LKL, Zalgiris - Rytas, 20/10/2019

The basketball season is slowly gaining momentum and today we will see another duel between Zalgiris Kaunas and Vilnius Rytas. This will be the 6th game for both teams in the Lithuanian Basketball League and it has to be admitted that neither Zalgiris nor Rytas has been able to mount a serious challenge in all the games played. The favourites of the Lithuanian Basketball League will face off in Vilnius today, and we'll take a look at the highlights of the upcoming game and give our prediction for this match.

Vilnius Rytas - Kaunas Zalgiris (3,40 kof. - 1,3 kof., betsafe)

Zalgiris, which beat Real Madrid, one of the biggest clubs in Europe, on Thursday, will play Vilnius Rytas in the national championship. Both teams are undefeated in the Lithuanian Basketball League this season, so this match will be the first defeat for either team.

Both Zalgiris and Rytas will go into this game in high spirits. After beating Klaipeda Neptunas 80-73 away last Sunday, Zalgiris beat Real in the Euroleague on Thursday and is now on a great run. Last Saturday, Rytas had a tough game against Alytus Dzūkija, which it swept by 38 points, but the Vilnius team had a bad Eurocup game against Partizan, which it lost 61-66 at home.

Not only have both teams won every game played in the national championship up to today, but they have done so by impressive margins: Žalgiris has won by an average of 25 points, while Rytas has won by 17.8 points. It will be very interesting to see these teams face off again, as the match in Vilnius should be a really tough one.

Lithuanian basketball players

Since Zalgiris Kaunas and Vilnius Rytas are always the most anticipated games in the Lithuanian Basketball League, and the teams have a very long history, it is often the Lithuanian players who have the biggest influence on these games. As R. Šiškauskas said in an interview with krepš "Lithuanians are more aware of the importance and tension of this derby, as many of them grew up watching these teams play, while legionnaires tend to be the helpers in such matches." Interestingly, both teams have a lot of Lithuanians in their line-ups, who are not just extras but play important roles, especially in the national championship.

Team leaders

Vilnius Rytas is ahead in the Lithuanian Basketball League:

Eimantas Bendžius - 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds Bendis is off to one of the best starts of his career this season and so far he is looking good on both the domestic and European fronts. It will be very important for Rytas to make his shots against Zalgiris, even though he is not often successful against Zalgiris.

Francisco Cruz - 12.4 points The Mexican, who averages 12.4 points per game in the Lithuanian Basketball Championship, together with Bendzis, are the players who can cause a lot of problems when they feel the shot. Cruz is hard to predict, he can play a full combination in one offensive possession and in the next one he can shoot a three-pointer while running out of his hands. On the one hand, it's not good, but against Zalgiris the surprise factor can work.

Evaldas Kairys - Averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds per game, the centre-forward certainly doesn't spoil the image on the court. Although Rytas fans were unhappy with his contract extension before the season, Kairys looks good and his ability to hold his own against Zalgiris' big men will be a big part of Rytas' success.

Zalgiris leaders in the national championship:

Zach Leday - 14.4 points and 2.8 rebounds The American is already showing that he is ready to become one of the team's leaders in just 17 minutes. With a phenomenal performance against Real Madrid and 35 points, the player is in great shape and will definitely be an important factor in the game against Vilnius Rytas.

Jock Landale - 8.6 points The Zalgiris Aussie is collecting these stats in just 15 minutes in the national championship. Although Landale hasn't been able to break the ice in the EuroLeague yet, he is looking really good in the Lithuanian Basketball League.

Edgaras Ulanovas - 8.2 points Zalgiris' leading scorer, who averages 8.8 points and 3 rebounds, is very often one of the main reasons for the victories against Rytas. Although he averaged only 18 minutes on the court before this game, it is likely that with the game on the line, Ulanovas will play longer today and a good game will be important for a 6th win.

Previous mutual meetings

Zalgiris has won the last 5 meetings and their last away loss against Rytas was on 11 June 2018. Zalgiris' last win was in last year's final game, where Zalgiris defeated Vilnius 92-54.


It has to be admitted that although the game will be played in Vilnius, Zalgiris Kaunas is still considered the favourite. The team is strong, the players are starting to understand the system and the results are coming. Vilnius Rytas played a great first Eurocup game against Lokomotiv, which they managed to beat, even though it was the Russian players who were considered favourites before the game. Anyway, Rytas' play in Europe did not continue, and the victories in the Lithuanian league are not that important, as Zalgiris is several heads ahead of the other teams.

Considering how good Zalgiris is at scoring the ball and finding good shots, it's hard to imagine how Vilnius would manage to stay above 80 points. Rytas players themselves also have more options on offense than on defense, so we should see a better-than-usual matchup between these teams today. However, Zalgiris looks the more reliable team today and we'll go with their point spread.

Zalgiris will score more than 80.5 points, 1.85 odds, betsafe.