Date/Time: 05-09-2018, 12:30 EDT
Spread: CSKA Moscow -9.5
In game 1 of this Russian VTB United League semifinal, the top-seeded and defending champions CSKA Moscow (22-4), after eliminating Nizhny Novgorod in the first round with 3-0 wins, are hosting the fifth-seeded Zenit Petersburg (15-11), who was the only team to advance from the quarterfinals without a home court advantage.
CSKA Moscow finished the regular season with a 22-4 and were placed first in the league. They have won eight of their last nine matches and in their last game they won on the road against Nizhny in Game 3 with a 72-80 score, eliminating them 3-0 wins. They are led in scoring by Nando De Colo with 16.4 ppg, adding 3.2 boards per game. He is followed by Mikhail Kulagin with 12.2 ppg and 3.2 dimes per game, while Sergio Rodriguez adds 11.7 ppg and a team high 4.4 dimes per game.
Top Basketball BookmakersZenit Petersburg finished the regular season with a 14-12 record were placed fifth in the league table. They have won four of their last five matches and in their last game they won at home against Lokomotiv Kuban in Game 4 with an 87-85 score, eliminating them 3-1 wins. They are led in scoring by Jalen Reynolds with 16.7 ppg, adding a team high 8 boards per game. He is followed by Philip Scrubb with 10.5 ppg and 4 dimes per game, while Brandon Jennings adds 10.2 ppg and a team high 6.4 dimes per game.
In their two previous meetings in the regular season each team won once at home (CSKA by 10 points and Zenit by 7). CSKA Moscow have a 12-1 home record, while Zenit are 5-8 on the road. CSKA Moscow are better both offensively, scoring 92.5 ppg to Zenit’s 88.5 and defensively, allowing 75.7 ppg to Zenit’s 83.8. They also have a better accuracy in field goals (51.7% to 48.8%), while both teams are almost equal both in 3-point percentage (40.2% to 40.1%) and in boards grabbed (31.9 to 31.8). Zenit on the other hand are better both in turnovers committed (12.2 to 13.1) and in dimes made (21.2 to 18.8). Bookmakers give CSKA Moscow a -9.5 spread but don’t expect them to beat the odds as Zenit will surely force a closer game than that once again.
CSKA Moscow vs Nizhny Novgorod Game 3 Prediction: Zenit Petersburg +9.5 (-115)