Olympiacos and Real Madrid will square off in the EuroLeague finals this Sunday afternoon in Kaunas. The two sides have overcome their challenges in the semifinals, with the Greek powerhouse beating Monaco following a miraculous battle, while Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in El Clasico. Oly has three titles in five appearances in the finals, while Real holds the record with 10 titles and nine more finals.
Olympiacos (-180) was behind Monaco in the semis, trailing by a double-digit deficit at halftime. However, we’ve seen one of the best even quarters played in the EuroLeague, in which Olympiacos literally humiliated their rivals. The third sequence saw Olympiacos beating the rivals 27-2, and that was a shock from which the French squad couldn’t recover. Georgios Bartzokas himself couldn’t believe what he saw and was more than thrilled to see his players doing a historic thing.
In the end, it was 76-62 for the Greeks, with the EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov having 19 points and six boards, leading the way in the crucial moments. Kostas Papanikolau added 15 with eight boards, while Moustapha Fall scored 12.
Oly shot very well from the field, reaching 52.1%, and had more free throws, 33 compared to Monaco’s 17. Yet, the Greeks made only 19, and that’s something they need to change in the finals. Also, their teamwork was at a higher level than Monaco’s – 23 assists for Oly, only 10 for the rivals.
Real Madrid (+150) showed they can’t be underestimated at any moment. Los Blancos were written off by many of the analysts before the match against Barcelona, and the reasons were various, starting from their turbulent series against Partizan and undeserved win, through Barca’s quality to Deck’s and Yabuselle’s absence.
The final result of the semifinal El Clasico was 78-66 for the Madridians, who blew away Barca in the second half, scoring 42 points and allowing only 24. Real was calm on the offensive side, while in defense, they had Walter Tavares, who closed all the paths toward the basket and managed to dominate under the rival’s rim.
Tavares scored 20 points with 15 boards, recording several blocks and completely stopping Barcelona’s frontcourt. Mario Hezonja added 14 points and nine rebounds, also adding an incredible contribution to Real’s defense, with the former NBA player stopping the most-paid EuroLeague player, Nikola Mirotic, to just three points.
Head to Head games
Olympiacos defeated Real in both regular-season games. The result of the first meeting in Madrid back in October was 89-87 for the guests. Oly was better in Pireaus as well, only this time, they posted a much higher victory, 73-60.
Both teams are extremely experienced, but we need to say that Real’s players survived more games like this one. They are veterans, each with a couple of EuroLeagues or other international trophies won. The pressure is on Oly, who comes into this event as the favorite, and sometimes that can be problematic. Our pick here would be Real because of the swing and the experience, but also due to the fact that they have 10 players who can score from any given position, which isn’t the case with the Greek powerhouse.
Pick: Real Madrid +150
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.
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