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Odds and Betting Preview for the 2021-22 Lithuanian Basketball League

| September 15, 2021 4:11 am PDT

Although there are only about 2.8 million people who call Lithuania their home, this country has its place in the basketball pantheon. Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, and many other greats of the sport are originally from Lithuania.

Sure, most of them achieved glory playing in the NBA and/or EuroLeague, but they all started their road to stardom from their home country of Lithuania.

The Lietuvos Krepšinio Lyga a.k.a. the LKL is the current top tier of Lithuanian basketball. It might not be the very best league in Europe, but it’s definitely one of the most entertaining ones.

The thing about the Lithuanian LKL is that you can never be sure when a young talent is going to explode, taking his team to glory along the way.

Still, the fact is that most Lithuanian talents usually end up playing for Žalgiris. The team has won each of the past 11 LKL titles.

According to oddsmakers like BetOnline, Žalgiris is likely to do the same for the 12th time straight. And by a lot.

Is that where bettors should stop with the 2021-22 LKL season approaching? Let’s dive into the Lithuanian Basketball League odds to find out.

Lithuanian Basketball League Odds for 2021-22

Žalgiris-2000
Rytas Vilnius+700
Lietakabelis Panevezys+2800
Juventus Utena+5000
Neptunas Klaipeda+6600
Pieno Zvaidzdes Pasvalys+8000
Jonavos Jonava+8000
Siauliai+10000
Prienai+12500
Nevezis+15000
Dzukija Alytus+20000

The betting odds at the top basketball betting sites tell the whole story – Žalgiris is, by far, the biggest favorite for winning another trophy, thus continuing its dominance.

Sure, all the remaining teams will do their utmost to ruin Žalgiris’ plans, but the chances for something like that happening seem very slim.

Rytas Vilnius is priced as the top challenger, but the drop from -2000 to +700 is rather steep. It only gets aggressively worse from there, as the team with the third best odds pulls in at a disturbing +2800.

The odds don’t always necessarily tell the whole story, but at first glance, if you’re betting on who will win the Lithuania Basketball League in 2021-22, you should start with Zalgiris.

Let’s dig more into why Zalgiris is favored, and if anyone else could be worth your time this season.

Why is Žalgiris Such a Strong Favorite for the LKL Title?

For nearly 50 years, Lithuania was a part of the USSR and its basketball clubs played in the Soviet domestic league together with clubs from Russia, Ukraine, and other states.

However, soon after Lithuania became an independent country in 1991, the country launched its own basketball league. The year was 1993 when the first season of the Lithuanian LKL league started.

Since then, 28 seasons were played, but only two teams have won the trophy in that period. One of those is Rytas Vilnius, who did it five times; all the other 23 titles ended up in Žalgiris’ possession.

In each of the past 11 seasons, Žalgiris was the champion. The club captain, Paulius Jankūnas, was with the team in each of those seasons.

Once again, Žalgiris has a super-strong roster, so it’s no surprise they’re favored to win another trophy without any problems. Apart from the players who have been around for a while, this season, Žalgiris has some new faces in the locker room.

Their biggest signing of the offseason is American power forward Tyler Cavanaugh who arrived from Tenerife in June.

Before that, the 27-year-old spent a few seasons in Alba Berlin where he came after his contract with the Utah Jazz expired.

Žalgiris did bring one American, but they also let one go. Thomas Walkup, the man who won the LKL Finals MVP award last season has moved to Olympiakos in the offseason.

Is his absence going to harm Žalgiris’ chances in the upcoming season?

Can Rytas Vilnius End Žalgiris’ Dominance?

Probably not, although this team has some decent players on the roster. Arnas Butkevičius is definitely one of the players who seems to belong with much stronger teams.

The Lithuanian power forward has been with the team since 2017, helping the team win the King Mindaugas Cup (Lithuanian cup) in 2019.

This season, Rytas also has Margiris Normantas on the roster. The shooting guard won the LKL Breakthrough of the Year award last year while playing for Lietkabelis Panevėžys.

In 2021-22, he’s more experienced and has much better teammates to push him forward. That said, I expect to see a lot from him.

Another player who could make a big difference this season is Croatian center Ivan Buva.

He arrived in Lithuania in summer 2021, having previously played for 13 different clubs. Buva has plenty of experience, although the fact is he doesn’t have too many trophies in his collection.

Pretty much the same goes for all the other players in the Rytas Vilnius squad. That said, they’re all probably very hungry for success.

What has to worry them, at least slightly, is they have a new coach in the 2021-22 season. Giedrius Žibėnas is a 37-year-old who previously worked as an assistant coach to Rytas’ previous boss, Donaldas Kairys. When Kairys got sacked, Žibėnas was put in the hot seat.

Is There Any Other LKL Team That Stands a Chance in 2021-22?

Lietakabelis Panevezys team logo

Lietakabelis Panevezys is the #3 in the list of LKL favorites. However, the fact that the odds on this team are +2800 shows that the bookies don’t consider them serious contenders for the trophy.

One of the reasons is that the club has parted ways with some of its best players from the 2020-21 season.

As a result, we might see them relying on some youngsters in the upcoming season, a strategy that probably isn’t going to bring the title into their hands.

It’s basically the same situation where Juventus Utena is concerned, as well as all the remaining clubs in the league. They all come with very, very long betting odds, suggesting they have not much to hope for during the 2021-21 season.

Betting on the 2021-22 Lithuanian LKL

Žalgiris is going to win the 2021-22 LKL title with ease. Anything other than that would be a major surprise.

The thing is that this team is just one level above everyone else in the LKL.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who thinks this. Oddsmakers share my opinion, giving the -2000 odds for Žalgiris to retain the title.

Sure, there’s not much value in betting on Žalgiris, but there’s also not much risk. Betting on them to add another LKL title to the collection means taking money from the bookies’ hands.

You may also enjoy this post on 3 sleeper picks that could win the 2021-22 EuroLeague.

Zarko Naric

Zarko Naric – the World's Greatest Sportswriter, according to his grandma.

Zarko started writing for GamblingSites.com in 2019, covering sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball,  as well as some more niche sports like cycling, for example.

In addition to writing news, picks, and blog pieces focused on sports, Zarko’s also been covering politics, TV/music contests, and so on.

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