EuroLeague Primer: Round 1 - Thursday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 1 - Thursday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

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STATS AND INFO.

THE SLATE

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne

The Breakdown: These teams finished at nearly opposite ends of the standings a season ago, and although Milan hit the road down a few key players, they are still favored by a handful of points. This is expected to be the lowest-scoring game of the day, with an over/under of 152.0 points.

Status Check: Shavon Shields (EA7), Luigi Datome (EA7), Naz Mitrou-Long (EA7), Tommaso Baldasso (EA7), Charles Kahudi (ASV)

Best Bets for Success: Shields and Kevin Pangos will be Milan's best options over the course of the season, but the former is unlikely to go and the latter is still getting up to speed, so there are likely better options on their side for Round 1. The safest one looks like Nicolo Melli, who seems a bit pricey in both DraftKings and EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge contests but does have reliability on his side. ASVEL featured one of the best backcourt duos in the league last season, but they lost both players as well as uber-prospect Victor Wembanyama, so there is a lot of uncertainty on their side early on. With roles up for grabs, Nando de Colo figures to be a steadying presence for his new team out of the gate.

Fantasy Factors: The Italian team got pretty steady production from a number of players last season, and it looks like that will be the case again. Devon Hall should spend plenty of time on the court, and he will get a bit of a boost if Shields sits. He's a bit more appealing in the Fantasy Challenge than on DraftKings. Deshaun Thomas is a proven EuroLeague scorer and is worth considering on DraftKings at $6,800. What ASVEL lacks in proven options they make up for with potential bargains. Big men Joffrey Lauvergne and Youssoupha Fall are both plenty affordable, and Fall is particularly intriguing, having averaged nearly a point per minute in three domestic league appearances. Jonah Mathews earns a mention at a mere $4,600 on DraftKings.

Real Madrid at Panathinaikos Athens

The Breakdown: The circumstances in this game are nearly the same as the contest above, as the visitors finished far higher in the standings last season, are down some important pieces and yet are comfortable favorites. Madrid will be down five players listed at the forward spots, but they have the best depth in the league at those positions.

Status Check: Rudy Fernandez (RMB), Nigel Williams-Goss (RMB), Alberto Abalde (RMB), Adam Hanga (RMB), Anthony Randolph (RMB), Carlos Alocen (RMB), Nate Wolters (PAO)

Best Bets for Success: It will be tough for all of Mario Hezonja, Walter Tavares and Guerschon Yabusele to return value every time out, but they all deserve to be listed here to start the season. Hezonja received a rock star's welcome when he joined Panathinaikos two seasons ago, so you can bet he will be plenty motivated to return the love -- even as a visitor. The Greek team had a tough time with forwards last season and aren't too deep at those spots, which bodes well for Yabusele. Tavares shined in this matchup last year, averaging a double-double to go along with 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks. While a lot of that surely came against Georgios Papagiannis, the Greek big man also got the better of his counterpart, putting up 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks over the two contests. It's generally advised to avoid centers going against Real Madrid, but those numbers make Papagiannis both tough to pass up and the best option to produce for Panathinaikos.

Fantasy Factors: If Dzanan Musa keeps putting up points like he has in the ACB -- 37 of them over two games, to be exact -- it won't be long before he joins his teammates in the section above. He's pretty affordable in the Fantasy Challenge and looks like an absolute steal on DraftKings at just $6,600. Marius Grigonis took a step back last season, but he should see far more opportunities with his new team, and he was a big-time producer for Zalgiris in the past. He could be sneaky both on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge. Paris Lee is the favorite to start at point guard with Wolters out, and he will attempt to get the best of two guards in their mid-30s.

Zalgiris Kaunas at Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv

The Breakdown: No team experienced more offseason roster turnover than Maccabi, and the new-look squad will get to open its EuroLeague campaign on its home court. The oddsmakers are expecting them to gel quickly, as they are eight-point favorites and have the highest moneyline on the board. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as Zalgiris finished last season tied with ASVEL at the bottom of the standings.

