EuroLeague Primer: Round 17 - Thursday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 17 - Thursday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.




Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul at Zalgiris Kaunas

Status Check: Nemanja Bjelica (FBB), Tonye Jekiri (FBB), Tarik Biberovic (FBB), Tyler Cavanaugh (ZAL), Mantas Kalnietis (ZAL), Liutauras Lelevicius (ZAL)

The Breakdown: The first game up will be pivotal for both clubs, as the visitors will look to start the new year on a high note after dropping its last four EuroLeague games in 2022 and Zalgiris will attempt to push its record back above the .500 mark. Fenerbahce is favored by as many as 4.0 points, but Zalgiris will be a tough out in its home arena, where they are 6-2 this season. The secondary numbers certainly give the edge to the Turkish team, as despite their slow stretch they remain top-4 in both offensive and defensive rating, and they are 12.0 points better than their counterparts when it comes to net rating.

Best Bets for Success: It's pretty easy to identify the top option for Zalgiris, as Keenan Evans led his team in DraftKings points six times over the last seven Rounds and is averaging 9.2 more points on that website than any of his teammates. Things are not so cut and dried on the Fenerbahce side, as five different players wound up their team's top producer over the last seven Rounds. It will be tough to ignore Johnathan Motley after watching him put up 40.0 points on DraftKings last week, but Zalgiris ranks top-5 against centers in points and rebounds and is the only team in the league limiting players at that position to a field goal percentage below 50.0 percent, but Nick Calathes looks like the player to go after, as he averaged 11.3 points, 8.l7 rebounds and 5.0 assists over his last three appearances and could do more on the defensive end than usual against a team allowing guards to record more steals than any other club.

Fantasy Factors: Scottie Wilbekin remains underpriced on DraftKings at $8,300, and he averaged over 30 points on DraftKings against Zalgiris a season ago. Fenerbahce ranks top-3 against forwards in points, rebounds, three-pointers and field goal percentage, which does not bode well for the next best options on the Lithuanian team's roster. Only one team is allowing centers to make a higher percentage of their shots than Fenerbahce, which could set up Kevarrius Hayes for success. This could also be a spot for Ignas Brazdeikis, who checks in at a season-low $6,600 on DraftKings.

Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz at ALBA Berlin

Status Check: Marcus Eriksson (BER)

The Breakdown: Points are not expected to be at a premium in a couple games Thursday, and this is one of them -- which comes as no surprise given that ALBA plays at the quickest pace in the league and Baskonia ranks second in the same category. These teams find themselves at exact opposite ends of the standings, but the Spanish squad -- which finds itself in first place thanks to six straight wins -- is just 3-4 away from home, and they are favored by as few as 4.0 points. If the hosts hope to walk away with another win after snapping a 12-game losing streak their last time out, they will need to erase a 12.1-point deficit in net rating and find ways to slow down a Baskonia offense that ranks second in the league in both points per game and offensive rating.

Best Bets for Success: Things set up nicely for Baskonia's guards on Thursday, as ALBA ranks bottom-5 against guards in points and FGA and is also allowing players at those positions to rack up more assists than any other club. In what figures to be a high-scoring affair it's tough to go against Markus Howard, but you can't get much safer than Pierria Henry, who has put up at least 20.5 DraftKings points in eight straight appearances. You could go a number of directions on the ALBA side, but Luke Sikma is as cheap on DraftKings as he has been since Round 1, which gives himi a better chance to return 3x value than anyone else on the German team's roster. Sikma reached double figures in the scoring column just once over the past seven Rounds, but he sits top-15 in the league in both rebounds and assists per night.

Fantasy Factors: Baskonia has a couple tough customers to deal with on the defensive end, but they also rank bottom-3 against players at those positions in points, rebounds and FGA, which bodes well for Maodo Lo and Jaleen Smith. The Spanish squad is also ceding more rebounds to centers than any other club, so look at Ben Lammers -- who put up at least 26.5 DraftKings points in three of his last four appearances -- and perhaps Johannes Thiemann. It's as tough to pick the right Baskonia center as it is to go with the right guard, but we like Steven Enoch's upside at $6,300 on DraftKings. Rokas Giedraitis also earns a mention, as he topped the 30-point mark on DraftKings last week as well as in his last appearance against his former club.

Panathinaikos Athens at FC Bayern Munich

Status Check: Panagiotis Kalaitzakis (PAO), Vladimir Lucic (BAY), Andreas Obst (BAY), Zan Mark Sisko (BAY)

The Breakdown: Neither of these teams have done much winning of late, with Panathinaikos dropping four straight and Bayern winning just once over the last five Rounds. This will be a pretty even matchup on paper, as these teams are separated by just two spots in the standings, eight points when it comes to point differential and just 0.4 points in net rating. The oddsmakers have given the edge to the German team, though, as they are favored by as many as 3.0 points on their home court. This is the only matchup of the day featuring two teams that average fewer than 80.0 points per night, which explains why the over/under on this contest is the lowest on the board.

