This article is part of our EuroLeague Primer series.
- Real Madrid's Thomas Heurtel and Trey Thompkins will not play Thursday.
- Barcelona's Pierre Oriola and Sergi Martinez will not suit up Thursday.
- Rodrigue Beaubois will suit up for Efes on Thursday, but Dogus Balbay will not.
STATS AND INFO.
Best Bets for Success: The Final Four is finally here, and the semifinal round gets underway with second-seeded Olympiacos taking on the defending champions. The game will be played on a neutral court in Belgrade, but the arena could feel a lot like Peace and Friendship Stadium, as far more Greek fans made the trek than did supporters of any other team. The oddsmakers are leaning toward the experience in this one, as Efes is favored by a few points on most websites. The presence of Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic is a factor as well, as the Efes backcourt remains the best on the continent when at full speed – which Micic should be after missing some time with a "minor injury." Neither player stood out in the two matchups these clubs split during the regular season, but you can be sure they will come to play Thursday. Larkin checks in $600 cheaper on DraftKings, but Micic won Final Four MVP last season, so there is ample reason to believe he can deliver despite the hefty price tag. Larkin and Micic both earned All-EuroLeague honors, and Olympiacos was represented by two players as well – Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Sloukas. The former is a particularly enticing option on DraftKings, as his price has dropped below five figures and he will be facing a team that has allowed forwards to rack up more points, rebounds, assists and field goal attempts than anyone else. Sloukas was shut down when these teams squared off in Round 10, but he shined in the Round 26 rematch, and his buzzer-beater in that game was named Magic Moment of the Season.
DFS Darlings: Olympiacos will be at full strength for Thursday's contest, so expect them to run their usual rotation. Tyler Dorsey is not as affordable as he was when his team last took the court, but he remains below the $9,000 mark, making 3x value well within reach. Kostas Papanikolaou topped the 20-point mark on DraftKings seven times over his last 10 appearances, which provides some confidence if you want to attack the matchup. Shaq McKissic has been a bit boom-or-bust, but the upside is there at $7,300. On the Efes side, we're going to start with Adrien Moerman, who is down to $8,100 and averaged 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds against Olympiacos during the regular season. It's impossible not to mention Tibor Pleiss, who averaged 35.9 DraftKings points in the final two games of the Turkish team's Playoff matchup against Milan. He's far pricier than he was in those contests, though. The last player who earns a mention is Beaubois, who has not played in a while but is expected to do so Thursday. He certainly carries some risk, but he did average 21.0 points in his two matchups with the Greek club earlier in the season and at $5,600 is returning more average value than anyone else on the board. Also, with Simon out, there is one less guard to take minutes.
Best Bets for Success: El Clasico never lacks excitement, and the intensity will be ratcheted up even further in this edition, as a spot in the EuroLeague Final is on the line. Real Madrid had an easier go of it in the Playoffs, sweeping Maccabi while Barcelona needed five games to dispatch of Bayern. However, Barcelona won the last five matchups – domestic contests included – between these teams, and thus are favored by at least 3.5 points on most websites. Only one team playing Thursday has the 2021-22 Season MVP on its roster, and that would be Barcelona. Nikola Mirotic was the steadiest player throughout the campaign, and naturally, he remains his team's safest option. Mirotic has scored 17.2 ppg against Real Madrid this season, and he should get as many minutes as he can handle Thursday. Nick Calathes earns a mention here as well, particularly with him checking in at just $9,100. No fewer than nine Real Madrid players topped the 20-point mark on DraftKings at some point during the team's Playoff matchup, so things aren't as clear-cut on their side. However, we're still going to look to the frontcourt, where Walter Tavares and Guerschon Yabusele reside. Tavares is particularly enticing at just $9,300, as at that number only one player is returning more average value. Yabusele may be a bit safer than his teammate, as he put up at least 20.0 DraftKings points in nine of his last 10 trips to the court.
DFS Darlings: Real Madrid ranks best against frontcourt players in all of the points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage categories, so it's tough to like any other forwards or centers on their roster outside of Mirotic. Sertac Sanli does carry some appeal, though, at just $5,100. In the backcourt, we can't look past Nicolas Laprovittola, who averaged 29.4 DraftKings points against his former team in the two EuroLeague games these teams have played this season. It has been a long time since Cory Higgins appeared in a EuroLeague contest, but he did appear in a couple domestic contests in recent weeks, and the veteran won't have to do much to return value at $6,100. Alex Abrines is just as much guard as forward, so he is also in the mix at $6,500. It's anyone's guess how the minutes will shake out for Real Madrid, but Barcelona allows guards to get up a lot of shots, which points the needle toward Sergio Llull and Fabien Causeur, another player listed as a forward but sees action as a guard. Llull is a tad pricey, but he did put up at least 26.0 DraftKings points in three of his last five appearances. Causeur is far more affordable than his teammate, and another player to consider in that range is Rudy Fernandez, who will no doubt bring his best in his team's biggest game this season to date.