EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 1

EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 1

This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.

PREGAME UPDATES

STATS AND INFO.

THE SLATE

Anadolu Efes Istanbul at AX Armani Exchange Milan

Status Check: Vasilije Micic (EFS), Rodrigue Beaubois (EFS), Chris Singleton (EFS), Dogus Balbay (EFS), Konstantinos Mitoglou (AXM), Luigi Datome (AXM), Ben Bentil (AXM), Trey Kell (AXM)

Best Bets for Success: The Playoffs will get underway with a bang, as the defending champions kick off their title defense in Italy against third-seeded Milan. The Italian team wound up on top in both regular season meetings, winning by four points at home in October and by six when these teams faced off less than a month ago in Istanbul. The experts are expecting another close one, as Milan is favored by only a couple points. Shavon Shields – when available – has been his team's best player this season, and he averaged 27 minutes and 26.3 DraftKings points over a five-game span before sitting out Round 34. Shields will be in position to keep the momentum going, as Efes finished the regular season ceding more points, rebounds, assists and field goal attempts to opposing forwards than any other team. Those numbers also bode particularly well for Nicolo Melli, who averaged just shy of a double-double over an eight-game span late in the season. It has been a while since Efes employed its dynamic backcourt duo, as Micic has not taken the court in nearly a month. However, he is set to return to action in Game 1. He's a bit risky on DraftKings coming off the lengthy absence, but he could be worth the gamble, as only player on the board is returning more average value. That player would be backcourt mate Shane Larkin, who averaged 29.2 DraftKings points over his last six appearances. Larkin's upside takes a hit when Micic plays, but as the fresher of the two, he is a bit safer. Both players will face a tough test Tuesday, as Milan finished the regular season ranked top-5 against guards in five of the six counting stats as well as field goal percentage and FGA.

DFS Darlings: It's not exactly clear how both teams will line up, but both Mitoglou and Datome will be unavailable and Bentil may not be 100 percent, so it seems likely Kyle Hines will spend a lot of time on the court Tuesday. The Turkish team has been pretty stout against centers, but with Hines listed at an affordable $8,900 on DraftKings, 3x value is within reach. Sergio Rodriguez was pretty streaky during the regular season, but he is a big-game player, and Tuesday's game will undoubtedly be one of those. Rodriguez just missed a double-double when these teams met in Round 32, and he could fit nicely in lineups at $7,500. Adrien Moerman may not do as much scoring as he did recently if both Micic and Beaubois are back in action, but he's a good bet to see 30 minutes if Singleton is unavailable, and he too just missed reaching double digits in two categories last time these teams saw each other. Bryant Dunston looks like the man in the middle at the moment for Efes, averaging 21.7 DraftKings points over his last six appearances, but you could take a shot at Tibor Pleiss at a meager $6,500. Don't forget about Krunoslav Simon, whose output has risen steadily and checks in at just $7,200 on DraftKings.

FC Bayern Munich at FC Barcelona

Status Check: Corey Walden (BAY), Cory Higgins (BAR)

Best Bets for Success: Eighth-seeded Bayern is in Spain to take on the squad that finished the regular season atop the standings, and unsurprisingly, the home team is nearly a double-digit favorite. The German club kept it close in both regular season matchups, losing both times but only by a total of 13 points. Barcelona has not played great lately, so Bayern could keep it competitive again. However, they could also be a bit weary, as Tuesday's game will be the ninth they have played since the start of the month. If the visitors hope to remain in the game, they will need to contain Nikola Mirotic, who heads into the postseason as the presumptive MVP. Mirotic averaged just 12.0 points in his last two appearances against Bayern, but he has taken it easy in recent weeks and should handle a full workload in Game 1. That will put him in position to hit the 30-point mark on DraftKings for the 13th time this season. Nick Calathes is also likely to deliver, having hit the 20-point mark on DraftKings in 10 straight appearances. There is some level of concern about the matchup for both players, as Bayern fares pretty well against both guards and forwards. Bayern's production has been pretty spread out of late, with five different players putting up at least 20.0 DraftKings points since the start of April – and none of them being Vladimir Lucic or Darrun Hilliard. Given the implications of Tuesday's game – and the fact he checks in at just $8,000 – we're going with Lucic as the player on the Bayern side most likely to produce in fantasy contests. Lucic led his team in scoring last time these teams faced each other, and he has put up at least 26.3 DraftKings points 10 times this season.

DFS Darlings: Both teams will be down a key guard Tuesday, but they are expected to be at full strength otherwise. Bayern's backcourt is a bit unsettled with Nick Weiler-Babb back in action, and his return dampens the prospects of both Zan Mark Sisko and Ognjen Jaramaz. All three players – as well as Hilliard – are relatively affordable on DraftKings, but Hilliard and Weiler-Babb have the most room for upside, as both their playing time and opportunities could increase with Bayern playing its biggest game in weeks. Nearly every player on the Barcelona side got a chance to play regularly over the last few weeks with the top seed sewn up, but their rotation figures to be shorter Tuesday. Alex Abrines looks like one of the best bargains on the DraftKings board, as he had several big games of late and checks in at a measly $6,100. Dante Exum will be playing in his first EuroLeague Playoff game, and he carries plenty of appeal at $7,900.