Best Bets for Success: No player on Thursday's slate is averaging more points no more DraftKings points than Dwayne Bacon, who has put up at least 26.8 points on that website in seven straight appearances. He will have his work cut out for him Thursday, though, as Bayern is limiting opposing forwards to fewer shots than any other team and also ranks top-4 against players at thos positions in points and triples. Derrick Williams would be your next best option, but he is listed at the same position Bacon is. We have listed numerous Bayern players in this section this season, and in Round 17 we are going to go with both Augustine Rubit and Othello Hunter. Panathinaikos allows frontcourt players to get up more shots than any other team, and they rank last against forwards in rebounds and last against centers in points. It's going to be tough for them to match the dueling double-doubles they dropped in Round 16, but it's not out of the question.

Fantasy Factors: If you want to target Bayern's frontcourt but save a few bucks, you could also check out Isaac Bonga and Freddie Gillespie, both whom have done enough of late to return 3x value in Round 17. Cassius Winston is also in consideration at $8,100 -- the cheapest he has been on DraftKings in two months. Bayern has had issues with centers as well, so we feel pretty good about Georgios Papagiannis on Thursday. You could also go with Nate Wolters or Marius Grigonis, whose rates have dropped dramatically on DraftKings.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna at FC Barcelona

Status Check: Daniel Hackett (VIR), Isaia Cordinier (VIR), Awudu Abass (VIR), Leo Menalo (VIR), Sergi Martinez (BAR)

The Breakdown: Both these teams enter on a 3-1 run in EuroLeague play, but the Italian team is 2-6 on the road and the Spanish squad is 6-2 on its home court, and Barcelona is favored by as many as 10.0 points. These clubs rate pretty similar defensively, but Barcelona has been far better on the opposite end of the court and is as healthy as they have been all season, so Virtus may need to control the pace to take home the win. The implied point totals suggest they will struggle to do so, however.

Best Bets for Success: Nikola Mirotic had a trio of pedestrian performances over the last three Rounds, but he could get going again Thursday, as Virtus ranks bottom-4 against forwards in points, threes and FGA per game. There are a few options to consider on the Virtus side, and the matchups don't help much, as Barcelona has contained players at every position. They have been particularly tough on guards, so we will go with Mam Jaiteh, who has been his team's steadiest contributor of late. 

Fantasy Factors: Tomas Satoransky could have landed in the section above, but we will keep him here for the time being. The production has been spready out pretty evenly on the Barcelona side, but Jan Vesely has gotten going a bit, and he will not run you much on DraftKings at $8,000. With Virtus down a couple guards, you can consider both Nico Mannion and Marco Belinelli. The matchup is hardly ideal, but both check in below the $5,000 mark. We are also going to list Jordan Mickey, as his DraftKings price has dipped $2,200 from where it was at three weeks ago.

AS Monaco at Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade

Status Check: Jordan Loyd (ASM), Adrien Moerman (ASM)

The Breakdown: The final contest of the evening should be a fun one, as the over/under on this game barely trails the total in the Baskonia/ALBA game discussed above. Both teams are below average in the pace department, but Monaco also is when it comes to defensive rating, and no team fares worse in that category than Partizan. The Serbian squad trails their opponent by eight points in the standings, but they also have won three in a row and are favored by as many as 2.5 points on their home court. The Roca Team has a couple things working for them, though, as they are one of only five clubs with a winning record on the road and own a 3.8-point edge in net rating.

Best Bets for Success: Mike James is coming off an uncharacteristically poor performance, but he will no doubt be looking to get back on track, and the conditions are ripe for him to do so, as Partizan ranks bottom-5 against guards in points, assists, threes and FGA. With Loyd still out, we are also going to go with Elie Okobo, who is coming off his best game of the campaign. Monaco has not been on tough as centers as they were earlier in the season, so there's little reason to stray from Mathias Lessort, who recorded his sixth double-double of the season his last time out and could have some extra motivation against the team he used to play for.

Fantasy Factors: We will kick off this section with Dante Exum, who has had some down games but also put up 21.5 DraftKings points six times over his last nine appearances. He also put up 32.3 DraftKings points when he saw Monaco just over 10 months ago. Zach LeDay will also be an appealing option on DraftKings at an affordable $8,800. Alpha Diallo could make a case to land in the section above after putting up at least 20.5 DraftKings points in seven of his last eight appearances, but he has trended downward a bit and checks in at $8,900 on that website, so we will keep him here.

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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Kevin O'Brien
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