With just over three weeks to go until the start of the new Euroleague season, Emmet Ryan casts an eye over what the sports books are saying about the upcoming season
The champs are here but really? Really? Look, my early pick to win it all in Berlin next May is probably going to be Real Madrid but their price is offensive to gamblers, even bettors who love Los Blancos should be raging at what the books are saying. Real are 9/4 to win it all again on the best books. There is no way that any team, and I mean ANY, that has to run the slate of Euroleague and then survive the limited situation of a Final Four should be shorter than 4/1. That should be the opening day favourite situation.
My early value pick, according to basketballbetting.co.uk‘s early numbers, is Khimki. No, I don’t expect them to win it all nor do I even expect them to make the Final Four but I do expect them to make the playoffs and that’s where the value play situation comes in. Khimki are far too long at 20/1 and that gives bettors a chance to lay them like mad once the post-season starts. Look at RMB right now, the bookies haven’t given close to enough room to narrow them accurately come spring (when fewer teams are left and we know a LOT more about them). Khimki are the team you put a small bet on in September and then wait for the post-season when suddenly you can use them for leverage. Essentially they are the Pacers when they were rising a few years ago. You knew the Pacers weren’t going to win it all but you also knew you could use them to get better value out of another team later.
Along similar lines Maccabi Tel Aviv and Panathinaikos (both 25/1) should be excellent bets in the same regard. Right now, if I’m betting, I’m ignoring the favourites and putting tiny bets on the three of these teams to carry me to later in the year.
Naturally some folk won’t want to do that and back a big hitter early. Looking beyond Real Madrid there’s CSKA Moscow at 11/4 which is also offensive, Fenerbahce at 13/2 which isn’t terrible, and Olympiacos at 7/1. With Fener and Oly, that’s not likely to move too much as the season wears on but both could narrow by the playoffs. CSKA won’t move until the Final Four and at that stage you are going to be wondering if CSKA are going to CSKA again.
Our next betting preview will look at Eurocup, hint it’s a trap, and we’ll also cast eyes over a few of the top end national leagues.