It is absolutely clear for me (and everybody) who is the better team here. D.Itoudis (CSKA coach) worked in PAO for 8 years and knows all greek players in opponents team. CSKA should be very well prepared for this game from tactical point of view and the key point here – is CSKA home defense.
It’s quite a strange thing, but CSKA owns best away defense in Euroleague, but at home they are just 10th team of those who played in regular season and Top-16 stage. But that defensive relax happened due the lack of motivation to work hard in defense, when you can score 90+ points. This is a playoff game and now all games are serious enough to expect best defensive attitude from CSKA.
PAO has big problems in offense this season, when they play away from home. They score just 0.88 pts/poss and this is 3rd result from bottom. Only Zalgiris and Crvena Zvezda has lower quality in offense. A.Slaughter is probably out, Batista will be in Kirilenko & Kaun hands, who will score points? All in one, PAO should has big troubles in offense tonight, especially in first half, while CSKA will care about defense and difference.
CSKA usually play very solid first half (especially 2nd quater) and PAO playing first halves very bad. However, 1st half line is already moved to -7.5 and it’s tricky to take it, but I think that CSKA will make double digit lead before HT.
Also I see good chances for CSKA to cover the spread tonight by few points. They are on 0-3 ATS run at home and if they will play they “A-level” defense today, we can see easy win for them. 83:68 is my call here. Small bets advised, because lines has very low value. Normally it’s better to skip.
Pick: CSKA (-12.5) @ 1.92 Pinnacle
Fenerbahce Ulker – Maccabi