Euroleague has started and with the most of the teams already with their 1st game behind them, we are waiting for six more to show what can they bring to the table. Two of the teams that have yet to play the 1st game of the season are Zalgiris and Crvena Zvezda.
Crvena Zvezda is coming into the next season as the last year’s champions in their domestic Superleague, however, they did not perform nearly as good in Euroleague, where they only reached the 9th spot, just a bit short of playoffs. They did, however, start the season well with a long win streak, but it all came crashing down. Zvezda has not been a big favourite to win the Euroleague last season and they are not a favourite to win it this season, but they are surely more motivated this year, as the final 4 of Euroleague will be played in Belgrade. This season, Crvena Zvezda has a different team, compared to one we saw last year. With a few players leaving and being replaced by new ones, Crvena Zvezda comes off as a stronger team, but we will have to wait and see. This season, Crvena Zvezda has 6 games behind them, winning 4 of them, however, they lost 2 out of 3 games when playing away from home. It’s no secret Crvena Zvezda is strong at home, due to the excellent atmosphere created by their fans, however, they won’t have this privilege today, as they are travelling to Lithuania to face off against Zalgiris.
Zalgiris, 1999 champions of Euroleague have missed their opportunity to play in the playoffs last season, by a small margin, anyhow it was their best performing seasons in a while. This is one of the teams that should never be underestimated, as they can outperform even the best teams in the Euroleague if they play like they can. Much like Crvena Zvezda, Zalgiris has a huge fanbase that attends their home games, which makes it hard for visiting teams and of course feeds Zalgiris with the energy. This year I wouldn’t be surprised if Zalgiris performed same or better compared to last season, only if they can manage to stay consistent.
These two teams have met 3 times before, with Zalgiris coming out on top 2 times and Zvezda managing to win 1 game in Lithuania. Taking everything into consideration, Zalgiris will want to start off this season strong and what better way to do so than winning in front of their own fans. Zvezda should not be underestimated, but with all the roster changes and mediocre performances in away games so far, I see Zalgiris as a favourite here.
Prediction: Zalgiris -7.50 points
Odds: 2.20 Pinnacle