I know that Lokomotiv is 10-1 against the spread this season, but it’s absolutely logical to expect this trend to find some balance in Top-16.
Bookies gives -4.5 spread for hosts here and it means that Loko is slightly higher than Efes Pilsen in their rating. But when take a look to the rosters we see than Russian team has 2 top-level players (Delaney and Randoplh), Singleton, Claver, Broekhoff and Draper are supporting staff, which is ok for EL level + Voronov, Zubkov and Bykov as role players. However, Draper is game-time decision today with left hand injury (I expect him to play).
Efes Pilsen has 7 EL level players with big experience in main rotation + Osman, Korkmaz and Batuk (future of Turkish NT). They are deep and very well balanced team, which is doing quite good season so far. I agree that it’s hard to call Efes Pilsen class above Lokomotiv, but I can’t see them weaker side at any cost.
Lokomotiv success is based on their defense, which allows 0.8 pts/poss. at home, but they are just 0.94 pts/poss. in away games (quite average numbers). Such big difference in home and away performance in my opinion is because of opponents offensive level. In regular season they played in weak group, full of teams with bad offense. Efes has one of the best offense in competition. They scored 80+ points in all games and are 11/13 over 74 points in TBL and 10-0 over this total in Euroleague. I have big doubts that Loko defense is as good as numbers show, because their defensive quality in away games is much less effective.
So I go with 2 picks here. Efes to score over 74 points and Efes +4.5 as system picks with 3 points value (Loko is riding 3-0 ATS streak).