El Clasico returns to the Final Four for the second consecutive season, as Real Madrid takes on archrival FC Barcelona in the second Turkish Airlines Euroleague semifinal at Mediolanum Forum in Milan, Italy, on Friday. Madrid and Barcelona have faced each other more than 200 times over more than seven decades, but this will be just their third matchup in a Final Four environment. It is the 20th matchup between the teams in European competitions; Barcelona leads the all-time series 12-7. It is also the sixth showdown between both teams this season; Madrid is 4-1 against Barcelona in 2013-14. However, none of their showdowns this season will be more important than this. Kostas Papanikolaou, one of the four Euroleague Rising Star award winners in this game, of Barcelona can win his third consecutive Euroleague title – something can only Sarunas Jasikevicius has done since 1991. Barcelona leads the Euroleague in two-point shooting accuracy (57.1%) this season. Coach Xavi Pascual has used 12 different players in his starting lineup this season. Marcelinho Huertas is the only player that has started every Euroleague game. Ante Tomic has been the Turkish Airlines Euroleague’s best performer this season on a per-minute basis with a prorated average of a 28.5 performance index rating per 40 minutes of action.
Felipe Reyes scored 17 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench to lead Real Madrid over Barcelona 67-74 in the Euroleague Final Four semifinals last season in London. Real Madrid had the Turkish Airlines best offense this season. The club led the league in scoring (85.2 ppg.), performance index rating (104.9 per game), free throw shooting (80.2%) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.74 assists per turnover) and ranked second in three-point accuracy (39.7%).
No matter the sport, when these two get together, there is tension, drama and excitement. Even in basketball, these teams carry the hopes and expectations of their people, bringing the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona together in conflict yet again. In the semi-final of the Euroleague Final Four, there is a lot at stake when these sides clash.
In a unique twist running in line with the Barcelona football and basketball team, the Real Madrid basketball team is looking for success in Europe after many barren years. Real Madrid were the dominant team in European basketball in the mid-60s, triumphing in the Euroleague in 1964, 1965, 1967 and 1968. Further success followed in 1974, 1978 and 1980. However, the only win in the Final Four era for the men from Madrid came in 1995, which means that it has been an awful long time since the Whites tasted European glory. With the football team facing off against Athletic Madrid in Lisbon on the 24th of May, success in the semi-final and then the final on the 18th of May could ensure that there is a summer worth’s of European celebrations in the Spanish capital.
Of the last 5 performances between the Spanish giants, Real Madrid has triumphed in four of the last five. However, you should note that Barcelona triumphed in the last match between the two and they are the outsiders for the bookmakers for the semi-final clash. Bwin have Real Madrid at 1.62 to win through to the final and you will receive odds of 2.25 for the men from Catalonia to beat their capital city counterparts. Bet365 provide odds along similar lines but you’ll find that they have Real Madrid prices at 1.60 while Barcelona are priced up at 2.40 for the win. If you believe that the semi-finals will throw up an upset or two, the Bet365 site is the one with the more attractive odds so be smart if you are placing bets for the semi-final matches.
Bwin is pricing the total points scored bet at 154.5 with odds of 1.87 for the over/under bets. For the over/under bets of 154.5 points on Bet365, you will find odds of 2.03 for 155 or more points to be scored and odds of 1.70 for 154 or fewer points to be scored.
Our prediction for this match is :
over 155 points @ 2,10