It’s the Luca Vildoza derby in Euroleague Basketball as Baskonia travel to Belgrade to take on Crvena Zvezda
We’ve reached the point in the Euroleague Basketball season where it’s harder to find games that don’t matter to the playoffs than those that do. That being said, this battle of Crvena Zvezda and Baskonia has major implications for the postseason race.
Who: Crvena Zvezda (9-12) vs Baskonia (11-10)
Where: Stark Arena, Belgrade
When: Thursday 18 January at 19.00 CET, 18.00 UK/Ireland, 13.00 EST
Last time out
Crvena Zvezda went to Italy and got an impressive win over Olimpia Milano. That ensured the Belgrade side stayed just one game outside of the play-ins in the extremely packed battle for the postseason in Euroleague Basketball.
Baskonia meanwhile proved equally impressive at home as they took care of business against Olympiacos. That followed a tough couple of losses at AS Monaco and FC Barcelona and put them in 10th spot, the last place in the postseason as things stand.
Crvena Zvezda may have the most balanced attack in the whole of the competition. Nemanja Nedovic leads all scores for them, with 12.9 points per game. That looks low but there are four other players averaging double digits for the Belgrade side. It’s a similar story across other elements. Luka Mitrovic leads them in rebounds, 5.2 per game, but Joel Bolomboy and Rokas Giedraitis are more than pulling their weight. Milos Teodosic stands out for his 5.7 assists per game. Again however, there are several other players proving key contributors as creators.
Upsetting that balance is the obvious task for Baskonia on D. Having Markus Howard as a clear offensive force will help in terms of forcing attention from the hosts. Chima Moneke and Tadas Sedekerskis have both proven impactful on both ends while Codi Miller-McIntyre carries the creative load.
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Need to know
For all of their phenomenal support, Crvena Zvezda have not been invincible at home. Road teams have enjoyed plenty of success against them in the Stark Arena this season. That may prove cold comfort to Baskonia. Despite having a 5-5 record on the road this season, they have lost each of their last three away games in Euroleague Basketball.
What the bookies think
I bash sportsbooks enough for denying value options to bettors. When they get it right, I make sure to point that out. Crvena Zvezda are 3/5 favourites while Baskonia are 6/4. Those are reasonable prices that punters can appreciate.
The point spread favours Zvezda at -4.5. That’s quite tasty as this one stinks of being extremely close right to the end.
What we think
This should be a fun watch. As for who wins, I think Crvena Zvezda’s absolute need situation in Euroleague basketball stands out here. I am also not wild about Baskonia’s recent run outside of Vitoria-Gasteiz. I’m going with the home side but I’m walking away from the spread.
Pick: Crvena Zvezda straight up.