With both teams fighting for their postseason lives in Euroleague Basketball, it promises to be a tense one between Anadolu Efes and Olimpia Milano on Friday
This feels like the last chance saloon for Anadolu Efes and Olimpia Milano. Their play-in hopes in Euroleague Basketball hang by a thread. That makes Friday’s clash one with high stakes.
Who: Anadolu Efes (9-15) vs Olimpia Milano (10-14)
Where: Sinan Erdem Dome, Istanbul
When: Friday 2 February at 18.30 CET, 17.30 UK/Ireland, 12.30 EST
Last time out
Anadolu Efes went to Kaunas on Wednesday night and got destroyed by Zalgiris. The 96-70 win was their heaviest defeat of the season to date. It also had implications for the rest of their campaign but more on that later.
Olimpia Milano looked offensively inept in defeat at Panathinaikos. Even with Kendrick Nunn far from a crisp shooter for the Greek side, they still cruised to a 79-62 win. It does not bode well for a side that needs a spark to contend in Euroleague Basketball.
Shabazz Napier was the only Olimpia Milano player that left the defeat to Panathinaikos with dignity. Nikola Mirotic will need to be closer to his best in this one. In truth, greater contributions are needed in every department.
Anadolu Efes have no shortage of scorers but Shane Larkin has been the key player of them all. If Larkin can enter takeover mode, then it could be a long night for the visitors.
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Need to know
Erdem Can is out as head coach at Anadolu Efes. It’s easily the most high profile ouster in Euroleague Basketball this season. Can has been a rising star in the coaching ranking in recent seasons.
After an impressive long stint as an assistant with Fenerbahce, Can won a lot of fans for his work as an assistant with the Utah Jazz. His lone season as head coach of Turk Telecom only raised his stock more, leading him to Anadolu Efes. The results in Euroleague however simply haven’t been enough and he’s gone.
What the bookies think
Anadolu Efes are clear favourites in Euroleague Basketball betting at 2/5 while Olimpia Milano are priced at 15/8. Those are reasonably balanced prices from the sportsbooks so I’ll give them credit there.
The point spread has Efes as -5.5 point favourites here, which is fair considering the outright prices. The point spread of 161.5 really is a curious one.
What we think
It’s really hard to see anything but an angry display by Anadolu Efes in this one. With Erdem Can gone, this team will be led from the floor. That is huge considering just how reliable the men in those roles are for the home side.
Olimipia Milano are stuck in an offensive rut. They might keep this one from being a track meet but they won’t keep it too close. The lights are ready to go out on their Euroleague Basketball campaign.
I’m walking away from the total as this one really could go wildly either way. The victory for me seems there for Anadolu Efes. More than that, they are ready to cover.
Pick: Anadolu Efes -5.5 points.