EuroLeague Primer: Round 5 - Thursday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 5 - Thursday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

PREGAME UPDATES

STATS AND INFO.

THE SLATE

AS Monaco at Olympiacos Piraeus

Status Check: None

The Breakdown: These teams will square off for the first time since the Greek team's thrilling Game 5 victory in last year's Playoffs that literally produced fireworks. Because of those, this will be the first EuroLeague game this season that Olympiacos hosts with fans in attendance. Both teams are off to fast starts, but the oddsmakers expect the home team to remain undefeated, as they are favored by a handful of points. This game stands relatively alone by itself on the schedule, which will give viewers a chance to focus on Sasha Vezenkov and Mike James, the league's top two scorers through four Rounds.

Best Bets for Success: Either on DraftKings or in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge it will cost you a lot to include Vezenkov or James in your lineup, as Vezenkov is the priciest option on both websites and the only player who will run you more than James. You can bank on both coming through, though, as in addition to leading the league in scoring Vezenkov is also the best in both rebounds and index rating per game. Only two players are averaging more minutes than James and no one has gotten up more shots through four Rounds. Kostas Sloukas has not been quite as productive as either player, but he deserves a spot here as well, as he has put up at least 25.8 DraftKings points in all four games and did the same in each of his last three matchups with Monaco.

Fantasy Factors: Only one team is allowing guards to get up fewer shots than Olympiacos, so it may be best to focus on their frontcourt Thursday. Players at the forward spots have had some success against the Greek team, particularly from beyond the three-point arc. That brings John John Brown and Adrien Moerman into play on DraftKings and Alpha Diallo in the Fantasy Challenge. Thomas Walkup rarely stands out, but he regularly contributes in four categories and is leading the league in steals. He can be considered in both contests, as he remains below 10.0 credits in the Fantasy Challenge and is one of only four players on the DraftKings slate returning more than 3x value at his current price point. 

Panathinaikos Athens at Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv

Status Check: Dwayne Bacon (PAO), Darrun Hilliard (MTA)

The Breakdown: These teams had opposite results in the first double-game week of the season, as the visiting team lost twice while Maccabi picked up two victories on its home court. The hosts are 3-0 at home this season, and the oddsmakers expect them to add another tally in the win column, as they are favored by at least 7.5 points on three websites consulted. Panathinaikos should get a boost from Nate Wolters in his first EuroLeague appearance of the season, but they will have to wait to receive the same from Bacon, who will not debut Thursday.

Best Bets for Success: It's easy to identify the top picks on the Maccabi side, as Lorenzo Brown and Wade Baldwin IV have been the top two producers for their club in three straight Rounds. Both are plenty capable of returning meaningful value, but you may want to limit yourself to one of them Thursday, as the Greek team has done a good job containing opposing guards early on. You could make a case for as many as five Panathinaikos players in this section, which makes it no easy task identifying their preferred options. Maccabi has contained frontcourt players as well as anyone, so we will look to the backcourt, and with Wolters still working up to full speed in we are going to stick with Marius Grigonis for one more Round. If nothing else, Grigonis presents the best opportunity for value, as he checks in at just $7,500 on DraftKings and 8.9 credits in the Fantasy Challenge.

Fantasy Factors: Either or both of Derrick Williams and Mateusz Ponitka easily could have gone in the section above, so they certainly qualify for this section. Neither player is as affordable on DraftKings as they were in Round 4, but they are still returning some of the most value on the board. Williams should have some extra juice playing in the gym he played his home games in a season ago. With Maccabi's top two players stuffing the stat sheet regularly there has not been much left over for the rest of the roster, but one player who has quietly been producing is Roman Sorkin, who averaged 22.7 DraftKings points over the last three Rounds. Even at a season-high $7,300 on that website he has a chance to return value, and he is particularly appealing in the Fantasy Challenge at just 6.2 credits. 

ALBA Berlin at Valencia Basket

Status Check: Maodo Lo (BER), Marcus Eriksson (BER), Jaleen Smith (BER), Johannes Thiemann (BER), Jonas Mattisseck (BER), Jasiel Rivero (VBC), Jared Harper (VBC), James Webb III (VBC), Martin Hermannsson (VBC)

The Breakdown: It remains to be seen exactly who will suit up for either side, but regardless, both teams figure to get up and down the court, as they rank just behind the league leaders in the pace department. Despite Valencia trailing ALBA by two games in the standings, the experts like the home team, as they are favored by at least 3.5 points -- depending on the website -- in what is anticipated to be the most competitive contest of the day. To wind up on top, they will need to find holes in a defense that rates as well as any in the league and overcome a 21.5 point difference in the net rating department.

