I like Barcelona and CSKA chances today, but line already moved to the points, where value is minimal. You can consider to take both picks for a combo or wait for in-play market.
Lokomotiv – Barcelona
I’ve said this many times during regular season. Lokomotiv is quite deep team with average Euroleague level players. But they have been rocking huge form in November & October, what helped them to grab 8 wins and be 8-1 against the spread this season. Now things changed. They lost 3 of 4 last games, they struggle to score points against tough defensive teams and their form is not so good as it was in last two months.
Barcelona comes to Krasnodar with full roster available and they want to take first spot in the group. They are used to such games and they know, how to win such games, while Loko is absolutely happy with qualifying to Top-16 stage.
For me Lokomotiv is not better team than PAO, where I’ve seen Barca as -4 points favs. PAO reached their peak during a meeting with Barcelona and won, but I can’t see this happen again with Loko at this point of the season. I see very good chances for Barcelona to win here and I go with it. The only trouble is low value.
Unicaja – CSKA
CSKA improved their roster by adding their summer signing Joe Freeland to the roster. He is still looking for his best conditions, but he is sure the big improvement under the rims for CSKA team, which has excelent guards, but was quite limited in paint. CSKA has prepared for this game since their last game with Darussafaka, while Unicaja played with Barca last weekend (lost again) and they have big game in Zaragoza on Sunday.
I think spanish championship is more important for Unicaja these days, than first spot in Euroleague. Afer Zaragoza they travels to Gran Canaria and if they will lose on both occasions they will find themselves with 5-7 record in Spain and out of cup competition.
Unicaja is not a top team this season and they already lost to Barcelona, which is at the same level as CSKA in terms of talent, but russian team plays better basketball, because they are using same schemes from last year, while Barcelona did many changes this summer.
I expect CSKA to take sweet revenge and win group. They are better team in all aspects of the game and should prove this on court.