With the latest round of the EuroLeague upon us, basketball fans will be treated to a great matchup between Real Madrid and Olympiacos. The match is set to take place on January 10th, at 8pm GMT and will feature two of the top teams in the Euroleague. Fans are already getting excited for the game and there is a lot of Euroleague betting taking place by fans who like to wager on basketball. Let’s take a look at the two teams heading into the game.
At home: 7-1
Madrid was about to close out December a 5-0 record, but Fenerbahce had the last word (65-63), and so the defending champions missed the opportunity to join first place. Despite that, the view from second place is not bad at all. The last four wins over teams who also have their eye on the playoffs (82-84 over Efes, 92-65 over Barcelona, 89-68 over Panathinaikos, 72-82 over Bayern) contributed greatly to Madrid’s ranking. Its main characteristic is the luxury of having different protagonists every time. Anthony Randolph leads the team in points with 13, Gustavo Ayon leads in rebounds with 6.5, Facundo Campazzo leads in assists with 4.7. They have the second best offense and defense, and the best point differential with 11.5 points, while they are also first on the list of the assist to turnover ratio (1.7).
At home: 5-2
Olympiacos started December in fifth place and finished there, but with the important detail that the Reds are now tied with Efes. The win in the game between them (88-81) played its part, but the last defeat to Darussafaka (79-75), who until then had 12 consecutive defeats, set them back a bit. Despite this, Nikola Milutinov (MVP of Round 13, league leader in rebounds with 7.7), Vassilis Spanoulis (MVP of Round 14) and the rest, have no complaints. They just have to close the gap between their offense (ninth best, but second worst in turnovers with 13.0) and defense (fourth best), in order to return move up into the top four spots, where they haven’t been since Round 3.
Player to Watch: Gustavo Ayon
The Mexican center has been plagued by injury problems and, as a result, has played in just seven of Real Madrid’s 11 game. In those games, he averages 10.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and a PIR of 19.7.
However, the two stats that stand out concern his assists (3.1) and his efficiency in two-point shooting (75.6%). The European champion sees the court well, especially for a center, and knows when he has to pass or to finish a play.
Now it’s time to make a prediction. Many basketball experts are forecasting a win for Real Madrid, and for good reason. The team is sitting near the top of the standings and would be in first place if not for a close loss to Fenerbahce. However, Olympiacos should not be overlooked. The team is on an upswing and could be poised to pull of the unexpected upset. While the smart money is on Real Madrid, my gut is telling me that Olympiacos won’t go down without a fight. Milutinov and Spanoulis have been on a real tear lately and have been playing spectacularly. Against my better judgement, I am predicting a victory for Olympiacos.