Status Check: Dovydas Giedraitis (ZAL)

Best Bets for Success: Wade Baldwin and Lorenzo Brown have not spent much time playing together, but the former is the priciest player on the DraftKings slate and the latter averaged 2.4 points on that website than any other player taking the court Thursday. The expected outcome in this game caps their upside a bit, but both look particularly appealing in the Fantasy Challenge. You could make an argument for several Zalgiris players here, but we're going to be aggressive and go with Ignas Brazdeikis. He has never appeared in a EuroLeague game, but he is leading his team in both points and rebounds three games into its domestic season and dropped double digits in seven straight NBA games just six months ago. That's a lot to like for someone who costs just $7,200 on DraftKings. 

Fantasy Factors: If Brazdeikis is not the top option for the Lithuanian squad, it instead would be Kevarrius Hayes or Edgaras Ulanovas. The former looks like a better play on DraftKings, and the latter the same in the Fantasy Challenge. Rolands Smits is interesting on DraftKings at just $4,900. Josh Nebo and Bonzie Colson might not be bargains on DraftKings, but Nebo will be playing his former team and finished sixth in the league in rebounding last season, and Colson will be itching to show what he can do in his first EuroLeague campaign.

Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz at Valencia Basket

The Breakdown: Valencia returns to the EuroLeague with a home game against a fellow Spanish squad, and the oddsmakers are giving them the edge in this one. More points are expected in this game than any other played over the next two days, making it one to target for those filling out either DraftKings or EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge lineups.

Status Check: Martin Hermannsson (VBC), Millan Jimenez (VBC)

Best Bets for Success: Valencia's top producer figures to come from its backcourt, though it's tricky determining which guard to go with in Round 1. The safest option in the group is Chris Jones, who averaged a healthy 25.1 DraftKings points last season with ASVEL. A handful of Baskonia players could go here, but that wouldn't be too helpful, so we're going to play a hunch and go with newcomer Darius Thompson. Baskonia is thin in the backcourt, and Thompson is averaging a team-leading 16.5 points after two domestic contests.

Fantasy Factors: If not for a lack of track record Valencia's Jared Harper could find himself in the section above, as he put up 24 points in his ACB debut. He's particularly appealing on DraftKings at a meager $6,800. Bojan Dubljevic deserves consideration on that website at $8,000, as does Jasiel Rivero at $7,400. Markus Howard has not hit his stride yet, but he has the potential to put up points in bunches, making him a potential value at $7,700. Vanja Marinkovic's domestic season is off to a good start, and he is plenty cheap both on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge.

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul at FC Bayern Munich

The Breakdown: The final game on the list figures to be the most competitive, as it is the only one with a spread lower than five points, and the home team will be defending its home court as a slight underdog. These teams split their two matchups last season, with each winning as the away team.

Status Check: Nemanja Bjelica (FBB), Tarik Biberovic (FBB), Isaac Bonga (BAY)

Best Bets for Success: Few players were as productive last season as Scottie Wilbekin, who finished fourth in scoring and no lower than 13th in assists, steals and threes per game. He finds himself with a new team, but he averaged 24.0 points against Bayern during the previous campaign. Vladimir Lucic was a bit inconsistent last season, but he averaged more fantasy points than anyone on his squad and put up 40.25 DraftKings points against the Turkish team last November.

Fantasy Factors: Carsen Edwards, Johnathan Motley and Cassius Winston have a combined zero EuroLeague appearances among them, but all figure to be high-impact additions for their clubs. The two Fenerbahce players are a little pricey in the Fantasy Challenge, but all check in at $7,900 or below on DraftKings. It should be noted that Edward finished tied for second in the G League in scoring last season at 26.7 ppg. Both teams enter Round 1 relatively healthy, but with Bjelica out, Nigel Hayes-Davis is interesting on DraftKings at $5,100. Nick Weiler-Babb is pretty pricey on DraftKings, but he's also plenty affordable in the Fantasy Challenge.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Kevin O'Brien plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kevob100, DraftKings: kevob100.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin mans the Packers and Brewers beats and moonlights as RotoWire's Director of Operations.
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