By Lefteris Moutis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Both Olympiacos, as well as Panathinaikos, are going up against teams that are either in form (Real Madrid – Barcelona) or that have a strong home court and will be playing with their back against the wall (Baskonia), which makes their task even more difficult.
In theory, Olympiacos could get the win in Munich, but the image the two teams have been projecting shows that the Reds’ confrontation with Bayern is anything but easy. Quite the opposite.
Wilbekin Over 13.5 / 1.78
Pleiss U 8.5 / 1.88
We’ve picked three bets from the game between Anadolu Efes and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Istanbul, in Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s debut on the visiting team’s bench. Efes are in form and look capable of big things at the start of the season. Despite that, replacing the coach is always good for a team and Maccabi Tel Aviv’s roster is too good to continue with such poor performances. We’re expecting a reaction from the Israeli team before it’s too late and they lose sight of the big goal of – at least, initially – making the Top 8. We don’t know whether Maccabi are capable of winning the game, but they can definitely fight for it, and this is why we’re going with the rather big handicap of 6.5 points for the visiting team.
Scottie Wilbekin’s Over 13.5 can be bet on marginally. In theory, his line is normally quite higher but we’re seeing it so low because the American point guard is coming from a streak of poor performances and also the injury. Perhaps changing coaches might be good for Maccabi’s star too and he will return to good performances. On the other side, we’re going with the Under 8.5 for Tibor Pleiss, since the German center has fallen behind in the rotation and is now playing for 12-14 minutes. Bryant Dunston is in excellent form and Ergin Ataman has been trusting him more in recent games. If he doesn’t have foul trouble, then he’ll probably play for about 25 minutes for yet another game.
Bayern Munich – Olympiacos 2 / 1.73
Olympiacos have the experience in order to react and we think they will do just that. David Blatt’s team cannot afford another defeat, especially on a home court where, theoretically, they should win. Bayern are excellent at home and, so far, only CSKA Moscow has managed to completely dominate in Munich. Even so, we’ll take a risk and choose Olympiacos’s experience and character over the home team’s form. The payoff on the away win is constantly increasing, as the market is going with a home win, and now a win for Olympiacos is set at 1.73. Under 1.70 it would have no value.
Panathinaikos – Barcelona 1 / 1.50
Panathinaikos find the way, even when they aren’t playing well, to win at home. Pascual’s team have a very tough game against a Barcelona team that is in very good form and dangerous, though their mentality is soaring after the win against Olympiacos. The Greens won’t be caught off guard as, judging from their statements, they seem to understand how crucial this game is, and they recognize that, despite their wins in the big games against Olympiacos, they still need to improve several aspects of their game if they want to get another win at the Olympic Sports Center Athens. We are going to trust the home court factor and the character that Panathinaikos show at home and will include the 1.50 payoff in our bets.
Armani Milan – Baskonia 2 (+3.5) / 1.88
Another game where we’ll choose the outsiders, based on their changing coaches and the improvement of mentality that entails. There are no huge differences between the Basques and Armani Milan in terms of the quality of their rosters. Especially with the absence of Nemanja Nedovic, the home team loses a good chunk of its strength in the backcourt, where they were superior to Baskonia. Velimir Perasovic’s team isn’t looking good so far, but this week they have two games against Armani Milan and Panathinaikos that are like finals to them. We’re not going to risk it with a bet on the away win, but we’re going to go with the +3.5 handicap, which might turn out to be decisive in the end, in what we’re expecting will be a close game.
- Anadolu Efes – Maccabi Tel Aviv 2 (+6.5) / 1.88
- Scottie Wilbekin Over 13.5 / 1.78
- Tibor Pleiss Under 8.5 / 1.88
- Bayern Munich – Olympiacos 2 / 1.73
- Panathinaikos – Barcelona 1 / 1.50
- Armani Milan – Baskonia 2 (+3.5) / 1.88