This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.
- ALBA's Ben Lammers will not play Friday.
- Partizan's Gregor Glas will not suit up for Round 1.
- Miroslav Raduljica and Dalibor Ilic will not play Friday for Red Star, but Ognjen Kuzmic and Filip Petrusev will both be available.
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The Breakdown: The back-to-back defending champions will open up the second day of action in Round 1 with a home game against the visiting Serbian squad. While the Turkish team will be down one half of its dynamic backcourt duo, the oddsmakers are still expecting a big night from Efes, as they are expected to win by well over 10 points and have a moneyline nearly three times higher than the next closest favorite. Red Star will also be shorthanded in the backcourt, and the absence of Nedovic -- the favorite to lead his team in scoring -- is particularly notable.
Best Bets for Success: Larkin and Vasilije Micic usually both share this spot, Micic gets it all to himself in Round 1. Micic is one of only two players on the slate who averaged more than 30.0 DraftKings points last season and seems about as safe as they come in fantasy contests. It's no easy task identifying the top option for Red Star in Round 1, but we're going to go with Jaylen Adams in his EuroLeague debut. Adams led his team in scoring in its domestic opener and was named MVP of the top Australian league last season. He could be an absolute steal on DraftKings at just $4,500.
Fantasy Factors: Even without Larkin there is a ton of talent on the Efes roster. Rodrigue Beaubois is the player most likely to see added opportunities and scored 21 points in the Turkish team's domestic opener. Ante Zizic and Achille Polonara are priced properly in the EuroLeague Challenge but are almost must-plays on DraftKings, as Zizic is listed at the minimum and Polonara just above it. Zizic seems like the better play if you're only going with one of the two, but Polonara is a worthy pivot. Given the absences in Red Star's backcourt, there is room for more than one guard to shine, so Nikola Ivanovic is worth considering both on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge. The circumstances are different of course, but Efes really struggled with forwards last season, so you can consider Luka Mitrovic in the Fantasy Challenge and John Holland on DraftKings.
The Breakdown: Partizan will hit the road in its return to the EuroLeague and take on an ALBA team that has gained some confidence in recent months. It's tough to argue that the Serbian squad does not have the edge in talent, but they are only favored by a couple points. This is expected to be the highest-scoring game of the day, though only slightly more than the next contest.
Best Bets for Success: Luke Sikma and Maodo Lo easily led the German club in average DraftKings points last season, and they are in position to do the same in the new campaign. Lo is a bit expensive on DraftKings but figures to be a popular pick in the Fantasy Challenge. Sikma -- as he does -- averaged 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists over ALBA's first two domestic games, and he is particularly appealing on DraftKings at just $7,900. The player most likely to produce for Partizan is Kevin Punter, a proven scorer who should be itching to fill it up in his return to the top level of competition. Residing on the fourth page of options, he will likely be popular in the Fantasy Challenge.
Fantasy Factors: Jaleen Smith is off to a hot start in domestic play, averaging at least two tallies in five categories, and he looks like a player to go after in the Fantasy Challenge even if he's a bit pricey on DraftKings. Ioannis Papapetrou and Mathias Lessort are relatively affordable on the EuroLeague's website but are both plenty affordable on DraftKings, as neither checks in above $7,100. Uros Trifunovic is a player to consider in both contests after a couple productive appearances on the domestic side.
The Breakdown: This is a particularly intriguing matchup, as it features two teams trying their hardest to break into the upper tier of European clubs. The Italian team will be playing its first EuroLeague game since 2008 and are down two of its top players, but they are still slight favorites in this one.
Best Bets for Success: Few players can put up fantasy points like Mike James, who recorded at least 31.5 DraftKings points in the last four EuroLeague games he appeared in. Monaco has a lot more talent in the backcourt than they did last season, but James is worth going after for the simple fact that he is not the priciest option available on DraftKings or in the Fantasy Challenge. The absences on the Virtus side open up all kinds of opportunities, and Jordan Mickey and Semi Ojeleye are the most likely to capitalize. Mickey has a history of putting up big numbers when given the chance, and Ojeleye was getting minutes in the NBA as recently as last season. Both players are relatively affordable in the Fantasy Challenge but look like big bargains on DraftKings, with neither being listed above $7,300.
Fantasy Factors: There are a lot of new faces on the Monaco side, and the most appealing fantasy option in the opener is John Brown, who set the EuroLeague single-season steals record despite playing just 25 games during the previous campaign. Another newcomer is Jaron Blossomgame, who is a paltry $3,000 on DraftKings and has already produced in domestic play. Alpha Diallo is back for another go-around, and his versatility alone earns him a mention. Iffe Lundberg and Daniel Hackett should be busier than he usually is with Teodosic out, and both check in lower than could be expected on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge.
The Breakdown: The last game on our list features the two teams that finished atop the regular season standings a season ago. Both teams will be plenty motivated this season after falling just short of a spot in the Final, but Barcelona will have to do without the reigning MVP in Mirotic to kick off its campaign. Despite that rather notable absence, the Spanish squad is still favored by a handful of points.
Best Bets for Success: Barcelona will be without its best player, but Olympiacos has its, and that would be Sasha Vezenkov, who did not fare much worse than Mirotic by snagging a spot on the All-EuroLeague First Team. Vezenkov was particularly effective against Barcelona last season, averaging 15.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 29.0 DraftKings points. He could be a bit of a bargain on that website beneath the $10,000 mark. Mirotic will almost always occupy this spot when healthy, but other Barcelona players will need to fill it for a while. Mirotic's absence opens up a lot of opportunities in the frontcourt, so we are going to list both Nikola Kalinic and Jan Vesely for Round 1. The versatile Kalinic has been more productive in domestic play, but only two players taking the court Friday averaged more DraftKings points than Vesely did last season.
Fantasy Factors: The Spanish team has several intriguing options in this category, and we will start with Alex Abrines, who looks like a bargain both on DraftKings and in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge. Abrines should start Friday with Kuric sidelined, and he averaged 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds over Barcelona's first two domestic contests. Tomas Satoransky are a bit pricey in the Fantasy Challenge but are quality option at DraftKings. Satoransky is an affordable $8,100 and Tobey checks in at a meager $3,100. Last but not least is Rokas Jokubaitis, who looks ready to take even one more step and is just $4,900 on DraftKings. The production could be spread out pretty evenly on the Olympiacos side, but Alec Peters and Isaiah Canaan look like useful fantasy options for Round 1. It will be interesting to see how Canaan fares in his first appearance at the Palau since shushing the crowd there last season.