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CSKA Moscow & Fenerbache the biggest favorites for this year EuroLeague

   CSKA Moscow & Fenerbache the biggest favorites for this year EuroLeague

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CSKA Moscow has been installed as the pre-season favorite to seize glory in the 2018/19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague basketball competition. Dimitrios Itoudis’ men finished top of the table last season, with 24 wins out of 30 games, but faltered in the Final Four, losing 92-83 to Real Madrid. Yet the Russian team has been extremely consistent over the years and the oddsmakers expect it to enjoy another fantastic season ahead. However, competition is fierce and it will face several difficult showdowns over the course of the campaign.

Itoudis has been busy bolstering his roster in the off-season, and he landed a real coup by signing exciting youngster Alec Peters from the Phoenix Suns. The 6’9 small forward broke Valparaiso records in scoring 2,348 points and grabbing 996 rebounds during his career earning the Division 1 Player of the Year title. He played 20 NBA games last year, and it will be up to the coach to nurture his talent.

“Besides the fact that he could receive NBA offers, he was convinced and decided to make this step in his career and come to our team,” said Itoudis. “I believe he will help us with his extremely good long range shooting, post game, court vision, selfishness, understanding of team defense and other skills.”

The Army Team further bolstered its ranks by signing Joel Bolomboy, who has played for Utah Jazz and the Milwaukee Bucks, plus Ivan Ukhov from Parma and Daniel Hackett from Brose Bamberg. Leading sports betting sites have installed CSKA as the 2/1 (+200) favorite ahead of the new season, and it is a popular choice thus far among bettors.

Fenerbache is the second favourite at around 7/2 (+350) and right now that is the most popular choice among bettors. It finished second in the table last season and only narrowly lost to Real Madrid in the Championship game. In the final quarter, it was losing by 11 points, but cut the deficit to just three with a stirring comeback. A late score saw Real Madrid secure a five-point victory, but Fenerbache enjoyed a very strong season overall.

Since then it has gone all out in a bid to improve its roster, snapping up NBA stars Joffrey Lauvergne and Tyler Ennis. Lauvergne is 26 years old and he has represented the Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs in a varied career. Ennis has been similarly prolific, playing for the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and LA Lakers, despite only being 24. He played 54 times as a guard for the Lakers last season, and he is also a member of the Canadian national team.

Lauvergne opted out of a $1.6 million contract with the Spurs to join the Turkish powerhouse, and he also has European experience with Valencia, Khimki Moscow and Partizan Belgrade. He will link up with another former Partizan player, center Jan Vesely, at Fenerbache.

What of champion Real Madrid? It is third in the betting, well ahead of Panathanaikos, Olympiakos and Barcelona, and many bookmakers are expecting a three-horsed race this season. Real Madrid is not resting on its laurels either and it has snapped up Klemen Prepelic from Levallois Metropolitans and Gabriel Deck from San Lorenzo as it seeks to build on last year’s success.

It only finished fifth in the table last season, so its achievement in going on to win the championship was hugely impressive. It faces a tough battle in trying to defend its crown, but the intense level of competition is what makes the SuperLeague so exciting and we should be in for another thrilling season.

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