The 23rd round of the Euroleague brings us several highly entertaining games which are bound to play a major role in the playoffs battle. Our basketball betting expert has put together this guide to this week’s matches complete with Euroleague tips and predictions.
Thursday brings us the two most entertaining matches of the round. CSKA is hosting Maccabi in Moscow and it is not hard to anticipate the winner of this one, while the duel in the Asian part of Istanbul will likely be a lot more dramatic as the great Olympiacos is coming to the Adbi Ikpeci gym.
Crvena Zvezda is still playing with an imperative of a win against Galatasaray on home turf while Barcelona is visiting Milan to try and change their form in the midst of a seemingly irreversible run. .
CSKA Moscow vs Maccabi Tel Aviv Euroleague Tips and Analysis
The old rivals have met several times in the last few years. Maccabi won the Euroleague semi-finals back in 2004 when Anthony Parker dominated the game with 27 points. CSKA fought back in Prague two years later by winning the Euroleague finals thanks the MVP Theo Papaloukas. The two met again in the competition finals in 2008 in Madrid and once more CSKA won this time with Trajan Langdon dominating the game.
Each of these matches brought drama and suspense, but this time around we don’t expect to see too much of that as the difference in quality between the two is currently just too big. We did see a fantastic matchup between the two earlier in the season as the Israelis dropped an 18 point lead to lose 76-80 in the end in what was a truly devastating defeat.
Cory Higgins was the key man in that one scoring 18 points in the final 3 minutes of the game to turn it all around. Maccabi was led by Andrew Gueldlock in that one as he scored 19 points in total. The same player in combination with the playmaker Gal Mekel is responsible for Maccabi winning their eighth consecutive Israel Cup title this past weekend. Their win against Hapoel Jerusalem was just a confirmation of the huge domination that Maccabi has been showing in domestic competition for years.
The hosts will be looking to Nando De Colo whose incredible statistics and double-double score in 46 out of the last 47 Euroleague matches speak for themselves. The French will be leading the squad on Thursday and will surely be worth placing a bet on at scoring 18.5 or more. On the other hand it seems like Joe Alexander will be missing the game for Maccabi. Goudelock, Smith and Mekel will be the main hopes of the coach Ainars Bagatskis but the team is simply so far behind in form that it is very unlikely for them to make a surprise happen. The Russians will be looking to keep their lead at the top and will be playing on the wings of an 8 domestic wins run. CSKA is easily a huge favourite to celebrate a convincing win against their bitter rivals.
Fenerbahce Istanbul vs Olympiacos Piraeus Euroleague Tips and Analysis
Olympiacos is one of the few teams who can still pull of playing the old school basketball in the modern era. The Greeks will be looking at a difficult task of avoiding defeat at Abdi Ikpeci on Thursday evening even though they did beat the Turkish team earlier in the season with 71-62. Khem Birch led Sfairopolous’ squad in that one with 10 points and 13 jumps while Jan Vesely played the best game for Fener with 22 points for the Turks. Interestingly enough, Kostas Sloukas and Pero Antic who now both play for Fenerbache used to play for the legendary Olympiacos squad that won the Euroleague in both 2012 and 2013.
Zeljko Obradovic has a tendency to rotate the squad often and he has started different five players 11 times so far this season. Fenerbache is looking at an impressive roster with Bogdanovic, Dateme, Udoh, Veseli, Kalinici, Sloukas, Antic and others and are certainly favorites against any team when playing at home.
The bookies are offering 1.4 on home victory, which may not be the best value after all. We can expect both teams to hold on to possession for prolonged periods of time and defend with force.
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Expert tips from Zvonimir