By Lefteris Moutis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The previous week was relatively good for our column since three out of our five tips were verified. Panathinaikos and Olympiacos paid us well through Antetokounmpo and Milutinov, while the Under at the Olympic Sports Center Athens came easily. Maccabi and Real got wins in the end with impressive comebacks but couldn’t cover the differences we wanted.
The courses of the two teams share many similarities this season. Both started with great ambitions in the competition and had notable rosters. Despite this, their performance was disappointing and, as a result, they went ahead and replaced their coaches. Now, they look improved and they will very likely become strong contenders in the qualification race for the quarterfinals of the competition. In this encounter, we’re going to go with Maccabi and the home court advantage, which we think can tip the balance in favor of Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team. At 1.71, a home win is acceptable and we’ll hold on to it.
Bayern Munich – Zalgiris Kaunas 2 / 2.00
Bayern has been pretty strong at home so far, while the paradox is that the same is true of Zalgiris away from home. Sarunas Jasikevicius’s team, in fact, is much better on the road than it is at home, since even in the games they lost (for example, in Moscow to CSKA), their performance was excellent. The absence of Booker is important for the home team and may play a part in the outcome. This is a crucial game for two teams that are looking for a way to… sneak into the Top 8 and, right now, they are in the same situation. We are going to trust the Lithuanians on one of our bets, even if they are also missing Antanas Kavaliauskas, while Nate Wolters also is hurt in the ankle. Still an away win at 2.00 is worth betting on since, to us, the visitors are the favorites in this game.
The game against Efes is a crucial one for Olympiacos, for many reasons. The main one is the fact that it seems like Efes is going to be one of the teams that will contend for a spot in the Top 4 in the rankings. This means that if Blatt’s team wants to stay on track for the home court advantage, they’ll have to win this game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. The game is not easy as the Turks are especially competitive this season, both at home and away, but in Piraeus, Olympiacos have the upper hand and it will be difficult to catch them off guard. The home win is offered at a low payoff to be a single bet, but the 1.42 could be included on a combo bet with similar payoffs.
Real – Barcelona
El Clasico this week in Spain with Real hosting the encounter. The two teams are going against each other for the second time this season since they’ve already clashed in the domestic league on Barcelona’s home court, and the Catalans were the big winners in that one. Of course, several things have changed since that confrontation as Sergio Llull is back in action. Real have the upper hand and, the easy way or the hard way, they will manage to get the win. However, it’s worth including Barcelona’s handicap in our choices, as they are not expected to give in to the Madrilenos so easily. The +9 at 1.71 has a good chance of being verified.