The following are previews with betting tips for Round 8 of the 2017/18 NBL season.
Thursday, November 30
Sydney Kings v Cairns Taipans
Pre-Game Lead-Up: The Sydney Kings are still in dead-last position with a 2-9 record after a humiliating 108-93 loss to the 36ers. Sydney led by 3 points at the end of the 1st quarter but couldn’t hold on as Adelaide posted 35 points in the 2nd. A defining period of the game for the Kings was their 3rd quarter in which they scored a measly 16 points while their opponents scored 23. Perry Ellis had 26 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. While Jerome Randle, facing his former team for the first time had 18 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Of the bench, Isaac Humphries had 17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block in what was one of his best games as a King. Cairns meanwhile remain in the fight for a playoff spot with a 5-6 record. Their last game was a very convincing 21 point win over Illawarra. They kept the Hawks to a very low 66 points and through the 3rd and 4th quarters, kept them to a combined 24 points. They had the victory in the bag from the get-go as they bagged 32 points in the 1st period to lead by 7. Dayshon Smith scored 19 points, Cameron Gliddon 18, Alex Loughton 17 and Mitch McCarron 14. Smith also led the team with 6 assists. A win would do wonders for Cairns in their pursuit of a playoff spot, while for Sydney they just need a victory, period.
What To Look Out For: Jerome Randle and Jeremy Tyler. One is the reigning league MVP while the other used to call Madison Square Garden his home. What they do both have in common however is that they are the two new players for Sydney tasked with the responsibility of saving their fast sinking season. Tyler has struggled a bit in his return to the NBL while Randle almost single handedly beat the Hawks recently. A loss for the Kings here and given all the teams ahead of them, its safe to say their season is pretty much done and dusted. If these two players don’t make their impact felt on the hardwood, then say goodbye to the Kings for yet another season.
Betting tip: Pick Sydney to come out victorious in this must win match at $1.48 (CrownBet)
Friday, December 1
New Zealand Breakers v Perth Wildcats
Pre-Game Lead-Up: 90-82 was the score when the Breakers came out on top against the Bullets last round. Edgar Sosa was their leading scorer with 24 points, he also grabbed 4 boards. Meanwhile Thomas Abercrombie was an absolute beast on the defensive end getting 5 blocks and a steal. He also scored 11 points and got 5 rebounds. Of the bench Shea Ili made his impact felt with 14 points, 2 rebounds and 7 assists. The 1st quarter ended with the scores locked at 16-all but NZ outscored Brisbane in every period after that to get the victory and remain in 1st place with a 9-1 record. Perth meanwhile remain in 2nd place with 7 wins and 3 losses so far this campaign. Last round they easily disposed of Melbourne, 91-59. The 2nd period of the game was absolutely huge for the Wildcats as they outscored United, 30-9. Their strong defence was again on show in the 3rd and 4th quarters as during those periods they kept them to 14 and 12 points respectively. Bryce Cotton and Lucas Walker lit up the court for a combined 38 points. This while Derek Cooke JR and Greg Hire both had 9 points of the bench. Jean-Pierre Tokoto was a beast on the defensive end with 4 steals to his name. He also had 5 points and 4 rebounds. Will NZ remain in top spot or will Perth close the gap? One thing for sure is that when these two teams meet, they never disappoint.
What To Look Out For: Superstar talent on the less glamorous end. It’s something that both teams are known for and in large part, the reasons why they are the 2 best Basketball teams in the country. On their day their defences could stifle even the likes of LeBron James and Steph Curry. For NZ look to see Thomas Abercrombie (1.8 blocks per game) do his thing in swatting shots away. While also look to see DJ Newbill frustrate the opposition by taking the ball away from them. For the Wildcats it’ll all be about Bryce Cotton, Damian Martin and Jean-Pierre Tokoto being able to steal the ball from the opposing side. Tokoto especially with his 2.3 steals per game.
