The double round in Euroleague ends with a whopper as leaders Real Madrid host Anadolu Efes in a game with major playoff implications
With both Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes suffering defeats on Wednesday, both sides will be eager to bounce back in style on Friday night.
Who: Real Madrid (16-2) vs Anadolu Efes (7-11)
Where: Wizink Center, Madrid, Spain
When: Friday 5 January at 20.45 CET, 19.45 (UK/Ireland), 14.45 EST
Last time out
It was a rare loss for Los Blancos as Real Madrid suffered just their second defeat of the season, losing El Clasico to Barcelona 83-78. Real hadn’t lost since falling to Fenerbahce 100-99 on 30 November and had won six straight prior to that defeat.
Anadolu Efes meanwhile went down on the road to a recently strengthened Valencia side, 93-88. That brought their losing streak to five in a row.
When you take on Real Madrid, there are no easy battles but two stand out in such wildly different ways. Facundo Campazzo leads Euroleague in assists with 7.1 per game and he’s also averaging 11.3 points per game. That’s the little guy. Up front, there’s the biggest post weapon of his generation in Walter ‘Edy’ Tavares. He had a rough night on the floor against Barcelona but Real are deliberately keeping his minutes light enough for now.
With Anadolu Efes, the good news is that Shane Larkin is averaging 18.2 points per game, second best in the whole of Euroleague. He’s also the team leader in assists, with an impressive 5.4 per game. The bad news is that Larkin and Darius Thompson have to carry most of the load for this side and that limits their ability to deceive opponents.
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Need to know
That five game losing streak has become a major problem for Anadolu Efes. They are now a full 3 games back on the playoff places with just 16 to play and a lot of crowding above them. To get back in the conversation, Efes need to start picking up wins soon.
With Real Madrid, there’s no place you want to see them less than after a loss. Chus Mateo won the biggest title on the continent last season, yet still he faced rumours about his future. In response, he has adopted a leave no doubt approach. This is an angry Madrid team.
What the bookies think
The straight up prices on both of these teams are justified but offer little in the way of value. Real Madrid are unsurprisingly favourites at 1/5 while Efes are no longer than 9/2. Neither is a bet I’d recommend.
The point spread and total offer a lot more interest. Real Madrid at -9.5 favourites, which makes this one interesting immediately while the total of over 167.5 is essentially the bookies adding up the averages both sides are hitting this season and putting a number on it. That’s lazy and risky.
What we think
Both of these teams are going to come out pounding, if not necessarily firing. Were Real Madrid to have won El Clasico, I’d have been thinking of this as a Euroleague game where weird things might happen as their attention might lapsed. Los Blancos are now going to be locked all the way in and that makes me think they get a big number up early before Efes respond in kind.
In short, it should be high scoring for long stretches before eventually the inevitable happens when it comes to two teams in this sort of situation.
I expect Real Madrid to win and with quite a hefty score when all is said and done. They will be in the mood for a statement game. Efes will bring the fight, it’ll be enough to push the total but not to keep this one close late.
Pick: Real Madrid (-9.5) and the Over (167.5)