Real Madrid continue to dominate the Euroleague basketball regular season but can Valencia spring a surprise on Thursday?
It’s a Spanish derby as Chus Mateo leads Real Madrid against a Valencia team looking to bounce back from defeat to Zalgiris Kaunas, despite a great all round display by Brandon Davies.
Who: Real Madrid (18-2) vs Valencia (10-10)
Where: Wizink Center, Madrid
When: Thursday 11 January at 20.45 CET, 19.45 UK/Ireland, 14.45 EST
Last time out
Real Madrid went on the road to take on FC Bayern Munich, and it was the current coach Chus Mateo that dominated his predecessor Pablo Laso as Los Blancos won 92-71. Vincent Poirier had himself as a day as Real eased to victory in Germany.
Valencia’s playoff hopes took a hit on Tuesday as they fell at home 84-79 to Zalgiris Kaunas. This was despite Brandon Davies having himself a big day with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
The Vincent Poirier vs Brandon Davies battle looks to be the obvious one but that overlooks Walter ‘Edy’ Tavares, who had a quite but very efficient evening in Munich. Countering the big threats of Real Madrid screams as the obvious challenge for Valencia.
In the back court, it’s impossible to look past Facundo Campazzo for Real Madrid. He is one of the two front runners for Euroleague basketball MVP, alongside Mike James of AS Monaco. Valencia’s main counter will be US veteran Chris Jones, who is having an impressive season but will need to step up a level on Thursday.
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Need to know
Valencia have a lot of motivation going into this. They need to make the playoffs in order to secure their spot in Euroleague Basketball next season and, of course, it’s always a big deal for a Spanish side to beat Real Madrid.
Brandon Davies has the added motivation of his many battles with Los Blancos while a member of FC Barcelona but Vincent Poirier is a man who often gets overlooked and will always seek his moment to grab the big stage.
What the bookies think
Real Madrid are understandably huge favourites at 1/5 and that is a fair price for them under these circumstances. Valencia, at 9/2, are big underdogs but I like the value in their price. With the straight up, the bookies have done right by bettors here.
The point spread is, understandably, where most people will be looking. Real Madrid are -9.5 point favourites in this. Again, that seems quite fair.
What we think
While the core of the discussion in this piece has been around Vincent Poirier and Brandon Davies, I would be stunned if Walter Tavares has a quiet night here. He rarely stays under the radar for consecutive games in Euroleague Basketball. Expect him to come out with authority in this one. That should lead Real Madrid to a dominant performance.
Much as I love the straight up price on Valencia, I find the spread more appealing here and with Los Blancos to take full control.
Pick: Real Madrid -9.5