Betting tip: Tip Perth to come out in a tight affair and win by 1-10 points at $3.25 (William Hill)
Adelaide 36ers v Brisbane Bullets
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Adelaide currently sit in 3rd spot with a 5-5 record. While their opponents for this round, Brisbane, are currently 2nd last, ahead of only the disgraceful Kings with a 3-6 record on the season. For the 36ers last round they easily disposed of Sydney coming out on top by a score-line of 108-93. The 2nd quarter was the turning point of the game for Adelaide, as by the end of the period, they had turned a 3 point deficit into a 7 point half-time lead and they never looked back winning the match with relative ease. Every starter scored in double figures for the 36ers while of the bench Ramone Moore had 12 points and J-Chill 10. Daniel Johnson also grabbed 9 boards, while both Nathan Sobey and Michael Hodgson got 7. Of the bench J-Chill also pulled in 6. For Brisbane last round they lost a tight affair to NZ by 8 points. They kept it tight in the 1st period with the scores being 16-all but they couldn’t hold on from their as their opponents edged them out. However in some strong positives for the Bullets, they breached the notoriously stingy Breakers defence to the tune of 24 points twice. Perrin Bufford scored 18, while Travis Trice grabbed 17, Tom Jervis had 16, Daniel Kickert had 14 and Stephen Holt 10. Trive also grabbed in 5 boards, dished out 7 assists and had a steal for his troubles. While Kickert killed it on the boards pulling in 13. Will Adelaide continue to cement a finals spot or will Brisbane keep their slim finals chances alive and kicking for another round?
What To Look Out For: Creek, Johnson, Moore, Shorter and Sobey are all averaging double figure points for the 36ers this campaign. While Childress, when he finally gets acclimatized back to the NBL, should do so as well. Brisbane have a very leaky defence, so this spells bad news for them. How they deal with neutralizing the threats that these players posses will ultimately decide the outcome of the game. Look to see these players carry the offensive load for Adelaide and what Brisbane throws at them to try and stop them.
Betting tip: Pick Adelaide to have a hot start and be the first to 10 points at $1.60 (William Hill)
Saturday, December 2
Cairns Taipans v Sydney Kings
Pre-Game Lead-Up: The Kings have been an absolutely shocking side this season, there’s no doubt about it. Fans want answers while Andrew Gaze and a large part of his playing squad haven’t been living up to expectations and performing how they should be. Many fans want Gaze fired but recently he has come out and said very blankly “I’m not a quitter”. This despite how Sydney have performed this campaign. He went on to say that he understands the fans frustrations and if people call him a “sh***y coach”, but he won’t quit. This because of his burning passion and emotion for the Kings. On the sidelines this season, during Sydney’s highs (of which there haven’t been many), he’s looked like he’s just won a million dollars. While during the low times, he’s looked like a child who’s just been punished by his parents. There really is no in-between for him. That answers the question on every Kings fans lips, that he’ll be here for at least the remainder of this season. And no matter what you want to say about the man, there’s no denying he cares about the Kings cause.
What To Look Out For: This game will be the second time these two squads face of against each-other for this round. Given that both teams are locked in battles to save their respective campaigns, look for some major differences to be made from the first game. Their will highly likely be increased defence on streaky scorers such as Jason Cadee as well as more focus on guarding the paint, as both these teams love the inside shot. The pure desperation of both teams should make this game an enthralling one and also a match that is closely contested.
Betting tip: Pick Cairns to come out of the blocks faster and be the first to 10 points at $1.83 (William Hill)
Sunday, December 3
Brisbane Bullets v New Zealand Breakers
Pre-Game Lead-Up: The Bullets are in a bit of a bad rut, having won only 2 of their past 7 games and only a pretty miserable 3 on the season. Their last match was a tightly-contested 8 point loss to league leaders NZ. The scores were tied after the end of the 1st quarter but they couldn’t quite get on with the job. Of the bench, Reuben Te Rangi and Mitchell Young grabbed a combined 8 boards. While every starter for Brisbane scored in double-figures led by Perrin Bufford with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and 2 blocks. NZ on the other hand are absolutely killing the NBL at the moment and sit in outright 1st position. They’ve lost only 1 game all season and their last match was a win against the Bullets, their opponents for this round. DJ Newbill had a very nice stat-line of 19 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block. While of the bench, