Euroleague Basketball (Turkish Airlines Euroleague for sponsorship reasons), is a top-tier competition played between the best European basketball teams. It has been launched in 1958 as the FIBA Euroleague before being rebranded as Euroleague Basketball in 2000. It’s the most popular basketball event in Europe and the second most watched basketball event in the world outside of the NBA.
For decades, the Euroleague has been the top basketball competition in Europe where only the best teams play. Known as the European Champions Cup in the past, the Euroleague includes the best 16 teams from Europe. After the 1999-00 season, the Euroleague replaced the previous competition. FIBA never trademarked the name, so a private group bought it and started a new competition, forcing FIBA to create its own tournament. This created a rift between many teams who were torn between two competitions, often preferring the Euroleague. The rift is still alive, with FIBA trying to take back the ownership of the Euroleague without success.
The competition includes the champions of the best European leagues such as Turkey, Russia, Spain, Greece, etc. It also includes selected teams from the same leagues and a few lesser-known teams that can qualify through certain competitions. The league uses a tournament system which culminates with a Final Four, held at different European venues every year.
With 10 titles behind its name, Real Madrid is the most successful club in the Euroleague. Russian tour de force CSKA Moscow is right behind the Madrid club with 7 titles, while Maccabi Tel Aviv and Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos have 6 each. Recently, Greek club Olympiacos and Turkish giant Fenerbahce have dominated the competition, although Fenerbahce’s Euroleague reign ended last year when Real Madrid won their record 10th title.
With many squad changes over the summer and the new Euroleague almost upon us (starting October 11 and 12), we’re hoping that this season will offer even more excitement and action than last year.
Can the Red Army Get Back on the Throne?
With 7 titles in the competition, the Russian basketball giant is one of the most successful clubs in the Euroleague, although their last came long ago in 2016. CSKA Moscow is always near the top, regularly placing at the Final Four. Over the years, the team has been home to legendary players such as Sergei Belov, the first international player to be inducted in the NBA Hall of Fame and the Best FIBA Player Ever, as well as Andrei Kirilenko, Theodoros Papaloukas, Milos Teodosic, and many more.
The Russian powerhouse is always among the first few favourites for the Euroleague, and this year is no exception. SportPesa, Fun88, LV BET, RedZoneSports, and MansionBet all have the Red Army as the favourite for the 18-19 Euroleague with odds of 9/4. Placing a bet on the Moscow team will more than triple your investment and if you ask us, CSKA is a pretty safe bet.
With players such as Nando de Colo and Sergio Rodriguez in their team as well as summer addition Daniel Hackett, CSKA will surely be the team to beat in this year’s Euroleague.
Fenerbahce – a Second to None Favourite
Turkish champion Fenerbahce was surprised by the Luka Doncic-led Real Madrid in last year’s final when everyone expected them to lift back-to-back trophies. Although the team had a great season, it was clear that something was lacking and it showed in the final. Fener looked tired and unimpressive while Luka Doncic danced around their stars, eventually winning the MVP award.
This summer, Fenerbahce lost a few of its key players (Nunnally and Wanamaker) but has managed to even the odds by signing Joffrey Lauvergne and Tyler Ennis, players with great experience in the NBA. With financial problems on its back, Fenerbahce has retained its other key players such as Gigi Datome and Nicolo Melli, so they will no doubt be one of the Euroleague favourites.
Bookies have placed Fener as a second to none favourite with odds of 7/2 (LV BET, EnergyBet) and 16/5 (MansionBet, Fun88, SportPesa). These odds are close to CSKA Moscow’s which means that whatever happens, Fener should be near the top at the end of the season. With Zeljko Obradovic at the helm, we have no doubt they can do great things.
Can Real Madrid Retain the Title?
Led by future teenage phenom Luka Doncic, Real Madrid surprised everyone last year by defeating champions Fenerbahce in a thrilling final. After an unimpressive start of the season, the Spanish champion squeezed into the Final Four, where wins over CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce brought them the title. It was all because of Doncic, who won the MVP award, becoming the youngest player ever to win it. This helped him secure a high place in this year’s NBA draft – the Slovenian was selected as the 3rd pick by the Atlanta Hawks before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
Doncic’s decision to apply in the NBA draft has left Real Madrid without serious firepower. In an attempt to fill the hole left by the Slovenian, they’ve signed his compatriot Klemen Prepelic, but it’s clear that the team is weakened by Doncic’s departure. Still, no one gave them big chances last year as well, and the Madrid-based team still managed to triumph.
Bookies have Real Madrid right behind Fenerbahce on the list of favourites. Wagering a pound on Real Madrid will bring you 5 in return, so their chances are not so low as many hoped before the odds were revealed. It might be a longshot, but wagering on Real Madrid can bring you a lot of money, so keep it in mind.
After Real Madrid, the list of favourites includes Greek rivals Panathinaikos and Olympiacos as well as former Euroleague champion Barcelona. Many experts considered Olympiacos to be higher up the list, maybe taking Real Madrid’s place. However, the three-time Euroleague champion is stuck behind Greek champions and arch-rivals Panathinaikos, with quite unattractive odds of 10/1 at MansionBet, Fun88, EnergyBet, SportPesa, and LV BET.
On the other hand, Panathinaikos has odds of 9/1 at EnergyBet and LV BET, and 17/2 at Fun88, SportPesa, and MansionBet. Both teams have nicely reinforced their squads during the summer and will undeniably be among the top teams in the Euroleague this season. With David Blatt at the helm, Olympiacos can be a surprise in the Euroleague, so if you feel the same, you should consider placing a bet on the Athens-based team.
Sixth on the list of Euroleague favourites is Catalan giant Barcelona. Although the odds for Barca are quite unappealing for the team (18/1 at MansionBet, LV BET, Fun88, EnergyBet, SportPesa), they looked reinvigorated with the return of Svetislav Pesic on the helm last year. With the addition of quality players such as Kyle Curic and Jaka Blazic this summer, Barcelona might return to European glory and help you win big if you place a wager on the Catalan team.