation. Baskonia pulled down 16 offensive rebounds last week and now leads the competition in this category (12.5 orpg.). Using Fall and Michael Eric to get Milutinov into foul trouble will be one of the keys to the game, too.

basketball prediction Tip: Under 162.5 at 1.86 with bet365
(Price correct at 30/01/2020, 10:30 CET, subject to change)

Maccabi – Real Madrid

It is the most repeated game in European basketball history; Maccabi and Real face each other for the 60th time. Maccabi is undefeated at home this season and won eight of its last 11 games. After a 13-game winning streak, Real has lost its last three games and wants to return to winning ways. Scottie Wilbekin (16.3 ppg.), Othello Hunter (10.2 ppg., 6.5 rpg.) and Tyler Dorsey (9.5 ppg.) are leading Maccabi, which is expected to feature new signing Amar’e Stoudemire for the first time. Trey Thompkins (10.7 ppg.), Facu Campazzo (10.5 ppg.) and Jordan Mickey (9.9 ppg.) are Real’s active top scorers.

Maccabi leads the league in defensive rebounding (26) which allows the team to run or play at the right pace. Maccabi is shooting the ball from downtown better on the road (38.6%) than at home (37.4%), and it will be important to raise that number, as Real relies on Edy Tavares to change a lot of shots down low. On defense, Maccabi has to put a lot of pressure on the ball to prevent Facundo Campazzo from creating for others. The sea of yellow fans in the stands will be Maccabi’s X-factor.

Real is struggling to score on the road (78.0 ppg.), with more than 10 points per game fewer than its home average (89.3 ppg.). Real keeps opponents to hit just 48.8% two-point shooting and only Maccabi (46.0%) does better at that. Not being intimidated by Maccabi’s physicality will be one of the keys to the game. Real has done a good job at cutting turnovers, averaging just 12.3 per game and ranking third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55). Maccabi forces a lot of turnovers (1.4 3per game), so staying focused will be a key for Los Blancos.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 2.00 with bet365
(Price correct at 30/01/2020, 10:30 CET, subject to change)

Villeurbanne – Zalgiris

In a critical clash at the bottom half of the standings, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne hosts Zalgiris Kaunas on Thursday evening. The French champs are looking to get back on the winning track after losing their last five games. However, ASVEL was 7-2 at home to begin the season before losing its last two home games. The Lithuanian champs have won four of their last six games with a pair of road wins included.

Defense has been ASVEL’s biggest problem during its recent losing streak. Over the past five games, the team has allowed an average of 91.4 points per game; it had allowed only 78.6 points in the first 15 games of the season and the team is 5-2 when it has kept opponents to less than 80 points. Zalgiris is averaging just 78.2 points this season. This game could be a chance for ASVEL to get its defensive mojo back and end its losing streak.

Zalgiris is one of the leading offensive rebounding teams in the league with 11.5 per game and it has done so without a single player averaging 5 boards or 2 offensive rebounds. That display of team rebounding could become a major factor against ASVEL, which does not have an elite rebounder when Tonye Jekiri is not on the floor. A few second-chance baskets and denying ASVEL points n transition could become very valuable as Zalgiris targets another road win.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 at 1.83 with bet365
(Price correct at 30/01/2020, 10:30 CET, subject to change)

Barcelona – Zenit

Two teams on opposite sides of the standings will meet each other in Round 22 when FC Barcelona hosts Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday. The hosts won their last two games and seem to be on the winning path again. Last week they defeated Zvezda at home, 86-82. Zenit seems to have found its rhythm and has won three of its last four games, including last week at home against Olympiacos, 91-87.

The hosts average 9 more points than the visitors per game, so their main leverage over Zenit lays on the offensive side. Barcelona seems to have overcome a rough moment of form and the team will look to stay on the winning track for good. Zenit seems to fare a bit better on the defensive categories, but Barca has better numbers from all ranges.

It took a while, but Zenit seems to have found its game in the last month. Winning in Barcelona will be a difficult task, but the painful loss at home could trigger some extra motivation for the visitors. However, if the team takes the game to the end, details like being the second-worst team in the league from the free-throw line could become a problem, so paying attention to those kinds of things could go a long way for Zenit.

basketball prediction Tip: 2 (+13.5) at 1.90 with bet365

Milano – Bayern

Two teams on losing trends will look for a precious win that could become a turning point for them when AX Armani Exchange Milan welcomes FC Bayern Munich in Round 22. Milan just added swingman Drew Crawford to try to turn around a situation in which the team has lost its last three games in a row, the last of them at Fenerbahce, 73-64. Last week, Bayern finally managed to snap a six-game losing streak with a win against Maccabi at home 80-68 and will look to confirm that turnaround in Italy.

After an almost flawless start to the season, Milan has been faltering in the last rounds. To turn the situation the team has brought in Drew Crawford, but he cannot be expected to deliver the goods from game one. Milan has the worst two-point shooting percentage in the league, so the hosts must build their offense and find open situations to make shots. Sergio Rodriguez could be the go-to guy, but of course, it is easier said than done.

After a prestigious win against Maccabi, Bayern will look to stay on that path. After the coaching change, things seem to be getting back to normal and the team will have to look to play to its strengths, such as being the third-best shooting team in the league for three-pointers or taking advantage of the fact that Milan is ranked last in the league in steals per game.

basketball prediction Tip: Over 154.5 at 1.90 with bet365
(Price correct at 30/01/2020, 10:30 CET, subject to change)

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