Khimki lives a difficult moment of the season. They lost 3 last games in Euroleague + added two losses in VTB league (to Nizhny Novgorod and Avtodor). Rimas Kurtinatis talking about psychological problems inside his team. They must react, but it’s not easy to do against such calibre team as Barcelona. Everyone is healthy in Khimki, but it’s hard to find points, where they looks better than Barca.
Barca comes to Russia without Abrines and Lawal (both long time absences), but last week we have seen, how effective was Joe Dorsey on both ends of the floor. He adds size and defensive quality and this is exactly what Barca needs right now. After losing in cup competition Barcelona seems to be found their rhytm again. They won in style against Olympiacos and than continued in the same manner in Zaragoza (87:76). They were able to work on their problems during last 2 weeks and looks that team has improved in all areas of the game.
This game is very important for both teams, especially for Barcelona, which needs to find some balance under the foots in group standings and take off that pressure. If they win today they will have one victory more + h2h against Khimki . We know that they already have that h2h advantage over Olympiacos so with a win Barcelona almost guarantees spot in quarterfinals. Khimki also needs to win to stay in playoffs hunt, but their conditions are very poor at the moment and they need to play their best game tonight to have a chance.
It’s very strange to see 7-3 ATS at home Khimki against 3-6 ATS and 3-6 SU away Barcelona with just -2 spread. Normally that line should be -3.5 on Khimki (they were 5.5 dogs in Barcelona). This situation is very similar with yesterday game in Madrid, where Real got +1 line instead of being -3.5 favorite. Bookies wants to see public money on Khimki and kill value betting on Barcelona. I would like to see higher odds on Barcelona to bet on them, but there is one trend to follow too. Khimki are 0-4 against the spread in games, where they are favorites with 0-5 points.
As for the total I expect slow-paced game, because Barcelona is one of the slowest team in competition. Barca showed improvement in defensive area in last games and with Dorsey under the baskets they should continue doing that, especially in such important game as this one. Khimki on other side is 7-3 for under at home. I think we have ~6 points of value here.
Prediction: Khimki 74:80 Barcelona
Unicaja – Panathinaikos
Market can’t ignore that Unicaja failed to cover the spread in last 5 games and by average losing the spread by 15 points (!!!) during this black run… In Athens Malaga lost by 2 points being 8.5 dog, so normally should see 1.90-1.90 line here (or close to it). Markovic in today, but Nedovic is out as well as Smith, who is long term absence (with no sub signed at transfer window). Unicaja players and coach were fined this week due the bad performance in all competitions, but I doubt that it will help to get out of that situation. They are out of ideas, what is going with them. Maybe they need new coach & fresh ideas to relaunch, or maybe all they need some confidence… Their long-time problem is that they fail to sign top-level player, who can be a true leader of the team.
PAO has improved its roster and showing solid basketball recent weeks. They have cup final on Sunday, but that should an easy walk for them against best A-2 team, so I expect them to be motivated in Malaga.
I expect PAO to win, but line already adjusted and has no value. But in-play we might get better odds on PAO in case of Unicaja strong start. Then we can jump on them.
Advice: Wait 2.00+ odds on PAO to win at in-play