Zalgiris vs Baskonia (By: Demogorgon)
Zalgiris was Euroleague's Cinderella last season where they made it to the Final 4 and showed emphatically that basketball is not necessarily all about huge budgets and star players as if you have the spirit, the will and a great coach like Saras, anything is possible.
Baskonia reached the playoffs (knockout stage) last season but they faced Fener with home court advantage and that was just a bit too much for the Spaniards. Things are different this season as the Basques will host the Final 4. They want to make sure that they will make it there and the best way is by claiming the home court advantage (finish 1st-4th in the regular season), which means that games like this one are very important for their cause.
Zalgiris went through many changes this summer as they lost two important players for their rotation (Toupane-Olympiacos, Pangos-Barca) but on the other hand, Saras replaced them with players who can all contribute to some extent on both ends like G Westerman, G Wolters, G Walkup, G Grigonis.
Jankunas is still the captain, leader, and spirit of the team but there are no star players as Saras loves to have 'disposable soldiers'. That means players that will stick to the plan, foul when they have to even if they get in trouble and always put the team first. As a result, there is no go-to guy, everyone single player in the roster contributes more or less and that makes them a solid, compact team tough to beat.
Baskonia is one of the few teams that kept its core players from last season (Voigtman, Shengelia, Poirier, Huertas, Janning, Granger) and although they lost F Beaubois and F Timma, they replaced them efficiently with players like F Garino, F Shields, F Hilliard.
Baskonia is definitely in a better state as they have great chemistry and coherence with the same coach and main core from last season and despite their surprising loss to Burgos, they have been good so far in the first few games of the season.
Zalgiris ranked 1st in fouls (committed) per game last season and excessive fouling is a common thing in their games which on the one hand can lead to easy points (FTs) but on the other hand, also disrupts the flow/ rhythm of the game. (but let's not be sure about easy points from FTs cause I ruined a great parlay last time I picked Baskonia cause they missed a combined total of more than 20 FTs)
Breaking down those two teams: Zalgiris likes set-plays in both ends and plays a very physical game. They will try to control and lower the tempo and foul whenever necessary to intercept Baskonia's transition, while in the offence they like to use the clock, set their picks and find the best option available with no rush.
Baskonia on the other side likes to harass their opponents with fast-break transition early in their games (as long as they have the energy) but they also have the big bodies and can do a lot of damage from inside the paint in set-plays.
This is a rather high line in a match that seems highly unlikely that both teams will reach 80p thus the under has a decent edge at 160p.
Zalgiris vs Baskonia prediction
|Under 160.0||Bet365||1.90||4||79-87 LOST (-4 units)|