This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.
- ASVEL's Youssoupha Fall will not suit up Thursday.
- Andrey Vorontsevich will not play Thursday for UNICS.
- CSKA's Nikola Milutinov will not return to action in Round 8.
- Ioannis Papapetrou and Okaro White will both be available for Panathinaikos on Thursday.
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Best Bets for Success: The first game we will break down features two teams that met in the Playoffs last year. CSKA wound up sweeping its way to the Final Four, but don't expect it to be that easy for the home team Thursday, as Fenerbahce was hamstrung by injuries and COVID-19 issues last time these squads saw each other. CSKA has dealt with injuries of its own early this season, but they are set to get Tornike Shengelia back in Round 8, and Milutinov will have a chance to return to action as well. Shengelia was named MVP in both Rounds 2 and 3 and Milutinov may be the best center in Europe at 100 percent, but neither should be expected to produce at his best in what will be the first EuroLeague appearance for one or both of them in a while, so Will Clyburn – who scored fewer than 16 points just once over the last six Rounds – remains CSKA's best option for another Round. Alexey Shved also earns a mention here as he appears to have found his footing, scoring in double digits in four straight games and averaging 25.1 DraftKings points over that span. Fenerbahce's top players continue taking turns in the spotlight, but Jan Vesely has separated himself from the pack a bit. Vesely generally makes shots at a high clip, and he should fare well again against a Russian team allowing opposing frontcourt players to make far more shots than they miss. This also seems like a pretty good spot for Nando de Colo to come through, as he will be facing his former team and will take on a CSKA defense allowing the most points to opposing guards.
DFS Darlings: With CSKA's roster in flux and Fenerbahce limiting opposing frontcourt players to the lowest field goal percentage in the league, there won't be much for value on their side in Round 8. It will be the opposite for Fenerbahce, who will be thin at the forward position. You could gamble on Tarik Biberovic or Metecan Birsen if one of them starts, as neither runs more than $4,300 on DraftKings. Devin Booker and Achille Polonara are also worth a look, as their prices continue to plummet and Fenerbahce could play big in this one. The best option of this bunch – at least on DraftKings – may be Marko Guduric, who despite averaging 24.0 points on that website over the last two Rounds remains an affordable $7,200.
Best Bets for Success: Injuries are an issue for the visitors heading in this one, as Panathinaikos will be without anywhere from one to three pieces rotation pieces. Nedovic has already been ruled out, and while the other two players traveled to Serbia, head coach Dimitris Priftis indicated they may not be 100 percent. The Greek team still has a couple top-tier healthy options in Daryl Macon and Georgios Papagiannis, and with Red Star allowing some of the fewest points to opposing guards, Papagiannis looks like Panathinaikos' top pick for Round 8. Red Star has been allowing opposing centers to get plenty involved, which is good news for a player averaging 9.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over the past four Rounds. Red Star's steadiest producers have been Nate Wolters and Nikola Kalinic, and they both deserve consideration this week. Wolters should bounce back in the scoring column after facing a stingy Milan defense his last time out, and Kalinic should be able to take advantage of a Red Star team allowing quite a few points and rebounds to opposing frontcourt players. Both are plenty capable of hitting the 25-point mark on DraftKings and neither checks in at more than $9,200.
DFS Darlings: Given Panathinaikos' struggles with forwards and centers, Luka Mitrovic and Ognjen Kuzmic are worth considering at different price points on DraftKings, particularly with both players do most of their damage in the points and rebounds columns. Nedovic's absence opens up some minutes in the Greek team's backcourt and gives Howard Sant-Roos and Yogi Ferrell some intrigue. Neither player is a big scorer, so the matchup isn't as imposing as it is for someone like Macon. Ferrell hasn't done much yet, but he's bound to get a chance to fill a rotation spot sooner than later and he runs just $5,500. Sant-Roos has been a bit inconsistent, but he did put up 26.3 points on DraftKings two Rounds ago. A Papapetrou absence would seem to benefit Sant-Roos most.
Best Bets for Success: While the first game above features two teams that met in the Playoffs, this game will one-up it, as it features two teams that squared off in the Final Four – as well as the two teams that are currently tied for first in the standings. Last year's semifinal contest between these two teams was a thriller that ended with Cory Higgins burying a jumper with 0.8 seconds to go to send his team to the Final. Nikola Mirotic put Barcelona in position to win, though, scoring 21 points over 27 minutes. He remains the clear top option for his team, and he is also returning some of the most value on the DraftKings board despite his lofty price tag. Milan's best player has been Shavon Shields, so he holds onto this spot even with a couple of his teammates making more noise of late. Shields hasn't shot the ball nearly as well as he did last season, but he started snapping out of his slump in Round 7 and he figures to show up for this big-time matchup.
DFS Darlings: Milan has probably done the best job against opposing guards in the league, as they are giving up some of the smallest numbers in just about every category and opposing guards are shooting far worse from both the field and beyond the three-point arc against the Italian team than anyone else. That limits the options on the Barcelona side quite a bit, but the numbers do indicate it could be a nice day for Kyle Kuric, who will run you just $5,800 on DraftKings. Nigel Hayes-Davis could also be primed for a breakout, and it will cost you just $5,600 to find out. As mentioned, Milan has been getting pretty steady production from several players, and the best of the bunch on DraftKings appear to be Devon Hall, who could return 3x value if he gets going in the scoring column again, and Konstantinos Mitoglou, who put up at least 28.8 points on that website three times over the past five Rounds.
Best Bets for Success: The final game of the day features the sizzling Elie Okobo, who after a 35-point outburst in Round 7 now leads the league in scoring at an even 20.0 ppg. Okobo is the most expensive player on Thursday's DraftKings slate, but he is returning some of the most value on the board, and he could be primed for another big night against a UNICS team that ranks at or near the bottom against opposing guards in just about every department. The matchup also bodes well for Okobo's teammate, Chris Jones, who has finished with fewer than 25.3 DraftKings points just twice all season. The visitors come in the winners of two straight, and they have been getting contributions from some new players of late. However, Mario Hezonja remains the most reliable option, having reached double figures in the scoring column 12 times in 15 appearances since returning to Europe. If you'd rather go with one of UNICS' top two guards in this spot, the numbers suggest Isaiah Canaan is a better option than Lorenzo Brown in Round 8.
DFS Darlings: The three UNICS players above were a bit inconsistent during the team's undefeated double-game week, but two players who came through in both contests were John Brown and Andrey Vorontsevich. While it's unlikely Brown will steal five passes again like he did in both Rounds 6 and 7, chances are he will tally a couple, as he has swiped at least two errant basketballs five times already. Vorontsevich played as well as he has in a long time last week, ad he's at least worth considering on DraftKings at $7,000. The Russian team has been nearly as poor against centers as it has against guards, which sets up well for Youssoupha Fall, provided he returns following the birth of his child. There won't be much more to look at on the French side, as UNICS has been remarkable against opposing forwards, allowing the fewest points to players at those positions while also limiting them to by far the worst field goal and three-point percentages.