The Euroleague final will see Real Madrid take on the defending champions, Fenerbahce, Saturday night in Belgrade. The bookies opened withe identical odds for the two teams, but the public quickly started to move the odds on Fener down.
Real Madrid is coming after a spectacular 92-83 win against CSKA Moscow in the Final Four semifinals on Friday, a match in which Los Blancos dominated the mighty Russians in the last three quarters, after they trailed by 10 points after one. It was a really solid performance by Real Madrid, which came to confirm how good this team is when fully healthy. It was also the 4th straight win against top class opposition for Real Madrid, after they previously won the last three games of their quarterfinal series against Panathinaikos (3-1).
Reigning champions Fenerbahce have been considered the favorites to win the title this year as well, and indeed they raised to the expectations so far. They finished the regular season as the second seed, defeated Baskonia 3-1 in the quarterfinals, and won against Zalgiris 76-67 in the Final Four semifinal on Friday. Fener did have some problems against Zalgiris and needed a big 4th quarter to win tha tone, but they did the job professionally.Bet on Real Madrid vs Fenerbahce and get a 100% (100 Eur) bonus at Ohmbet now!
Team news: There are no new injuries for either side, both teams being pretty much at full strength.
Credit to Fener for having a solid and steady season, but the team does look a bit weaker than last season. They lost two of their three best players in the summer, both moving to the NBA: Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento Kings) and Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz). The Turks did bring in replacements, but it was impossible to replicate the kind of production guys like Bogdanovic and Udoh brought to the team.
While Fenerbahce sill has top class quality, you have to feel that Real Madrid is the more talented side here. Los Blancos have 7 former NBA players to Fenerbahce’s 4, not to mention Luka Doncic, who is the potential No.1 pick in this summer’s NBA draft. Admittedly, this is a very superficial analysis of talent, but Real does seem to have more weapons than Fenerbahce.
More importantly, Real Madrid is on a roll right now. The team is in exceptional form after defeating Panathinaikos 3-1 and dominating CSKA Moscow in the semifinals. They struggled early in the season with an injury crisis, but once they got healthy, they looked almost unstoppable.
Fenerbahce has also played very well lately, but they often scraped through and did not show dominance. Their quarterfinal series against Baskonia was arguably closer than it should have been, and Zalgiris gave them a real scare in the semifinals – despite Fenerbahce being the heavy favorite in that match.
Fener looks like a solid, consistent team, but which misses the firepower from last season, and seems vulnerable to a great team in great form – which is what Real Madrid is at the moment.
Look for the Spanish side to dominate the backcourt battle, where they are clearly superior with Doncic and Llull. While Fener boasts a scary frontcourt with Thompson and Vesely, they have a height disadvantage there against Ayon and Tavares, so it`s unclear if they will be able to dominate the paint like they usually do. Real`s backcourt could prove decisive in this final.
For what it`s worth Fenerbahce is sure to have more fans, numerically but especially vocally. That is not something I put much focus on, but it`s up to you to decide if and how much that will help Fener.
It must also not be forgotten that Fenerbahce is exceptionally well coached by the legendary Zeljko Obradovic, but even so Real Madrid should have enough here. It could be close, so I reckon there`s value in taking the +2 (asian) handicap on Real instead of the straight win, so that will be my tip. Prediction: Real Madrid – Fenerbahce 88 – 84.