The big game awaits us today in Kaunas. Two playoff contenders meets each other. If Zalgiris wins they will open their door to playoffs, because will own h2h record over Darussafaka and Efes and easier schedule.
Despite all the magic Jasikevicius do with his team we should not overestimate them a lot. This team is still full of average Euroleague players, who lacks experience on international and eurocup level. They never were in such situations like this one and it’s hard to predict, how good they will look like in such game. This is an absolutely must win game for Zalgiris, but they can qualify with 12 points loss too (if Efes will lose at least 3 of next 4 games). Anyway both teams are motivated, both in good moment of form, but Zalgiris plays at home and this is an important factor, because Efes is just 5-8 on the road this season and Turkish team often fails to show their best basketball playing abroad.
Looking to the roster I don’t see much difference between teams. On paper Zalgiris is absolutely capable to beat Efes, because they are close to their level. But Efes has something, that Zalgiris fear most in this Euroleague. Athletic power forwards, who can defend & score points (Brown, Dunston, Honeycutt). Lithuaniam team had problems against team bigger size teams like Fenerbahce, Crvena Zvezda, Real Madrid, Olympiacos.. Jankunas, Motum, Kavaliauskas are light-weighted forwards and they are not good in contact basketball. On top of this Zalgiris has very light and low-height points guards (Pangos and Lekavicius) and this is another threat.
The good points is that Zalgiris playing team basketball and right now they are looking very confident. Jasikevicius had built a system for this team, which works in every game, but sometimes fails to win games (despite playing good basketball).
I can’t see value at current odds on Zalgiris, because it’s really 50/50 game on paper for me.
As for the total there is good chance for under, but there is not enough value to take Under 158.5. Maybe at in-play markets we will have chance to get 165+ line to take it.
- Home avg. pace: 142 attacks (-)
- Home avg. scoring: 1,04-1,12 pts/attack
- Away average pace: 150 attacks (+)
- Away avg. scoring: 1.04-1,13 pts/attack
- Expected pace: 144 attacks
- Expected total range: 150-162 pts
Prediction: Zalgiris 79 – 77 Real Madrid
- Wait for 2,40+ odds on Zalgiris in 1st half to get value bet (they might return to the game after poor start)
- Wait for 165+ total line at HT and take Under, if there will be average pace and high percentages in 1st half
Paid subscription picks & previews
- Brose – Baskonia
- Fenerbahce – Maccabi
- Panathinaikos – Milan