EuroLeague Primer: Round 7 - Thursday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 7 - Thursday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

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STATS AND INFO.

THE SLATE

Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade at Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Status Check: Luka Mitrovic (CZV), Ognjen Dobric (CZV), Stefan Markovic (CZV), Nemanja Bjelica (FBB)

The Breakdown: It will be a particularly busy day in the EuroLeague, and the first game up will feature teams at exact opposite ends of the standings. Fenerbahce is coming off its first loss of the season, but the first-place team is unsurprisingly favored by 10.5 points, and they also have the highest moneyline on DraftKings and are tied for the highest on FanDuel. The Turkish team owns a 22.1-point advantage in the net rating department and a whopping 108-point advantage in point differential, so it's easy to see why they are expected to win handily. This game has the lowest over/under on the slate, which makes sense considering the Serbian squad plays at the slowest pace at the league. That could help Red Star keep the game close, but they will need to click against the league's top-rated defense, and that will be no easy task down at least a couple regulars.

Best Bets for Success: This game starts nearly a couple hours before the rest and is not included on Thursday's DraftKings slate, but we will still highlight a few players for those participating in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge. After averaging 16.7 points over the last three Rounds, Johnathan Motley is now Fenerbahce's leading scorer. He made 69.0 percent of his field goal attempts over that span, which gives him a nice floor -- and a nice ceiling. Fenerbahce's backcourt is a bit unsettled, Ben Bentil has easily been Red Star's steadiest producer over the course of the season and is averaging more points, rebounds, assists and three-pointers than ever before. He will have his work cut out for him Thursday, though, as no team is allowing forwards to do less in any of those categories than the Turkish team. If Bentil is kept in check, look for Luca Vildoza and Nemanja Nedovic to pick up the slack. Vildoza dropped a double-double in Monday's domestic game and Nedovic looks ready to handle a full workload.

Fantasy Factors: Filip Petrusev broke out last week with his first EuroLeague double-double, and he should get a chance to back up that performance with Mitrovic unavailable. Petrusev is listed as a forward, but he started at center in Round 6, and Fenerbahce has been fairly friendly to players at that position. Nikola Ivanovic will be another name to consider with Dobric unavailable and Markovic under the weather. Fenerbahce has gotten a lot from its top producers and not much else from the rest of its roster, but if this game plays out as expected, Carsen Edwards could get an opportunity to get back on track.

Anadolu Efes Istanbul at Real Madrid

Status Check: Shane Larkin (EFS), Rodrigue Beaubois (EFS), Rudy Fernandez (RMB), Nigel Williams-Goss (RMB), Fabien Causeur (RMB), Anthony Randolph (RMB), Carlos Alocen (RMB)

The Breakdown: When these teams last saw each other, it was in last season's Final, and Efes eked out a one-point win and took home the title for the second time in as many years. Each squad -- at least at the moment -- looks quite a bit different than it did that day, and that may explain why both are off to a slow start. Real Madrid has fared a bit better, and the oddsmakers have given them a 4.5-point edge in Thursday's contest. However, the secondary stats say these squads are pretty evenly matched, and the Turkish team will have the best player on the court in Vasilije Micic.

Best Bets for Success: We will start with Micic, as not only is he the most accomplished player in this contest, he is also the player most likely to deliver in fantasy contests. He is now up to a whopping $12,500 on DraftKings, but he's still returning just shy of 3x value at that price, and he averaged 26.0 ppg over his last two matchups with Real Madrid. He is also averaging 35 minutes per night, and the only player averaging more is teammate Will Clyburn. Only four players on the slate are averaging more DraftKings points than Clyburn, but he checks in $600 pricier than he was in Round 6, and the matchup certainly does not favor him, as the Spanish squad is ceding the fewest FGA to opposing forwards and also ranks top-3 against players at those positions in all of the points, rebounds, assists and steals categories. You could certainly make a case for three Real Madrid players here, but we are going to stick with two, and those would be Walter Tavares and Dzanan Musa. "Sergeant Swat" played 31 minutes in each of the last two Rounds and topped the 30-point mark on DraftKings both times. He also dropped two double-doubles over three matchups with Efes a season ago. Musa, meanwhile, increased his DraftKings point total in each of the last four Rounds and has seen his playing time pick up. Musa is listed as a forward, but he has been starting at one of the guard spots, which gives him a chance to take advantage of an Efes defense that is allowing backcourt players to get up more shots than anyone and also ranks bottom-4 against guards in the points, rebounds, assists and triples categories. Due to a $1,900 price jump Musa is no longer the bargain on DraftKings he once was, but he remains only 10.8 credits in the Fantasy Challenge.

Fantasy Factors: Given the numbers the two-time defending champions are allowing guards to put up, Sergio Rodriguez could be set up for another nice night. He has flown under the radar a bit this season, but he did put up at least 19.0 DraftKings points in three of his last four appearances, and if he hits that mark again he will return right around 3x value on that website at $6,500. Mario Hezonja has started to gather some momentum, and it's tough to find anyone else with his upside around his $7,000 price point. The frontcourt players on the Efes side continue to share the wealth, and it's generally a good idea to avoid players going against Real Madrid's frontcourt, so we will focus on the guards. This may be moot if Beabouis suits up, but Elijah Bryant has done enough to earn a mention at $6,800, and you could gamble that Isaiah Taylor does just enough to return value at $3,700.

