Euroleague Final Four Picks. Semifinals

 

Euroleague Final Four 2014 LogoCSKA – Maccabi

CSKA played two very bad games in VTB league, but I am not sure that we must them seriuosly. The way they played in first quarter of Game 1 against Lokomotiv Kuban is the direct road to Euroleague final and possible title. But when Messina started experiments team lost its rhytm and did not find it again either in Game 1 or Game 2. But CSKA came to Milan with full roster and all players are healthy.

Maccabi without long-term injured S.James, Ingles has injury but will play as well as Landesberg. The biggest problem for Maccabi is Shortsianidis who is without game practice since playoff series with Milan.

Teams played 2 games in regular season and CSKA showed that they are much better team by taking two easy victories. CSKA biggest advantage is center position, where Maccabi can’t answer to them. I expect Krstic and Kaun to dominate under the boards, where Maccabi has Tyus and rusty “Baby-Shaq”. I just can’t see defensive plan for Maccabi in this game, because CSKA also has Weems, Teodosic, Khriapa who can score if Maccabi will try to help in defense to someone. I expect CSKA to score 76-82 points today in offense.

How many points will Maccabi score? Both games in regular season where slow-paced and this should not change tonight. The only hope for Maccabi to score more than 72 is another 60% shooting from 3-points and fast break points. But CSKA don’t make many turnovers and should have good percentage in offense + they are stronger under boards. So no easy points for Maccabi and normally CSKA has very good chances to keep Maccabi under 72 points.

Pick: CSKA (-5.5) @ 1,92 4/10 Pinnacle

Pick: CSKA over 76 points @ 1.90 Marathonbet

Pick: Krstic over 8.5 points @ 1.90 4/10 marathonbet

Real Madrid – Barcelona

One more el’classico on neutral field. Honestly speaking I don’t see any good bets in this semifinal. Real is better team, especially now when Navarro is out of form due the injury he got in playoffs series against Galatasaray. Why I hold Real as better team? Because Real has 3 players of NBA-level: S.Rodriguez, R.Fernandez and N.Mirotic. Add to them extremely-talented players like Lull, Carroll, Bouroussis. Also I can’t see any advantage in 2nd unit because Darden, Slaughter, Reyes can fight with Barcelona bench easily.

Barcelona is 1-3 against Madrid this season and their only win come last week when Real played with extended rotation. I expect this trend to continue today, because Real in full power has much more weapons than Barcelona in offense and defensively they are also looking very good.

I was expecting to see Real as 5.5 favorite here but we got only 3.5 points handicap. There is no value to take Real here, because this game could be a close one as it was Cup final this February. Best solution here it to wait for 1.90-2.00 line on Real at in-play market. They should win here as a better team.

As for the total market it’s very hard one to predict, because it depends on game pace, which was very high in both ACB matches between these teams, but in Cup final it was just a 161 possession game. I hold cup game as the closest to reality because at that moment were in same form and both were motivated. In such pace this game can go to 146-155 points range. But if pace will be higher (or teams will show high percentage) they can go to 160 points.

 

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