So here we are again. New season of Euroleague is in front of us and we start with 2 games in Bamberg and Siena. The big difference of this Euroleague season is that most teams played just one or two official games in their national competitions and there are many questions on players and teams form. But let’s try to find out what we can expect from tonight games.
Brose Baskets – Strasbourg
Brose Baskets Bamberg starts its fourth consecutive Euroleague season as German basketball’s dominant team. Strasbourg is back to the Euroleague for the first time since 2005-06, which is when these teams last met with Bamberg winning both games. Strasbourg head coach Vincent Collet led France to the EuroBasket 2013 gold medal and has two of his national team players on the roster: big man Alexis Ajinca and playmaker Antoine Diot, who is questionable due to a foot injury. Strasbourg has a combination of youth and experience with veteran forward Ricardo Greer as a key figure due his ball-handling, versatility and know-how. Brose Baskets kept its core from last season, with guards Anton Gavel and John Goldsberry, big men Maik Zirbes and Sharrod Ford and sharpshooter Casey Jacobsen retaining their roles in head coach Chris Fleming’s system.
Brose doesn’t look like 100% ready for the season team with 2 losess in Munich and Artland. We should be cautious with them and I don’t see any value in backing at such short odds against same calibre team. As for the total we can expect up-tempo game but it is quite hard to predict how good Brose baskets will be offensively against athletic french defenders with 2.15 m Ajinka in the center of defense. On other side Strasbourg often doesn’t play with full effort defensively in away games..
I am tending to take over in this match, but decided to wait in-play to decide with total bet. It could over if team will start with low-scoring quarters and under if first half will be offensive minded.
Montepaschi – Galatasaray
Montepaschi hosts Galatasaray Liv Hospital to open Group C. Montepaschi returns with a new head coach, Marco Crespi, and only three players from last season’s roster – Benjamin Ortner, Tomas Ress and Daniel Hackett, who will play a big role this season. Galatasaray is back to the competition after a one-year hiatus and will try to reach the Top 16 for the second time in three years. It will be a very special game for Galatasaray star Henry Domercant, who won two Italian League titles with Montepaschi in 2009 and 2010. Galatasaray will have plenty of defensive aces to use against Hackett such as Sinan Guler, Jamont Gordon and Huseyin Koksal. Montepaschi will rely on newcomers Kim English and scoring machine Erick Green to make the difference in this game.
Public goes against Montepaschi because of many uknown faces in their roster, after their budget has been cut again this summer. But money don’t play basketball. Italian team coach Marco Crespi (pcitured) worked as NBA scout 2 years and I am absolutely sure that his knowledge of transfer market and his relation in scout world helped him to make good players, who are unknown yet for public. Just look at Siena roster. They have 9 players with US passport.. and public rates them weaker than Galatasaray, which has many second-roles players? I just can’t agree with this! Siena already played 2 official games at home court and won both games quite easy against Varese in Supercup and against Cremona in Legabasket 1 week. In their last game they dished out 21 assists and this fact says a lot about team chemistry.
Ok, Galatasaray is also good and dangerous team, but I don’t have enough trust to such players as Jawai, Akyol, Atsur, Guler, Aslan, Koksal.. Henry Domercant missed last season due the injury and is far from his best conditions, Markoishvili is not ready for the season too, and Gordon-Erceg-Arroyo is not enough for me to be a favorite in Siena.
I expect difficult game, but Siena should favorite here for sure according to my ratings, because Siena in my eyes has the same calibre team as Galatasaray.
Pick: Montepaschi @ 1.97 4/10 Pinnacle