Best Bets for Success: While many of his teammates are banged up, Luke Sikma is not, and no one stands out more than him in this contest. Sikma is averaging at least 5.8 tallies in all of the points, rebounds and assists columns, and he has gotten up at least 10 shots in three straight contests. A lot of Valencia players have taken the court this season, but none of them has been out there as long as Chris Jones, who also averaged over 30.0 DraftKings points in the two games he played last week. Jones hit that mark both times he faced the German club last season and also averaged 23.0 points in those matchups.

Fantasy Factors: It seems more likely that Lo and Smith could play Thursday than it did in Round 4, which is the only thing keeping Tamir Blatt from landing in the section above. No player on the DraftKings slate is returning more average value, even with his price jumping to $8,900. Blatt will also be a player to target in the Fantasy Challenge at just 8.0 credits. Christ Koumadje is also a quality option on both websites, and Yovel Zoosman also earns a mention after a couple productive appearances. His prospects are best in the EuroLeague's contest, where he is listed at just 6.8 credits. No one on the Valencia side is returning all that much average value on DraftKings, but with Rivero still out, Bojan Dubljevic will remain in consideration for at least another Round. Dubljevic's minutes and field goal attempts have both increased during Rivero's absence, and he remains just $8,000 on DraftKings.

Zalgiris Kaunas at Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade

Status Check: Dovydas Giedraitis (ZAL), Alen Smailagic (PAR), Aleksa Avramovic (PAR)

The Breakdown: The Serbian squad picked up its first win of the season in Round 4 with a blowout of Virtus Bologna, and if the odds are any indication they will pick up another, as they are favored by 7.5 points across the board. Despite its 1-3 record Partizan is in the positive in the point differential column and even in net rating, which suggests better days are ahead. However, if they are to get back on track they will need to shore things up on the defensive end, as they rate worse there than any other team in the league.

Best Bets for Success: Partizan's top trio of Mathias Lessort, Zach LeDay and Kevin Punter got a chance to take it easy in Round 4, but they still played more minutes than anyone else on the roster and all are still averaging over 25.0 DraftKings points per night. Zalgiris is ceding fewer rebounds to opposing centers than any other team, so don't be surprised if Punter winds up leading the way for his team Thursday. Although he is coming off a Round 4 dud, Ignas Brazdeikis remains the most likely player on his side to have a big night. Against a team that struggles defensively, he will be in position to bounce back.

Fantasy Factors: None of Keenan Evans, Edgaras Ulanovas nor Rolands Smits will cost you more than $8,900 on DraftKings nor 9.2 credits in the Fantasy Challenge, so they all should garner consideration in Thursday's contests. Evans is leading his team in DraftKings points, Ulanovas has increased his point total on that website in three straight appearances and Smits has hit the 20-point mark on DraftKings in all four appearances. James Nunnally is coming off his best game of the season and looks pretty good on DraftKings at $8,100. Yam Madar is coming on, and he is plenty affordable in both contests.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna at Real Madrid

Status Check: Tornike Shengelia (VIR), Daniel Hackett (VIR), Isaia Cordinier (VIT), Awudu Abass (VIR), Leo Menalo (VIR), Rudy Fernandez (RMB), Nigel Williams-Goss (RMB), Adam Hanga (RMB), Fabien Causeur (RMB), Anthony Randolph (RMB), Carlos Alocen (RMB)

The Breakdown: Both teams have a lengthy injured list, and nearly ever Real Madrid player who pops up will remain sidelined. Meanwhile, all but one player could be available for the Italian team, most notably Shengelia, who will be one of his team's best players -- if not the best -- when at full speed. While Virtus may have the edge in the availability department, the oddsmakers are still expecting the Spanish squad to control the game, as they are a double-digit favorite and have by far the highest moneyline on Thursday's slate. If the visitors hope to head home with the victory they will need to pick things up on the offensive end, as they are one of only two teams with an offensive rating below 100.0 and rank at the bottom of the barrel in that department.

Best Bets for Success: It's really anyone's guess who will lead the way for their clubs in this one, as nine players on the Virtus side are averaging between 12.0-19.3 DraftKings points and eight players who will suit up Thursday for Real Madrid are averaging at least 10.7 points on the same website. Walter Tavares remains the safest play for the Spanish squad, and we are also going to list Gabriel Deck, who has put up at least 27.3 DraftKings points three times this season and could see some extra opportunities with Causeur out. We will go with Jordan Mickey for the visitors almost by default, but his upside will take a hit if Shengelia suits up.

Fantasy Factors: With fluid rotations, a large spread and this game featuring the lowest over/under on the board, the conditions in this game are anything but favorable for value plays. Still, Causeur's absence could also open up some opportunities for Dzanan Musa and Mario Hezonja. Musa recorded a season-high 23.0 DraftKings points his last time out, and Hezonja's breakout has to happen at some time. He's worth a gamble on DraftKings with his price all the way down to $6,400. Virtus head coach Sergio Scariolo indicated earlier in the week that Milos Teodosic is ready for more minutes, and he won't have to do much to return value on DraftKings at $6,800.

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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