How many times do you suppose Real Madrid will be a 10-point underdog this season…?
Of all the exhibition games going on in courts around the planet right now, few are more compelling than tonight’s Real Madrid-Utah Jazz NBA Europe Live tour game; still, it’s a bit surprising to see BallinEurope.com sponsor Bet365 post odds and a pointspread on a game that doesn’t count in the statistics. Particularly jarring is the sight of seeing Real Madrid on the wrong end of a 10.5-point handicap, and the 7/2 odds on the Spanish team to take the game outright.
So will Madrid cover? After all, Partizan dropped two by 30-point margins to the running Suns in the ‘States, arguably a weaker team overall than the Jazz. However, Real isn’t facing the long travel bouts their Belgrade counterparts did and plays Utah on a neutral court. Ettore Messina may be new to Madrid, but he does have some experience against NBA teams, having faced the Orlando Magic and Jorge Garbajosa’s Toronto Raptors with CSKA Moscow last year.
That’s the positive side. The negatives are grounded firmly in the injuries: Out are Darjus Lavrinovic, Felipe Reyes, and Tomas Van den Spiegel. Surely, Jerry Sloan won’t be overworking his big boys, but Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur will certainly be prepared to make the most of their time on the floor. Dudes like Garbajosa and Novica Velickovic have their work cut out for them, we’ll certainly get a good look at Cheikh Samb, and boy, are Real fans happy the team is deep in big men.
The Madrid game tonight would appear to be in the hands of the backcourt: Louis Bullock, Rimantas Kaukenas, Pablo Prigioni and Sergio Llull. Bullock and Kaukenas did not play in international ball this summer, so they might still have a bit of rust to kick off in the early going.
All in all, though, you gotta be thinking that Messina just doesn’t have the full complement he used with the Red Army to overcome the Raptors last year. Think Jazz by about 13.
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