It has been a long summer for basketball fans in Europe but on the 12th of October, 2017, the wait is over and the Euroleague is back. This is the 18th season of the modern day Euroleague and it is the 61st season that the leading clubs in European basketball have battled it out. All of the focus, as usual, is on making it to the Final Four and in 2018, the Kombank Arena in Belgrade is the host, which means every basketball player in the Euroleague is looking to make it to Serbia at the start of next summer.
Like last season, the regular season sees every team in the league pitted against each other. With 16 sides taking part in the 2017/18 Euroleague, there will be 30 games in the regular season and at the end of it all, the top 8 ranked sides will progress to the Playoffs and the bottom 8 teams see their European activities concluded for the season.
All teams are striving to make the Playoff stage
In the Playoffs, the best-of-five games format is in use so the first team that wins three games in the series will progress. The top four ranked teams in the regular season will play their first two games at home and if necessary, will have home advantage in the fifth game. The lower ranked opponent will have a home game in the third match and if necessary, the fourth game too.
The four successful sides from the Playoff will make their way to Serbia for the Final Four in May and of course, the team that wins the semi-final and then final match will be crowned Euroleague champions for the 2017/18 season.
The make-up of this season’s Euroleague involves:
- 5 Spanish sides
- 2 Greek sides
- 2 Russian sides
- 2 Turkish sides
- 1 Israeli side
- 1 Italian side
- 1 Lithuanian side
- 1 Croatian side
- 1 German side
The Spanish ranks have been boosted by the fact that Unicaja Malaga won the EuroCup last season, which means that they take their place alongside Licence Clubs FC Barcelona Lassa, Real Madrid and Baskonia, with Valencia Basket rounding out the Spanish contingent.
Olympiacos and Panathinaikos Superfoods are Greek stalwarts in the Euroleague and CSKA Moscow and Khimki fly the flag for Russia. Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahce are the Turkish representatives and of course, Fenerbahce are the reigning Euroleague champions after they defeated Olympiacos in the Grand Final in the Final Four. This was Fenerbahce’s first ever triumph in the Euroleague so while they will be determined to retain their title this season, they will clearly be looking to enjoy the season as much as they can. The holder of any title will face additional pressures, so this is something new that the Turkish side has to deal with but it will add something to their season.
There is a big loss to the CSKA Moscow ranks
One big loss to the Euroleague season comes with the fact that Miloš Teodosić will be involved with the NBA this campaign. The player has left CSKA Moscow and is now playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Russian side still have Nando De Colo on their roster, which will give them plenty of confidence but the dismantling of this partnership will mean that CSKA may not be as strong as they have been in previous years.
Another thing that many basketball fans are looking out for is whether FC Barcelona Lassa can recapture their form this season. The 2016/17 campaign was an abysmal one for the Catalan side, never recovering from a poor start caused by injuries and poor form. There has been a change at the top of the club with coach Georgios Bartzokas being sacked and replaced with Sito Alonso, who was the coach of Baskonia last season.
Basketball betting odds are available
As you’d expect, there is a vibrant Futures market on offer for the 2017/18 Euroleague season. Bet365 make CSKA Moscow the pre-season favourites and they are listed as 3.20 for the title while reigning champions Fenerbahce are available at 4.50 to retain their crown. Real Madrid can be backed at 6.00 while Greek sides Panathinaikos are listed at 9.00 Olympiacos are available at 11.00. Barcelona are at 12.00 then there is a drop down to 21.00 for Anadolu Efes and 23.00 for Maccabi Tel Aviv. The lowest ranked team, according to Bet365, is Crvena Zvezda and they are found at odds of 151.00 for the title. This is probably unlikely but it wouldn’t be the longest odds to cause a shock in sport in recent times.
With the first round of fixtures taking place on Thursday 12th of October and Friday the 13th of October, the time for talking is over and the action is set to begin. There is sure to be a thrilling start to the season with Anadolu Efes playing against Real Madrid in the season opener. At this point in time, the season is wide open and all teams will have their hopes, aims and ambitions for the campaign. Before too long, many of these hopes and aims will be extinguished but for now, basketball fans and basketball betting participants can dream about what will unfold over the next few months.