Welcome to the Euroleague 2016/17 season. As usual we open new season with free pick for Real Madrid – Olympiacos game, but if you want to have full coverage consider to become paid member of our site.
After failing to qualify for Final Four Real decided to make some minor changes in their roster to prepare for new Euroleague season.
Team management decided not to fire successful coach Pablo Lasso, after he won Spain crown by beating Barcelona 3-1 in finals. The decision was to sign contracts with motivated players, who can improve Real defense (which was really poor last season). Key missing from last season is Sergio Rodriguez (signed with Philadelphia 76ers). He was replaced by defensive specialist Dontaye Draper (Loko), who played for Real Madrid 2 seasons ago. A.Randolph (Lokomotiv) and O.Hunter (Olympiacos) came to replace Lima and Herhangomez. Both signings is a huge boost for Real defense and roster depth. Pablo Lasso can count on 13 players in Euroleague.
Olympiacos is a little bit different story.
This team always had a champions heart and determination to fight and win titles. But due the limited budget can’t buy best players from all Europe. Olympiacos build their success on team effort and defense. They kept all important players from last season and made some good signings. They improved backcout by signing Eric Green (played for Siena 2 years ago in Euroleague) and less known Canadian Birch Chem from Usak. Not surprise that both are great defenders. Eric did 1.3 steals per game in D-League last season and Khem is confident shot blocker (41 blocks per 32 games in TBL last season). Plus there is Patrick Young, who was recovered from ACL injury.
The coach of Real Madrid has two player questionable Rudy Fernandez (knee) and Andres Nocioni (back). Othello Hunter and Jonas Mačiulis (hand) have not been trained normally in recent days.
Olympiacos with full roster, but there were some questions about P.Young availability (sinusitis), but seems he should be fit to take part in the game.
Olympiacos always force opponents play half-court basketball. But in this game slow pace doesn’t mean low score. Real offensive quality maybe too much even for Olympiacos defensive pressure. Last weekend Real played in Valencia and managed to score 94 points (11/22 from 3-points) from 80 posessions.
The weak point of Real Madrid is defense.
- Barcelona scored against them 99 points form 87 possessions
- Unicaja did 90 from 89
- Valencia 75 from 80.
Pablo Lasso fails to install defensive schemes (maybe because he is not familiar with this at all). Olympiacos has enough talent to use defensive weakness of opponents, especially playing at higher pace than usual. Also don’t forget about Euroleague new rules for unsportsmanlike fouls.
I expect Olympiacos to score 79-86 points, so my first pick of the season is:
Pick: Olympiacos over 79 @ 1.90 Pinnacle *
* odds at the moment of sending pick to paid subscribers