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EuroLeague betting: Jan Vesely's absence leaves Fenerbahce vulnerable to missing out on the playoffs

EuroLeague betting: Jan Vesely's absence leaves Fenerbahce vulnerable to missing out on the playoffs

The Turks will struggle to cope without their key man and Real Madrid and CSKA could capitalise.

IF Fenerbahce are in danger of stumbling in the absence of Jan Vesely, then the top seed coming out of the EuroLeague regular season might not longer be a sure thing.

Which leaves both Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow in a position to capitalise if they pull off a strong surge towards the playoffs.

How critical, hence, could their meeting be on Friday when it comes to determining the final placings? Highly so, with the head-to-head tiebreaker on the line as well as the opportunity to turn up the heat on their Turkish rivals.

With CSKA – who are priced at 1.42 to come out on top - claiming a 93-88 victory in the Spanish capital in Round 10, it gives the hosts a precious edge as they get a shot at closing in on cementing a post-season berth.

Their status has been boosted by a three-game winning streak that was extended with a demolition of in-form Buducnost last week, with the Russians conceding an average of 71.6 points during their present run and Nando de Colo rebounding from a frustrating showing against Bayern Munich to put down 25.5 points over his last two appearances.

So often, however, CSKA’s output hinges on the contribution of Sergio Rodriguez who faces his former side for the first time this season. The ex-NBAer played for Madrid from 2010 to 2016, and in those six seasons made four Final Four appearances, won the 2015 title and was named 2014 EuroLeague MVP, linking up with current Madrid players Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes for the entire time there and playing five seasons under head coach Pablo Laso.

He has averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 assists during CSKA's triumphant streak and keeping him, and de Colo, under wraps early on could be decisive, something which might point to a first quarter tally of under 41 total points.

What matters most, for both, may be hope. With lavish budgets and high ambitions, Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow expect to be contending for the title come May and their impressive displays have seen them made co-favourites with Fenerbahce with the trio all now 3.25 for the crown.

This clash will be a huge benchmark in addition to providing an advantage when it comes to the final sums and the gain of home advantage in the latter rounds of the playoffs. CSKA’s dynamic defence against Real’s potent offense is a contrast in styles.

With so much at stake, another tight squeeze appears on the cards with the better value on Madrid at +3.5 on the handicap.

Best bet: Go under 168 total points in CSKA Moscow – Real Madrid

Pitfalls in Piraeus

Among the hot preseason tips following the addition of David Blatt as head coach, Olympiacos continue to find a perfect formula elusive.

Now out to 16.00 for the title, they face an awkward visit to his former team – Maccabi Tel Aviv – on Thursday with the Israelis providing no respecter of reputations in recent weeks.

Consistency has been hard to achieve, especially in successive heavy losses by the Greek giants to Fener and FC Barcelona.

No player has started every game for Olympiacos and of the 12 players with an appearance this season, Zach LeDay is the only one yet to get a start. And this week, Nikola Milutinov and Kostas Papanikolaou are both doubts, a problem offset by the signing of NBA journeyman Briante Weber to add extra offensive and playmaking punch.

Since December, Maccabi has won its last five EuroLeague home games and although they are only 9-12, their form makes them justifiable 2.55 favourites. If Olympiakos is to break out of their slump, they will need the kind of scoring that would make going over 158.5 points at 1.91 worth a punt.

A £10 bet on Fenerbahc2019-02-07e to win the EuroLeague returns £32.50





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Mark Woods
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