This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.
- Valencia's Jasiel Rivero will be available Friday.
- Andrew Andrews remains inactive for Panathinaikos.
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The Breakdown: After a busy Thursday, just two games will be played Friday. The first game up could be a track meet, as Baskonia is playing at a quicker pace than any other team and Panathinaikos checks in fourth in that department. The Spanish squad is leading the league in points per game and has one of the highest-rated offenses out there, but the oddsmakers are expecting the hosts to contain them, as Panathinaikos is favored by 2.5 points, and Baskonia's implied point total of 80 points is 10.0 points below its average. The stats like the visitors, though, as Baskonia has three more wins through six Rounds, a 71-point edge in point differential and a 13.7-point edge in net rating.
Best Bets for Success: As of press time there aren't any DraftKings contests available, and there are only minor moves to be made in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge, but we will still provide players to watch in both games in case you are tuning in or are interested in trying out some Player Props. Baskonia's re-tooled backcourt has been a catalyst in its hot start, as Markus Howard has been his team's top scorer and Darius Thompson has been the squad's best all-around contributor. Howard has not been particularly consistent, but he has gotten up at least 11 shots five times, and he is averaging a whopping 24.5 points in games in which he plays at least 20 minutes. Thompson, meanwhile, has been a steady producer, and he comes into this contest leading the league in assists per game and tied for fourth in steals. Both players will have to overcome a tough matchup Friday, as the Greek team ranks top-5 against guards in five of the six counting stats as well as field goal attempts allowed. Things look different on the Panathinaikos side than they did earlier in the season, as they have been bolstered by a couple recent additions to the roster. As many as six players could wind up being their top producer Friday, and Baskonia's defensive tendencies don't really point to anyone in particular. Dwayne Bacon may wind up with the most opportunities, as he got up more shots than anyone else and played more minutes than just one of his teammates in his team debut in Round 6. This could also be a Georgios Papagiannis game, as Baskonia will be down a couple key bigs Friday.
Fantasy Factors: While the Greek team has fared well against guards, they have been as friendly as can be to frontcourt players -- particularly forwards, who have totaled more points, rebounds and field goal attempts against Panathinaikos than any other club. Those numbers point to a nice night for Rokas Giedraitis, particularly with Baskonia down both Enoch and Hommes for Round 7. Giedraitis is pulling down more rebounds than he did in seasons past, and he averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 boards in two matchups with Panathinaikos last season. The absences and matchup also set up Tadas Sedekerskis and Vanja Marinkovic for success. Both have already had a couple impressive performances this season, and it seems likely each will get 20 minutes in Friday's contest. The addition of Pierria Henry gives Baskonia a couple tough defenders in the backcourt, so we would expect the frontcourt players on the Panathinaikos side to do more than their guards. Mateusz Ponitka and Derrick Williams weren't particularly affected by Bacon's addition in Round 6, and in terms of overall contributions, they rank an easy first and second, respectively, in total DraftKings points among Panathinaikos players.
The Breakdown: Both these teams come into this game in form, as Valencia lost just once over the last four Rounds and Monaco has lost just once all season. The club from the principality will be hitting the road, but they are 3-1 away from home this season, and the experts have given them a slight edge, as they are favored by a point and a half. The Spanish squad is no stranger to close games, as four of their first six matchups were decided by two points or fewer. These teams are separated by seven spots in the standings but just 3.3 points in the net rating department. All signs point to this being a close contest, particularly if Rivero is able to return. The over/under suggests these teams will score about as many points as they usually do, but don't be surprised if more points are put on the board than expected, as Valencia plays at one of the quickest paces in the league and Monaco has the backcourt talent to keep up.
Best Bets for Success: Mike James has produced as consistently as anyone in the league, scoring at least 15 points in each of the first six Rounds and putting up at least 19 points five times. That provides reason to believe he can hit the over on a lofty prop bet of 19.5 points -- a mark 4.0 points above the next number on the board. Valencia could make things tough for him, though, as they rank top-5 in the league in points, three-pointers and FGA ceded to opposing guards. Chris Jones has taken off for Valencia, averaging a stellar 17.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 triples over the last four Rounds. With things potentially changing in Valencia's frontcourt and Monaco absolutely shutting down centers, Jones is easily the player who is most likely to deliver for his side in Round 7.
Fantasy Factors: Centers had a lot of success against The Roca Team last season, but they have had almost none early in the current campaign, as Monaco is limiting players at that position to nearly four fewer points than any other team and ranks no lower than second against centers in the five other counting stats as well as FGA. Valencia has a couple talented centers in Rivero and Bojan Dubljevic, but it will be tough for either of them to do a lot Friday, particularly if they split the minutes down low. Monaco has not been as stingy against players from other positions, and they are allowing guards to make more threes than any other team. That could allow for a breakout game for Klemen Prepelic, who is averaging half as many points as he did in his last EuroLeague season but has started regularly and played a season-high 25 minutes in Round 6. Jared Harper and James Webb are a couple other players who could shine, as the former has the potential to put up points in bunches and Webb dropped a double-double in Valencia's last domestic contest. You could make a case for Jordan Loyd in the section above, as he averaged 15.0 points over the last four Rounds and will be facing the team he used to play for. However, he's not quite as safe as James, and the Spanish squad ranks top-4 against guards in the points, rebounds, threes and FGA categories. Valencia has been most susceptible to centers, who have scored more points against them than any other team, are grabbing more rebounds against them than just one other squad and are making a whopping 76.7 percent of their attempts from the field. That bodes particularly well for Donta Hall and Donatas Motiejunas, and perhaps even John Brown.