EuroLeague Primer: Round 23 - Friday

EuroLeague Primer: Round 23 - Friday

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

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STATS AND INFO.

THE SLATE

CSKA Moscow at UNICS Kazan

Status Check: Will Clyburn (CSK), Tornike Shengelia (CSK)

Best Bets for Success: Friday's slate gets underway with an all-Russian affair and features two of the three teams currently tied for fifth place at 12-8. The home team was knocked off its perch by Real Madrid on Tuesday, so you can be sure they will be itching to get back in the win column against their rival to the west. UNICS, despite beating CSKA once in the EuroLeague and once in the VTB, is a slight underdog, but their odds could improve if the visitors are without some key personnel. CSKA's roster is loaded, but according to the team's official website, they "will again perform in a far from optimal line-up," which indicates they could be down the two players above and possibly others. Given the uncertainty we're going to exclude Clyburn and Shengelia and try to identify the safest option elsewhere. UNICS is faring pretty well against guards and forwards, and no one at those spots on the CSKA side has been particularly consistent anyway.  The hosts are ceding easily the most rebounds to opposing centers, so Nikola Milutinov looks like CSKA's best bet for Round 23. He has been a bit hot-and-cold himself, but he did put up at least 24.8 DraftKings points four times over his last eight appearances, so 3x value at $8,300 is well within reach. It's not easy to identify the top option for UNICS, either, but for a different reason, as they have three players stuffing the stat sheet regularly. All of Lorenzo Brown, Mario Hezonja and John Brown put up at least 21.0 points on DraftKings last time these teams met, and that number is well below what all three have averaged in their five EuroLeague appearances since. If you're looking to differentiate between the three, the first Brown mentioned has the best matchup, and the second one is next in line, as CSKA is shutting down forwards but is allowing players at those positions to rack up some of the most steals.

DFS Darlings: CSKA may lack sure things Friday, but if they do wind up down their top scorers, there is bound to be some value to be found. We'll start with Alexey Shved, who has hit a bit of a slump but also checks in at a season-low $8,800. Shved has put up at least 23.8 DraftKings points in eight of the 10 games in which he has reached double digits in the points column, and there's a good chance he gets up more shots than usual Friday. Johannes Voigtmann is another player with a lot of upside that is priced lower than he has been, and he averaged just under 21.0 DraftKings points in the four games Shengelia missed in October. Joel Bolomboy and several others will also be worthy of consideration, depending on who else is available. Luckily CSKA is planning to reveal its Round 23 roster at some point prior to tip-off. For the home team, Isaiah Canaan will be a bounceback candidate, with CSKA ranking bottom-3 against guards in points, threes, field goal percentage and field goal attempts. That matchup also bodes well for O.J. Mayo, who has done enough lately to be considered at $4,500.

Real Madrid at AS Monaco

Status Check: Adam Hanga (RMB), Fabien Causeur (RMB), Nigel Williams-Goss (RMB), Donta Hall (ASM), Leo Westermann (ASM)

Best Bets for Success: If you're looking for points you've come to the right place, as these are two of the five teams scoring over 80.0 points per contest. No player has been doing more scoring lately than Mike James, who averaged 20.8 ppg over his last five appearances. He also averaged well north of 30.0 DraftKings points over that span, which makes both his floor and his ceiling as high as anyone's. Real Madrid is an imposing foe and a 6.5-point favorite, but James – with 24 points and 10 assists – kept Monaco in the game last time these teams met, and he is plenty capable of doing the same Friday. Real Madrid's roster has been pretty fluid lately, but that hasn't stopped them from ripping off six straight wins. The Spanish squad has gotten contributions from all kinds of players, but Walter Tavares reminded everyone Tuesday why he is his team's top option, dropping his fourth double-double of the season in his return from a two-Round absence. Tavares has hit the 30-point mark on DraftKings nine times, and chances are he will make that 10, as no team allows centers to do more scoring than Monaco.

DFS Darlings: The over/under on this game is unsurprisingly the biggest on the board, which bodes particularly well for value plays. Guerschon Yabusele missed out on the section above due to the depth in his team's frontcourt, but he is still returning some of the most average value on the board. Real Madrid will be down three players that spend most of their time on the perimeter, which opens the door for Alberto Abalde to deliver on DraftKings at $7,200 and Sergio Llull to do the same at $6,900. You could even make a case for a $4,900 Carlos Alocen, who has gotten his chances lately and could get even more with Williams-Goss out. The main concern for those three players, of course, is playing time, as the minutes could be divided in all different ways. Real Madrid is shutting down opposing frontcourts as well as anyone, which is not ideal for the forwards and centers on Monaco's roster. Dwayne Bacon is still worth a look, as even at a season-high $8,800 he returned more than 3x value three times over his last six appearances. Donta Hall earns a mention as well, as even though he has taken a back seat to Donatas Motiejunas, he is returning more average value than anyone on the board at $6,700. Motiejunas, for what it's worth, does not look as appealing as he has been with Hall returning and his price jumping to a season-high $8,500.

Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz at Panathinaikos OPAP Athens

Status Check: Alec Peters (BKN), Tadas Sedekerskis (BKN), Vanja Marinkovic (BKN), Arturs Kurucs (BKN), Sander Raieste (BKN), Georgios Papagiannis (PAO), Daryl Macon (PAO), Nemanja Nedovic (PAO), Howard Sant-Roos (PAO), Lefteris Mantzoukas (PAO)

Best Bets for Success: Injuries will be the name of the game in this contest, as both teams will be down at least a couple key players. The absences on the Panathinaikos side are particularly notable, as they will be down their top two producers in Papagiannis and Macon. While Nedovic is on the injured list as well, it seems likely he will go, and he is the player most likely to deliver on DraftKings. Nedovic scored at least 17 points in four of his last six appearances, and only two other players set to play Friday hit that mark even once over the same span. The visitors have been led by Wade Baldwin of late, and it seems rather likely they will be again, as he will square off against a Panathinaikos team allowing the most points, rebounds, assists, threes and FGA to opposing guards. Baldwin scored just seven points when these teams met in Round 3, but he is filling a far bigger role these days and averaged 35.8 DraftKings points over his last four appearances.

DFS Darlings: Both teams will be running pretty short rotations and a fair amount of points are expected, so the conditions for value plays are ripe.. Ioannis Papapetrou is pretty appealing on the Panathinaikos side, as Baskonia ranks bottom-3 against forwards in all of the points, rebounds, assists, threes and FGA departments. Papapetrou put up a season-high 22 points last time these teams met and remains an affordable $8,400 on DraftKings. Okaro White gets the same matchup and remains in the mix even with his price jumping $1,200 since last week. Jeremy Evans won't have to do much to return 3x value at $6,100, and neither will Lefteris Bochoridis – who could be the primary point guard with Stefan Jovic still getting up to speed – at $4,700. Baskonia has a few options to consider in the frontcourt, starting with Simone Fontecchio and Rokas Giedraitis. The former is returning some of the most value on the board and the latter has to get going at some point. Steven Enoch, who has put up at least 32.0 points on DraftKings five times this season, will also be worth a look against a Panathinaikos team short on size.

Zalgiris Kaunas at AX Armani Exchange Milan

Status Check: Joffrey Lauvergne (ZAL), Josh Nebo (ZAL), Janis Strelnieks (ZAL), Paulius Jankunas (ZAL), Shavon Shields (AXM), Konstantinos Mitoglou (AXM), Luigi Datome (AXM), Jerian Grant (AXM), Riccardo Moraschini (AXM)

Best Bets for Success: Two contests will go off at the same time to round out the day, and we will start with this one, which features both the biggest spread and the lowest over/under among the five games on Friday's slate. Milan has gotten back on track after losing four straight games, and Sergio Rodriguez has been the prime catalyst for that, topping the 20-point mark on DraftKings in seven straight appearances. He generally does not play much more than 20 minutes anyway, so even if the game gets out of hand he should be out there long enough to produce again. Zalgiris lacks a true standout option, as only one player taking the court Friday is returning more than 2x value on average – and barely. That player is Tyler Cavanaugh, and almost by default he looks like his team's safest bet to produce in Round 23. Cavanaugh is not a great option at DraftKings at a season-high $8,900, but Milan is shutting down both guards and centers, so it's likely a forward will lead the way for the Lithuanian team, and he is the best of the bunch.

DFS Darlings: It's going to be tough to find too much value in this one, as both the spread and total are issues, and players on both teams have had issues with consistency. For Milan, Malcolm Delaney remains pretty affordable at $7,800, and Trey Kell could be worth a dart throw at a measly $4,300. Marek Blazevic deserves consideration as the next man up at the center spot for Zalgiris, but his $1,100 price increase is not ideal. Edgaras Ulanovas also earns a mention, as he fills a forward spot and returned 3x value at his current rate three times over his last nine appearances.

ALBA Berlin at FC Bayern Munich

Status Check: Marcus Eriksson (BER), Tim Schneider (BER), Darrun Hilliard (BAY), Corey Walden (BAY), Paul Zipser (BAY), Nihad Djedovic (BAY)

Best Bets for Success: The final game we will analyze is an all-German matchup featuring a Bayern team with a chance to jump into the eighth spot in the standings and an ALBA squad that comes in amid a 1-6 slump. Bayern beat ALBA in Round 7 and again in a BBL contest a few weeks later, and they are favored to win Friday by around 6.5 points. Vladimir Lucic scored just three points in Round 7 and has been a bit quiet of late, but he remains the safest option for the home team. He averaged 29.8 DraftKings points over a four-game span in December and is at least down to a more-reasonable $9,500 on that website. ALBA has been getting big numbers regularly from both Luke Sikma and and Maodo Lo, and that figures to continue Friday, particularly if Eriksson remains sidelined. Both players delivered in Round 7, and Lo led his team in scoring when these teams saw each other in December. Lo may be a bit better bet, as Bayern ranks top-4 against frontcourt players in five of the six counting stats and are ceding the fewest FGA to players at those positions.

DFS Darlings: If you aren't buying into Lucic on Friday, Augustine Rubit and Othello Hunter would be the next to player to consider for the home team. Rubit dropped two double-doubles and averaged 27.3 DraftKings points over his past five appearances, and he will not cost you all that much at $8,700. Hunter is even more affordable at $8,200 and takes on an ALBA squad that has been pretty friendly to opposing centers. If Walden is out, Nick Weiler-Babb will get a boost in appeal, and Zan Mark Sisko would jump into dart-throw territory at $4,400. There aren't a lot of options that stand out on the ALBA side beyond their top two players, but at a meager $4,900, Christ Koumadje could at least provide you some salary relief.

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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