The double round week shows no sign of letting up in Euroleague. LDLC Asvel look to end their losing streak when they take on Zalgiris Kaunas
LDLC Asvel are looking to end an historically bad run of form while Zalgiris Kaunas aim to keep their fading playoff hopes alive in Thursday’s big battle.
Who: LDLC Asvel vs Zalgiris Kaunas
Where: LDLC Arena, Greater Lyon, France
When: Thursday 4 January at 20.00 CET, 19.00 (UK/Ireland), 14.00 EST
Last time out
Despite an heroic double double from Mike Scott, Asvel went down convincingly to Partizan 90-77 on the road. This made it their 12th straight loss in Euroleague, with their most recent victory coming on 2 November.
Zalgiris hosted Alba Berlin on Tuesday night and rang in the new year with a 77-71 win. That W followed a run of six defeats in a row.
Mike Scott and Paris Lee have been the key performers for Asvel recently so how Zalgiris contain them will be relevant here. The relative lack of depth on the French team’s roster, by Euroleague standards, means that it’s not so much a case of needing to shut them down for Zalgiris as it one of ensuring they don’t go full Superman mode.
With Rolands Smits having an uncharacteristically awful outing against Alba, expect the big man to bounce back with authority in this game for the visitors. Keenan Evans and Edgaras Ulanovas have both been at the heart of everything that has worked for Zalgiris this season, so Asvel will need to contain both to remain in this game.
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Need to know
That long wait for a win for Asvel? Their last W was in the reverse fixture in Kaunas so that means the French side will at least have the belief that they can win this game.
Andrea Trinchieri, the newly arrived Zalgiris coach, began his tenure with that win over Alba Berlin. He knows that sweeping the bottom two teams in Euroleague this week is crucial to getting back in the playoff race.
What the bookies think
Asvel are in rare territory as favourites in this one, available at 4/6 on most markets. Considering their losing streak, that’s frankly extraordinary irrespective of the opponent. Zalgiris meanwhile are great value at 13/10 in some markets.
What we think
I got some flak for picking LDLC Asvel to be historically bad at the start of the season. I stand over that call now. Zalgiris may not be a powerhouse this season but they shouldn’t need to be in this one.
This one feels academic. The bookies are doing bettors a favour right now with the odds. It’s going to be unlucky 13 for Asvel.
Pick: Zalgiris to win straight up (13/10).