By Lefteris Moutis/ email@example.com
The column had a good start to the double round with 3 out of 4 hits (Under for the game in Barcelona, an away win for Zalgiris, Over for the once again excellent Williams), while CSKA’s game was snatched from their hands, which deprived us of a perfect record.
CSKA are looking for a breakout after the defeat in Istanbul to Fenerbahce, in a game they seemed to control for its greatest part. Despite that, Efes are excellent and especially competitive this season, regardless of whether they are playing at home or away. Ataman’s team can force the game to be decided in the details. CSKA, on the other hand, haven’t been winning their home games as easily as they would’ve liked as they even had a hard time against Darussafaka, the weakest team in the league so far. We’re going with the Turkish team’s handicap (+10.5) at 1.75.
Baskonia – Barcelona 1 (-3.5) / 1.67
Baskonia are looking in much better shape than Barcelona, who are, as of late, reminding us of last season’s team that never managed to find chemistry and rhythm. The Basques, on the other hand, have altered their image and their frame of mind completely after replacing their coach, and are back on track to make the Top 8. At home, one way or the other, they will manage to beat Barcelona and continue their mini winning streak with Perasovic on the bench. The home win is offered with a low payoff, so the handicap is worth the risk.
Khimki – Darussafaka 2 (+10.5) / 1.91
Khimki are having their known problems with the huge absences of Shved and Gill, while even though Darussafaka may be losing, they are competitive even on tough away courts. The addition of Douglas strengthens the visitors considerably on the offensive end and creates a full backcourt together with McCallum and Brown. Khimki have the upper hand even with these absences, but their task will not be as easy as the betting companies’ payoffs would suggest. The +10.5 is perhaps high for the Turkish team and is worth including it on one of our bets.
Panathinaikos – Armani Milan 1 / 1.40
The payoff for a home win is low but can be included on a bet with similar payoffs as it’s going to be very difficult for Panathinaikos to be beaten at the Olympic Sports Center by Armani. Not that it’s an easy game. In fact, we would suggest just the opposite, as the Greens aren’t looking so good and they’ve had a hard time at home, even against opponents that are lesser teams than Armani, who have been excellent this season. Besides, the trio of James – Nedovic – Micov looks unstoppable right now, while the Italians have quality in every position. Despite this, Pascual’s team is essentially playing to… stay alive, even though it’s still early, because, in case of a defeat, things will become complicated not only in their effort to make the Top 5, which is priority number one, but to qualify for the Top 8 as well.
1. Panathinaikos – Armani 1 / 1.40
2. Khimki – Darussafaka 2 (+10.5)
3. Baskonia – Barcelona 1 (-3.5)
4. CSKA – Efes 2 (+10.5) / 1.75