It’s been one of the wildest off-seasons in European history so, naturally, the markets have gone wild trying to work out exactly who is going to be in the mix to make it to the 2020 Euroleague Final Four. Emmet Ryan takes a look at where the value is with the early odds
You take one look at the past few seasons and there’s been a familiar name missing from the last weekend of the season. Since their disappointing display in Milano in 2014, Barcelona have failed to make the biggest weekend of the season and in two of the subsequent five seasons they didn’t even make the playoffs. Yet here they are, at 4/1, as the prohibitive favourites to lift the title come year end. Now looking around, and it really shows across every basketball betting web site, the Blaugrana’s spending splurge in the summer has got them a lot of heat. Who runs the offence however remains a real question as that’s going to dictate how effective all these moves really were.
Beneath Barcelona, and awfully close to them, is a really tight pack. Fenerbahce are 9/2 on most markets, despite an uninspiring display in the Final Four last May and losing Marko Guduric to the NBA. It’s the other moves made by the 2017 champions that has the market confident of the Istanbul giants coming back to the big show. I definitely like them to make the dance but I think punters should wait for the price to move out a bit, they should hit 6/1 at some point in the season.
Like Fener, Real Madrid are priced at 9/2 and that’s just disgustingly poor form from the bookies. Despite impressing mightily last season, there have been so many movements with the club that bettors should be getting 6/1 at worst on Los Blancos and really 7/1 should be there. They probably will make it to the last weekend of the season but are far from a sure thing and this is just dire value all round. Similarly, for all the talent that has come in to defending champions CSKA Moscow the level of changes makes their 5/1 price far too stingy. Really, the top four as a whole have too little variance. Granted, that’s partially down to the market not knowing how to react but the fourth favourites should never be tighter than 7/1 in this market.
Lastly, we look at the value plays where teams have a decent shot at the Final Four but, crucially, should enable some arbitrage come playoff time. The big one here is Anadolu Efes who the books are basically betting on having a sophomore slump. They retain the core of the side that almost won the whole thing a few months ago, know what they are which is all too rare in this league, yet are still available at 11/1. Down the list, the other money play is Panathinaikos. I don’t see the Greens winning it all, I do see 20/1 as an absolute bargain for punters to work off come the post-season. Finally, at 33/1, Khimki could well provide the most value of the season and they have the potential to have a campaign similar to that of Efes a year ago.