AS Monaco at Olympiacos Piraeus

Status Check: Livio Jean-Charles (OLY)

Best Bets for Success: The second day of postseason action will get underway in Greece, and the first game up will feature two teams that split their two matchups during the regular season. Monaco took it to Olympiacos when these teams met last month, but the Greek team did the same on their home court in Round 8, which is hardly surprising given their 13-1 home record in EuroLeague play. Sasha Vezenkov shined in both matchups, recording a double-double in the first and scoring 18 points in the second, and he is a good bet to deliver again, having hit the 25-point mark on DraftKings in 11 of his last 12 appearances. Vezenkov is the top option for the home team, but Kostas Sloukas is also a pretty good one on DraftKings, as after missing a couple weeks his price tag is as low as it has been since January. Monaco contained Sloukas both times the two sides met, but he did hit the 25-point mark on 14 other occasions. There is a clear front-runner on the Monaco side as well, and that would be Mike James, who is averaging three more fantasy points than any other player on the slate, and despite his lofty price is also returning more average value. Olympiacos ranks top-3 against guards in both the points and field goal percentage categories, but that did not stop James from putting 25 points on the board in the last meeting, and you can bet he will be fired up for his first Playoff game since 2018 and Monaco's first Playoff game ever. Alpha Diallo also checks in here, having averaged 27.7 DraftKings points – just above 3x value at his $9,200 price on that website – since the February break.

DFS Darlings: Both teams will be at or at least close to full strength, so it could be tough to find a true bargain in this one. However, Monaco has had trouble with opposing centers all season, which bodes particularly well for Moustapha Fall. The big man scored a season-high 18 points against the French team back in Round 31, and he is not pricey at all on DraftKings at $8,000. Another player in the same range stands out, and that would be Tyler Dorsey, whose going has has puzzlingly plummeted. Dorsey sits 17th in the league in scoring at 13.4 ppg, and he averaged 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists against Monaco during the regular season. A little further down the board you can consider Shaq McKissic and Thomas Walkup, with the former scoring far more regularly of late and the latter – the top perimeter defender on his side – likely to play as many minutes as James does. Olympiacos does not really have any matchups to target, but Dwayne Bacon – who averaged 15.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 triples over his last 12 games – looks like one of the better upper-end values on the board at $8,700. You can also consider a couple centers on the Monaco side in Donatas Motiejunas and Donta Hall. The former has a bit more upside, but Monaco was +35 with Hall on the court in Round 31, so he could get the edge in playing time.

Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv at Real Madrid

Status Check: Gabriel Deck (RMB), Thomas Heurtel (RMB), Trey Thompkins (RMB), Carlos Alocen (RMB)

Best Bets for Success: If the regular season results were any indication, this is going to be a thrilling series, as Real Madrid won by two points on its home court in Round 13 and Maccabi claimed victory by one point when these teams met in Tel Aviv last month. The Spanish squad is favored by nearly five points in this one, but they come in a bit out of sorts, having dropped their last four EuroLeague games and experiencing some turmoil on their roster. They could be galvanized of course, and with Deck out, they figure to lean on their frontcourt duo of Walter Tavares and Guerschon Yabusele. Neither player has been particularly consistent of late, but James is the only player returning more average value than Tavares, and a $9,500 price tag is pretty appealing for a player who hit the 30-point mark on DraftKings 13 times this season. Yabusele averaged a cool 31.1 DraftKings points against Maccabi during the regular season, which makes him a potential bargain at just $8,600. The visitors, meanwhile, come in as the winners of six straight EuroLeague contests. They have been getting a lot out their six-player core, particularly the duo of Scottie Wilbekin and James Nunnally, who have both put up at least 24.8 DraftKings points in five straight appearances. The latter has recorded more points than the former in eight straight games, but he has by far the tougher matchup, as Real Madrid ranks top-2 against forwards in all of the points, rebounds, assists and FG% categories. 

DFS Darlings: It seems unlikely that anyone outside of Maccabi's top six will return useful value Wednesday, but there are still a couple intriguing players to consider in that group. The first is Keenan Evans, who scored a season-high 19 points last time he faced Real Madrid and averaged 26.6 DraftKings points over a four-game span before taking it easy in Maccabi's regular season finale. Jalen Reynolds certainly will not have an easy time producing with Tavares on the opposite side, but the Spanish squad has allowed centers to get up quite a few shots from the field, and even a decent night will give him a shot to return 3x value at $7,100. There are far more options to consider on the Real Madrid side, as Deck will be unavailable and both Heurtel and Thompkins are uncertain. We're going to start with Vincent Poirier, who averaged 12.0 points and 4.5 points in his two matchups against Maccabi and is returning some of the most value on the board at a meager $6,600. Real Madrid has several forwards to cover for Deck, and the one that stands out most is Rudy Fernandez, who has come through in big games numerous times. Maccabi has been most vulnerable to opposing backcourt players, which brings Sergio Llull into play at $7,300 and also Fabien Causeur, who started at shooting guard in Rounds 33 and 34. If you want to get really risky you could take a shot on Heurtel, who has been brought back into the fold after seemingly being excluded from the roster earlier this month. It's unclear what type of role Heurtel will play if he even suits up, but Real Madrid could use his presence at the point guard spot, and he is returning some of the most value on the DraftKings board at $7,600.

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.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only EuroLeague Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire EuroLeague fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin mans the Packers and Brewers beats and moonlights as RotoWire's Director of Operations.
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 5
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 5
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 4
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 4
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 3
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 3
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 2
EuroLeague Primer: Playoffs - Game 2
EuroLeague Primer: Round 34 - Friday
EuroLeague Primer: Round 34 - Friday
EuroLeague Primer: Round 34 - Thursday
EuroLeague Primer: Round 34 - Thursday