EuroLeague Round 17 Preview and Betting Tips for Games on Thursday, December 23

| December 21, 2021 6:52 am PDT

EuroLeague Basketball brings us some exciting matches this Thursday, the most notable being the “Mother of All Battles” – the clash between two Greek foes, Panathinaikos and Olympiacos.

Then, there’s the game between the two most successful EuroLeague teams – Real Madrid (10 titles) and CSKA Moscow (8 titles).

As if that wasn’t enough, Round 17 brings us another three exciting games, namely:

  • Zenit Petersburg vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv
  • Bayern vs. Baskonia
  • ASVEL Lyon vs. Fenerbahce

I will now preview the two most interesting matchups, as well as share my predictions for all the remaining games scheduled for Thursday.

Olympiacos to Beat Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos vs. Olympiacos is a classic basketball rivalry involving the two most successful Greek clubs. Panathinaikos is the most decorated team in Greece, closely followed by its arch-rival Olympiacos.

The Panathinaikos vs. Olympiacos rivalry started more than 70 years ago. The two foes locked horns for the first time in 1947.

Their fans don’t like each other, to put it mildly. The reasons go beyond what’s happening on the basketball court; they include various cultural, social, and regional differences between the supporters of these two clubs.

For instance, Panathinaikos is based in the center of Athens, representing the upper class of Athenian society. Meanwhile, Olympiakos is based in Piraeus, a port city adjacent to the Greek capital, which has a large working-class community.

The Panathinaikos vs. Olympiakos EuroLeague rivalry started in the 1993-94 season when the two rivals met in the semifinal. Olympiacos won the game 77-72, then did the same 11 more times. Panathinaikos currently has seven EuroLeague wins over Olympiacos, the most recent of those happening last February.

Online sportsbooks, however, don’t think the boys in green will do the same again. Instead, the bookmakers see Olympiacos as the favorite. The reason is simple – Olympiacos is 11-5 in the EuroLeague, while Panathinaikos’ current record is 4-12.

Real Madrid to Beat CSKA Moscow

Real Madrid is the most successful team in Europe, with 10 EuroLeague titles in the collection. The second in that list is CSKA Moscow, with just two titles fewer.

Speaking of EuroLeague titles, we’ve seen three Real Madrid vs. CSKA Moscow Finals so far. Okay, I didn’t see any of those EuroLeague Finals as all happened back in the 1960s.

This doesn’t mean the two giants of European basketball haven’t been seeing one another much in recent times. On the contrary, the two are regulars in the EuroLeague, meaning that they play at least two games every season.

Last season, Real Madrid and CSKA met two times in the regular season, with the Muscovites winning both games. This time, we could see the opposite happening.

Online sportsbooks are now giving the role of the favorite to the Russian team. That, however, wasn’t the case when the betting odds were initially released. So, what happened? COVID-19 happened.

Vincent Poirier tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, joining two other Real Madrid players in the COVID-19 list – Fabien Causeur and Thomas Heurtel. On top of that, Los Blancos coach Pablo Laso also tested positive and will miss the CSKA game.

Nevertheless, I still think Real Madrid has a good chance to win in Round 17. It’s because the players who are 100% fit have been playing fantastic basketball this season.

For instance, Walter Tavares and Guerschon Yabusele, the two Real Madrid players with the highest Performance Index Rating (PIR) in the EuroLeague, are ready to feature in Thursday’s game. These guys have been crucial for Real’s success this season.

Speaking of Los Blancos’ success, they are 13-3 in the EuroLeague, which puts them in the #2 position in the standings, with just one win fewer than the table leader Barcelona.

This team is also fantastic when playing in Madrid, with a 100% home record in the 2021-22 EuroLeague. Meanwhile, CSKA Moscow is 4-4 on the road.

On top of that, CSKA’s players have been struggling to find proper form lately. In the previous round, they had to work extra hard to beat Alba Berlin. Even though Alba remains one of the biggest EuroLeague underdogs, CSKA beat them by just three points last Friday.

At least they won that game – that’s what their fans are probably thinking. It’s because one round earlier, they got obliterated by their Russian rival UNICS Kazan. The game was played on CSKA’s turf, but the visitors got themselves a blowout win (88-67).

Predictions for Other EuroLeague Games on Thursday

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv (+4.5) Against Zenit Petersburg
  • Bayern Munich to Beat Baskonia
  • Fenerbahce to Beat ASVEL Lyon

Why do I think Maccabi is going to give Zenit a run for the money? Because the Israeli champion has a fantastic roster, which is at least equally good as the one of Zenit. Sure, Maccabi players prefer playing in Tel Aviv (they’re 5-3 at home and 2-6 on the road), but now is the right time to step up.

I also think Bayern Munich will continue its amazing home run. This team has won every single game in Munich since early November when they lost to mighty Real Madrid by just four points.  

My reasoning for predicting a Fenerbahce win is that ASVEL has been in a horrible run. Actually, the team is coming off four straight EuroLeague losses, some of which happened against mediocre teams like Baskonia, for example.

Best EuroLeague Betting Tips for Thursday

Olympiacos (-3.5) Against Panathinaikos1.85
Real Madrid to Beat CSKA Moscow2.00

I took the odds from 888sport, which is one of my favorite sportsbooks for basketball betting. It offers attractive odds on bets that seem very likely to win. The two bets you see in the table above definitely belong to that category.

Zarko Naric

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

Zarko started writing for 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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