I am not a fan of of mind games in basketball and last round of Top-16 is like playing a puzzle. You know the picture, but you need to make right choices to accomplish the task. The problem here is that bookmakers knows pretty well what choices will be done and set markets accordingly. I prefer to bet last rounds in play, when I can see teams, coaches, players and other games results.
For tonight only one pick, which has been already sent to paid subscribers. But you can read other games previews and decide about bets.
Fenerbahce Ulker – Efes Pilsen
It’s hard to analyze games like this. With a win Efes will secure place in playoffs and Ulker is already there, but has some chances to become first in the group (if CSKA lose to Milan). However, I am not sure how much Ulker is interested in finishing first. If they finish second they will meet Real Madrid pair winner in semifinals and normally Obradovic should avoid. On other side, this is a very good chance for Turkish basketball to have 2 participants in playoffs first time in many years. Will Ulker help Efes to promote? Who knows..
Normally, we have 2 teams of same roster strength and should see Ulker as strong home favorite (with -5.5 handicap) thanks to their brilliant perfomance in Top-16. But we get Efes as slight favorite and this is clear bookmakers decision to include motivation factor in expectations.
I would recommend to take Efes Pilsen with +4 handicap and higher in case of strong Ulker start at in-play. In-play lines should react quickly to all runs here, but in the end we might expect some friendly help. At current odds I don’t see any reasons to back Efes.
Crvena Zvezda – Panathinaikos
PAO qualifies with a win or ALBA loss and line has been set accordingly. The trick here is that game in Berlin will start 45 minutes before and greeks will know the result in 2nd half. Anyway there is no value in current odds on PAO and they are the only side we should bet here. Maybe it is worth to take PAO handicap in first half.
Unicaja – Laboral
Milan – CSKA
Both games depends on result in Istanbul. If Ulker wins – CSKA will do its best to become first and Unicaja-Laboral is a friendly game. If Efes win, CSKA is first and play for nothing (as well as Milan), while Laboral qualifies to playoffs with a win.
So we must wait for result in Turkey and take over in Milan in case of Efes victory and Laboral money line in case Ulker wins.