FC Bayern Munich at ALBA Berlin

Status Check: Othello Hunter (BAY), Niels Giffey (BAY), Zan Mark Sisko (BAY), Maodo Lo (BER), Marcus Eriksson (BER), Jonas Mattisseck (BER)

The Breakdown: The first Italian Derby of the season was played Wednesday, and the first German Derby of the campaign will take place one day later. The visitors picked up win No. 1 of the season in Round 6, and the hosts have dropped three straight after running out to a 3-0 start. ALBA will no doubt be antsy Thursday, as they will be looking to snap the losing streak and also knock off Bayern for the first time ever in EuroLeague play. The experts expect that occur, as ALBA is favored by at least 4.0 points, depending on the website. The home team boasts one of the better defenses in the league, and they also own a 15.6-point edge in net rating. If Hunter and Giffey suit up, though, Bayern will be as close to full strength as they have been all season, and after all, they do have tradition on their side. 

Best Bets for Success: It took Cassius Winston a few games to get going, but he has established himself as Bayern's go-to guy, leading the team in both points and DraftKings points in three straight Rounds. He is $1,000 more expensive on DraftKings than he was his last time out, but $9,100 is not bad for a player who averaged 31.4 points on that website over the last three Rounds, and he also looks pretty good in the Fantasy Challenge at 10.2 credits. Four different players led ALBA in fantasy points over the first six Rounds, so it's tough to peg their top options -- particularly when their most reliable producer, Luke Sikma, is trending downward. We would still bet on a Sikma bounceback over anything else, but that is admittedly a tenuous suggestion. For what it's worth, Bayern is allowing frontcourt players to convert a higher percentage of their FGA than any other team.

Fantasy Factors: While you may not want to spend up for ALBA's pricier options, there are a number of value plays to consider on their side. That group includes several guards, but we are going to focus on the frontcourt, as in addition to allowing forwards and centers to make a lot of shots, they are also allowing centers to get up more shots than any other team. Those numbers certainly favor Christ Koumadje, who remains relatively affordable both on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge. They also favor Louis Olinde, who has quietly been a consistent contributor and nearly recorded a double-double against Bayern in Round 7 last season. A changing of the guard could be occurring on Bayern's roster, as in addition to Winston's DraftKings price jumping sharply, both Isaac Bonga and Elias Harris are quite a bit pricier than they have been. The prospects of those two players will hinge on the availability of Hunter and Giffey, but it they both sit out, Bonga and Harris will be worthy of consideration in both contests. No team is limiting frontcourt players to a lower field goal percentage than ALBA, but they are also allowing players at those positions to get up a lot of shots.

Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade at Olympiacos Piraeus

Status Check: Dante Exum (PAR), Ioannis Papapetrou (PAR), Danilo Andjusic (PAR), Alen Smailagic (PAR), Aleksa Avramovic (PAR), Uros Trifunovic (PAR), Balsa Koprivica (PAR)

The Breakdown: That's a rather lengthy list of players above, and unfortunately for Partizan, each of them occupies a place on their roster. All but one -- and perhaps all seven -- will be unavailable Thursday, so the visitors will be rather shorthanded. Olympiacos fell on its home court in both Rounds 5 and 6, but they are still 16-4 in EuroLeague games played in their stadium since the start of last season. Add those items together and you get a roughly 10-point spread in favor of Olympiacos, who also have the highest moneyline on BetMGM and are tied in that department on FanDuel. Although only eight or nine Partizan players will suit up in Round 7, the top four scorers in the league's highest-rated offense will all be on hand, so the Serbian squad may be able to keep pace on the scoreboard. However, Olympiacos is not too far behind on the offensive end, and they have the capacity -- starting with the red-hot Sasha Vezenkov -- to capitalize on the league's worst defense. It should shock no one that this is anticipated to be the highest-scoring contest on the slate.

Best Bets for Success: Vezenkov has delivered each time out this season, and chances are he will do so again in Round 7, as Partizan has allowed the second most threes in the league and is also allowing forwards to get pretty involved. The spread is a bit concerning, but if Vezenkov handles his usual workload, he should justify his lofty price both on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge. He is averaging more points than any other player in both contests. With plenty of points expected to be put on the board, Kostas Sloukas -- who is tied for second in the league in assists -- also seems like a pretty safe option in Round 7. Even if Partizan was at full strength they would have had three players listed here, as all of Mathias Lessort, Kevin Punter and Zach LeDay rank among the top nine players on the slate in both DraftKings points and minutes per game. It will be tough for that trio to do more than they have already been doing, but their floor will be a bit higher than it usually is. 

