BC Khimki will host Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Khimki Basketball Centre in the first EuroLeague game of the season.
Neither side qualified for the playoffs, which is something they will look to amend this time. Khimki finished 13th last time, as they won only 9 out of the 30 regular-season games. Zalgiris in eighth place won six more games, and they were the last team to make the playoffs. Khimki made the playoffs the season before but bowed out in the quarter-finals to close rivals CSKA Moscow.
CSKA have continued to dominate the domestic landscape as well. They have won the Russian League every season since 2003. Khimki have been their nearest challengers, and they have finished as runners-up in three of the last four seasons. However, CSKA have always managed to get the better of them. Khimki’s last league success came in 2008 when they won the Superleague A. Since they started playing in the United League, league titles have eluded them.
Khimki have not impressed in the Euroleague, but they have found success in the second tier. In the last decade, they have claimed two EuroCup titles, the latest of which came in 2015. Timofey Mozgov has been among their recruits for this season. The former NBA champion came over from the Orlando Magic. He is likely to take over the role of starting centre in the side. Aside from Mozgov, Khimki signed the likes of Jonas Jerebko and Stefan Jovic in the offseason.
They will come up against the Isreali champions Maccabi Tel Aviv. In the last two seasons, Maccabi have won the Israeli League. They beat Maccabi Rishon LeZion 89-75 in the final to claim their second consecutive league title. Maccabi finished first in the regular season as well, winning 27 out of the 33 games. However, they were not as effective in the EuroLeague. They won 14 out of 30 games in the regular season to finish in 10th place. Zalgiris were the last team to make the playoffs, and they won just one more game.
Maccabi have won the EuroLeague when they lifted the trophy in 2014. Under head coach David Blatt, they won Israeli League, the Isreali Cup, and the EuroLeague that season. Since then, the farthest they have gotten is the quarter-finals. In the last two campaigns, they have failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Maccabi’s current coach is Ioannis Sfairopoulos, who was hired last season. The coach before him was not faring as well as Maccabi endured a 1-6 start to the EuroLeague. Sfairopoulos was the Olympiacos coach before landing the job in Tel Aviv. He was named as the best coach in Israel last year.
Khimki vs Maccabi Tel Aviv Betting Tips
Maccabi will be favorites to open their EuroLeague campaign with a win, but it won’t be easy. Khimki have really strengthened in the off-season, and they should put up a fight. The margin of victory should be less than 10 points, but an away win seems to be on the cards.