The EuroLeague derby between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos is one of the central games of this competition. Though, it won’t have the same competitive meaning for both units. On one side, Olympiacos chases the top spot in the league, while Panathinaikos sits fourth from behind, far away from the playoffs and any talks about the title. Nevertheless, the rivalry between these two units is massive and both sides will go after a win. Oly is a big favorite not only due to the quality of the team but the home-court advantage as well.
Olympiacos (22-9, -800) is atop of the standings but has the same record as Real Madrid and is one win away from Barcelona. So they need to keep on pushing hard in order to get the lower-seeded teams in the quarterfinals.
The team from Piraes is one of the most efficient in the league, and they like playing fast-paced basketball with plenty of points. On the other side, their defense is equally confident, allowing the fewest points in the entire EuroLeague.
Olympiacos won four of the past five games, with the only loss coming in Belgrade against Partizan, 90-75, but the Greek powerhouse bounced back following that with back-to-back victories, one against PAOK in the domestic league, 100-70, and over Asvel 81-55.
Panathinaikos (11-19, +475) had a turbulent season in which they didn’t play an important role in any of the competitions involved. PAO has been mediocre, and after a while, they weren’t a top factor in EuroLeague.
Though, since making a switch at the head coaching position when Dejan Radonjic left and Christos Serelis took over, the Greens from Athens have improved significantly and, right now, have three EuroLeague victories in the past four events.
The only loss came against Barcelona, but the team immediately recovered, beating Bayern 86-76 this Tuesday while shooting 13-for-23 for three points, or a remarkable 53.3%. Georgios Papagianis was the best player of this event with 24 points and 11 boards, not missing a single shot, hitting seven two-pointers and three hists from downtown.
Head to Head Games
Olympiacos has been dominant in the rivalry over the past few years, and right now has 12 consecutive victories over PAO, which is incredible. The two sides played less than two weeks ago, and Oly beat Panathinaikos on his own turf, 74-76. Previously they met three more times, in the Greek Cup, 81-65, in the EuroLeague, 91-75, and in the domestic league, where Oly squeezed out a victory in front of its crowd, 68-66.
Even though Oly is a massive favorite and has dozen consecutive victories over Panathinaikos, this game could be very interesting. PAO is in much better shape than before, and head coach Serelis really improved their game over the past few weeks. They are more competitive than before, and we expect to see the guests putting up some resistance to the rivals. Though that won’t be enough due to Oly’s crowd and deeper rotation, yet we believe that the guests can defend an 11.5-point spread. It is simply too much for the moment, particularly because PAO plays without any pressure.
Pick: Panathinaikos -11.5 -110
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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