Poring over some Sporting Bet odds and lines on Lega Uno basketball reveals a stunning amount of continued domination from Montepaschi Siena. Not only is Ferdinando Minucci’s team a 4/15 favorite to take the Italian title, they’re also an incredible 3/10 favorite to once again (again!) go undefeated at home.
So the question to our BallinEurope correspondent in Italy, Francesco Cappelletti, was: Just how good *is* Montepaschi, anyway? Responded Francesco:
On this Sunday, in the Supercoppa, Bologna (a 25/1 underdog to take the title) is going to have the pleasure of being the first Italian team to face bulldozer Montepaschi Siena, at the dawn of a new boring season. “Boring” because Montepaschi has just completed a three-peat, the team has confirmed nearly all of its players from 2008-09 (exceptions being Rimas Kaukenas and Morris Finley’s departures, while David Hawkins and Nikos Zisis are in), and three entire regular seasons have passed since the team last lost at home.
Last year, Montepaschi finished its regular season with only one loss (at Fortitudo Bologna) and Lottomatica Roma, in second place, finished something like 18 (!) points less, at the end. All these numbers, to say that even for this season, Montepaschi has few enemies, which could fight for first place. Will they go undefeated? Probably they will.
On the horizon, Lottomatica Roma (15/2) has reduced the budget and tries to get something good by its tough Italian core – a new and strange way to obtain success, here in Italy! – Armani Jeans Milano (7/1) may have the qualitatively closest roster to Siena, but must find the perfect harmony with so many new faces. Virtus Bologna, as its owner Claudio Sabatini loves to repeat, has no intention of spending a mountain of money only to finish behind Ferdinando Minucci’s creature. That’s a clear resignation statement, but that’s the reality.
As of the lower level, the Italian scene is full of interesting names and groups, but some of them are pure risks. Some credit must be given to Benetton Treviso (20/1) for acquiring one of the most intriguing prospects in all of Europe in Donatas Motiejunas and for its willingness to give space to its youngsters Andrea Renzi, Daniel Hackett and Daniele Sandri.
Angelico Biella (150/1) and Pepsi Caserta (300/1) look like underdogs ready to exploit their former NBAers Fred Jones and Jumaine Jones. Tercas Teramo (80/1) has lost two fundamental pieces in Jaycee Carroll and David Moss; they were however able to keep Peppe Poeta, maybe the most decisive Italian player nowadays.
Behind these teams, few squads persuade us that it’s still possible to give Montepaschi any trouble at all, and the general opinion suggests that this is the last year this kind of situation will happen: Next September, Romain Sato will probably be in another place (even another country); Terrell McIntyre will turn 33; and Ferdinando Minucci will have to choose between naturalized Shaun Stonerook and Benjamin Eze, due to new Serie A’s rules. Is it enough to say this season Montepaschi is more hungry than before?