Europe’s most elite basketball competition is back on schedule this week. We’re only five rounds away from the end of the first part of the season and the number of teams still in contention for the top eight is diminishing. Teams under the line such as Barcelona, Zalgiris and Darussafaka are in a situation where any mistake can be deadly. As I’ve been doing in recent weeks, we are bringing you a special look into Thursday and Friday matches with my Euroleague tips and analysis for some matches.
I can honestly say that I hope you took my Euroleague tips for last two rounds and placed some bets on them as I have managed to go 7/7 last two weeks. Last week I was able to predict that Baskonia would surprise Fenerbache in Istanbul. The main tip at solid odds was for Baskonia not to lose by 8 and this was an easy win as Baskonia acutally went on to win the match. The second tip gave you an opportunity to double your money as Zalgiris beat Panathinaikos 64:58.
This Thursday I plan to focus my Euroleague tips on the crunch clash in Athens where Pao will be hosting table leaders Real Madrid and on Crvena Zvezda’s big match that could make a huge leap toward playoffs by beating the struggling Milan. Efes should not have too much trouble to beat Maccabi (as evidenced by the 1.18 odds), while Fenerbache will have a chance to get back on track by beating Bamberg who are left without playoff chances.
Panathinaikos vs Real Madrid Euroleague Tips and Analysis
The Greek giants have been struggling in recent weeks as the end of the season quickly approaches. Even a top eight position could be brought into question following several consecutive away losses against the likes of Zalgiris and Darussafaka. The main problem for Xavi Pascual’s team was their offensive play which seemed absolutely atrocious last week in Kaunas when they only managed to score 58 points in a dramatic encounter with Zalgiris. Pao have only two wins more than Darussafaka in ninth and three more than Zalgiris in tenth. A potential defeat to Real would additionally complicate things for the Greek team and put their playoff hopes in jeopardy.
Real on the other hand demolished Zvezda by 30 points in a ridiculous display of offensive basketball. The 98 points they scored easily demonstrates the form on which Real’s top starts were playing. The guests will be hoping to win the match against the Greeks and secure the advantage of home turf for the playoffs.
The Athens duel should be interesting as it represents two different schools of the game. Real features the second best attack of the league with 87.2 points per match, while Panathinaikos has been playing great defensively, conceding just over 75 points per game. Greeks will be playing with full roster as James Gist is back this week to join Mike Jameson and Chris Singleton to lead Pao’s offense.
Real Madrid have been playing on fantastic form as proven by their performance against Barcelona in this weekend’s El Classico. Sergio Lull is their star man as he led his team with 30 points against Panathinaikos earlier this season when Real won 87:84.
Although the hosts need this win much more than Real, I simply cannot understate how great the Spanish kings are playing and how unstoppable their attack seemed against Barcelona and Crvena Zvezda. The bookies seem to be favouring the hosts, but I believe that Real Madrid can pull off another away win and at 2.10 I will be making away win my main tip for this game.
Emporio Armani Milan vs Crvena Zvezda Beograd Euroleague Tips and Analysis
Emporio Armani have been eliminated from the Playoffs some time ago. We could say that Milan have been the disappointment of the competition as they were expected to make the playoffs when the season was just starting out. Still, with just five matches left to go, Italians have only managed to grab 7 wins along with 18 defeats.
The hosts have lost their last four matches and will not be too motivated to change this as the match has no real significance for them. For the Serbian champions however, this match could be the most important one of the season as a potential defeat would put them at risk of not making the playoffs.
Zvezda played well against Bamberg last week and I expect that their focus will be high against Milan as well. Marko Simonovic has been playing the season of a lifetime and was the one in charge when Zvezda defeated Milan earlier in the season, scoring 23 points.
The guests feature league’s second best defense and if they manage to produce their usual defensive performance, there should be no problems for them. A Crvena Zvezda win seems to be in the cards and the 1.75 offered by the bookies is easily great value.
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