Avtodor Saratov - BC Zenit Saint Petersburg predictions and free betting tips [13/11/2023]
In the first match of the United VTB League game day, Saratov's Avtodor will host Zenit from St. Petersburg on their home court.
Avtodor strengthened in this off-season with solid foreign players who have a lot of experience in Europe (Tornwell, Mavra, Vinales), and among Russians, particular attention should be paid to Vitalius Pranauskas who has the potential to become one of the main discoveries of the season.
Saratov failed the beginning of the season, losing in six matches out of seven, managing to only win against the tournament novice, Yekaterinburg's Uralmash (87:77) .
However, in the last two matches, Saratov won two victories in a row, defeating Samara (86:74) and the turbulent Pari-NN (75:65).
The club's leader at the start of the season was Kyle Vinales, scoring an average of 20.5 points per game and 5.8 assists.
Under head coach Milenko Bogachevich, the chair "rocked" in October, however, Vladimir Rodionov showed unusual patience towards this coach. The beginning of November showed that this was the right decision.
Zenit St. Petersburg
In the last season, the St Petersburg team failed to defend the title, stopping in the semi-finals, losing to the future league champion, Kazan's UNICS.
In the off-season, the team was left by veterans Sergey Monya, Vitaly Fridzon, Dmitry Kulagin, and a part of the foreign legions: Caleb Homesly, Trey Thompkins, Royce Hamm. The most important thing is that Zenit managed to keep their coach - Xavi Pascual and the French duo of Thom Ertel and Adrien Moerman.
Euroleague stars Kyle Kuric and Bojan Dubljevic were signed to support them. In addition, from the newly crowned league champions, Georgy Zbhanov and Vince Hunter were signed.
To create bench depth, Timofey Gerasimov was bought out of Yenisei, who became the captain of the Russian national team this off-season.
On paper, the team from St. Petersburg are the main favourites of the season, but the fate of the United League VTB Cup, as always, will be decided on the court.
In the first match of this season, Zenit received a hefty slap in the face from the tournament's audacious newcomer - "Uralmash". The team responded to this defeat with a victory over strong "Samara" away. However, in the match against "CSKA", the St Petersburg team allowed their opponent to get away in the first half and the hosts only had enough strength to stretch the match in the end. Victories over Astana (78:69), MBA (74:85), and Yenisei (77:80) came as no surprise, but the defeat at the end of the match against Lokomotiv-Kuban underscored an unpleasant trend for the team from St Petersburg: so far, all key matches of this regular season were lost by Zenit in the endings.
Moreover, last Sunday, St. Petersburg lost to Kazan's UNICS (93:83) and dropped to 8th place in the table.
This week Zenit defeated home Parma from Perm (78:54), but it's unlikely this victory allows for far-reaching conclusions about the team's emergence from their crisis.
In the last head-to-head match, an unexpected victory was won by Avtodor (91:79).
Xavi Pascual galvanized his team after the heavy defeat from UNICS, and in the first place, it concerns defence. I think the guests should take this match without any problems, despite the fact that Avtodor comes off a winning streak. The Saratov team doesn't have enough bench depth to stay at the top for a long time, and I don't believe they can consistently produce sensations.