Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos
This is the biggest derby in Greece between two fierce rivals and there is a lot more at stake for the players than just a Euroleague win which, in any case, is much needed for both sides.
Olympiacos suffered a surprising loss to Darussafaka on the road (79-75), with a very poor offensive efficiency (36.6% FG), in their last EL game and that adds to their pressure ahead of this game. They have a 5-2 record at home in Euroleague (lost to Milano and Fener), scoring a massive 85.8 points per game but allowing a high 80.4p on average.
Olympiacos used to be the team that forced the high tempo in their games during the early days of coach Blatt, a few months ago, but a couple of heavy losses to Panathinaikos and Milano along with their defensive struggle in transition and from the perimeter have switched their focus in controlling the tempo. Coach Blatt talked on how Olympiacos will have to be extra energized on both ends and match Panathinaikos' excitement and morale that the recent change of personnel brought.
Olympiacos will miss useful F Timma who had 17p (5-6 3P) in their first-round meeting with Panathinaikos in EL.
Panathinaikos recorded a massive win against CSKA at home (96-84) in coach Pitino's debut. Things have been great for them during the last week, the morale of the team is ultra high, there is excitement among the players and optimism which was missing for quite a while.
Coach Pitino, who is a Hall of Famer with a huge reputation, commanded respect from the very first moment and every player in the team looks up to him which again was missing during the last few months of coach Pasqual's reign.
Coach Pitino inducted some 'outside the box' philosophies from the very begging like running pure motion offense (constant movement with flexibility which occasionally overrides premade set-plays) and the relentless attempts for any kinds of deflections that take time off the opponents' possession clock, which is something he has been repeating over and over since he arrived and has become famous.
Panathinaikos will miss Langford (top scorer 11.2p).
Only 4 of the last 20 meetings between those teams, during the last 3 years, had a combined total of more than 156 points.
The number of total points per game (on average) is 138p in their last 10 meetings in Peace and Friendship Stadium
The meetings between those teams traditionally have very low scores, occasionally the first quarter of even the first half would end with high scores but the score balances itself in the end, somehow. Olympiacos has already lost twice to Panathinaikos this season, a week ago there was excitement for what seemed to be a terrible season for their rival's but things changed so fast and so drastically since then. They will have to be careful as another loss, at home this time, to their rivals won't sit well! Pitino did not have time in his debut but as of now he has worked a lot with his players and we could expect to see some of his defense which made him famous in the NCAA, while Blatt is aware and he is also expected to focus on defense. This is a very high line for this kind of Derby and the under is worthy of the risk.
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Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos prediction
|Under 156.5||Pinnacle||1.83||8||79-65 WON (+6.64 units)|