Fantasy Factors: Just about every Partizan player who suits up Thursday will have some sort of appeal, and the two potential bargains we like the best are James Nunnally and Yam Madar. Both players have had their moments this season, and Nunnally should be back at full speed after missing Round 6 with an illness. We'll also toss out Tristan Vukcevic, who could play in the NBA some day and is listed at just $3,600 on DraftKings and 5.1 credits in the Fantasy Challenge. No team is allowing more triples than Olympiacos, which bodes well for just about every Partizan player we have mentioned. If the score gets out of hand it will be tough for most players on the Olympiacos side to return meaningful value, but we have to list Thomas Walkup, who is knocking on the door of the section above. Walkup has put up at least 25.0 DraftKings points four times this season, so his $8,700 price tag on that website doesn't look too bad. 

FC Barcelona at Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv

Status Check: Nikola Mirotic (BAR), Kyle Kuric (BAR), Sergi Martinez (BAR), Jarell Martin (MTA), Roman Sorkin (BAR)

The Breakdown: This is the only matchup of the day featuring two teams with winning records, but both enter in different situations, as Maccabi was blown out in Round 6 and Barcelona handed an undefeated Fenerbahce team its first loss. Maccabi is a perfect 4-0 at home this season, but the oddsmakers are leaning on last week's results and have given the Spanish squad an edge of at least 3.0 points. The hosts have fared a bit better on the offensive end than the visitors, but Barcelona has been markedly better when it comes to containing their opponents, and the experts expect that will carry the day.

Best Bets for Success: We'll get about as close as we can to an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object Thursday, as Maccabi's dynamic backcourt duo of Lorenzo Brown and Wade Baldwin IV will face off against a Barcelona defense that ranks top-4 against guards in five of the six counting stats and is allowing players at those positions to rack up fewer assists and make a lower percentage of their shots than any other club. Brown and Baldwin are both averaging over 30.0 DraftKings points per night, but it will be tough for both of them to get there in Round 7. It's tough to rate one of them above the other, but Brown is $700 more expensive on DraftKings than he was the last time out, so Baldwin may have a slight advantage in the pricing department. It remains no easy task predicting who will lead Barcelona in fantasy points, but it's tough to not go with Nicolas Laprovittola, who is easily leading his team in all of the points, DraftKings points and average DraftKings value departments. He has a prime matchup Thursday, as Maccabi is ceding the most points to opposing guards and is also allowing players at those positions to make a higher percentage of their shots than any other club.

Fantasy Factors: The matchup just mentioned also sets up well for Tomas Satoransky, who is a bit pricier than the players we usually list in this section. Satoranksy's output is trending downward, but this is a prime opportunity for him to get back on track, particularly with him leading his team in rebounds and facing a team allowing opponents to rack up more boards than anyone else. That fact also bodes well for Mike Tobey, who is a bit pricey in the Fantasy Challenge but is an appealing option on DraftKings. If Maccabi's guards are held in check a bit, their frontcourt could be more involved than it usually is, and that gives Bonzie Colson and Josh Nebo a bit of a boost. Both players averaged well over 20.0 DraftKings points over the last three Rounds, and neither checks in above $8,900 on DraftKings nor 11.5 credits in the Fantasy Challenge.

Zalgiris Kaunas at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne

Status Check: Dovydas Giedraitis (ZAL), Joffrey Lauvergne (ASV)

The Breakdown: This contest may get lost in the shuffle given the intrigue in the matchups earlier in the evening, but don't sleep on it, as the victor will already have won half as many games as it did all of last season. Both squads come in with some momentum, as ASVEL has two two straight and Zalgiris went 3-1 over the last four Rounds. In what could be the most competitive game of the day, the home team is favored by only 2.5 points. The French club has struggled as much as anyone on the offensive end, but they are expected to score just enough points against one of the league's worth defenses to wind up with the win.

Best Bets for Success: We went with Keenan Evans in this spot last week for Zalgiris, and he did not let us down, putting up at least 27.0 DraftKings for the third straight Round. He will be in position to hit that mark again Thursday, as Zalgiris is allowing guards to get up as many shots as Efes is and also ranks bottom-5 against backcourt players in all of the points, rebounds and assists categories. Youssoupha Fall and Nando de Colo remain the safest options on the ASVEL side, as they are the only players on the roster averaging over 20.0 points on DraftKings and 11.0 points in the Fantasy Challenge. Both players fared well against the Lithuanian team on one occasion last season, with Fall just missing a double-double in Round 1 and de Colo topping the 30-point mark on DraftKings in Round 11.

Fantasy Factors: Given the French team's issues with guards -- plus the fact ASVEL is allowing frontcourt players to get up far fewer shots than any other team -- Ignas Brazdeikis will be set up for success in Round 7. Consistency has been an issue with Brazdeikis, but he is pretty affordable both on DraftKings and in the Fantasy Challenge. There aren't any appealing matchups to target on the Zalgiris side, but David Lighty will be in the mix after a big Round 6 showing, and we will again list Zaccharie Risacher, who carries plenty of risk but is returning more average value on DraftKings than anyone else on the slate and checks in at the minimum price of 4.0 credits 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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