FMP vs. MZT / ABA League – Duel between Serbian vice-champion FMP from Zeleznik near Belgrade and Macedonian champion MZT from Skopje opens the second round of new, 17th season of regional ABA League that this season has just 12 teams. FMP ended as ninth in it last season (win/loss ratio 10-16), while MZT was mere 13th, having win/loss ratio 8-18 and it barely saved its place in the ABA league from which Krka, that had the same win/loss ratio, was eliminated. Begins: 03.10.2017 – 18:00 CET
FMP had made a great surprise last season when it eliminated Partizan from Serbian play-off with 2-0 in the series, and it needed just a bit to make another surprise at the opening of new season in ABA League. FMP played then with last year’s vice-champion and Croatian champion Cedevita and it better opened the match, winning the first quarter 24-17 and last 18-13, but nevertheless it lost in the end 67-74.
Covic was the best player with 20 points, 9 assists and 3 rebounds but he had the true co-player only in Nenadic, who scored 12 points. Jeremic, Uskokovic, Radovanovic and Djumic didn’t even score a single point. FMP pays the price for departure of seven important players as well as coach Alimpijevic, who took over Crvena Zvezda. His successor is coach Jovanovic.
Probable lineups FMP: Covic, Nenadic, Rowan, Bursac, Ojo
MZT had opened the new season of regional league with important home victory over Partizan 92-89. Newcomer Stojanovski was the best player with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Trajkovski was excellent too with 20 points and even 14 reebounds, just like Garcia with 17 points and 9 assists, who are both newcomers. That is why it is widely accepted impression that MZT has traded smartly this summer.
This team has brought 10 new players and shipped off even 13 old ones, and now it has just five foreign players. Last week MZT loaned from Fenerbahce yound Bulgarian Minchev. It is obvious that sixth consecutive champion of Macedonia has understood that room for error in format of 12 clubs is very narrow and each mistake can cost dearly. Last season MZT won the first match no earlier than in 6th round.
Probable lineups MZT: Garcia, Stojanovski, Bailey, Trajkovski, Lalic
FMP – MZT TIP
Both teams won their head-to-heads played at home last season by sound point difference. FMP is again a favourite but MZT is more efficient in attack, and could easily create a fair deal of problems to the home team. Our pick is handicap on the guests.
Pick: MZT +3.5
Odds: 1.83 at bet365 (down to 1.75 can be played)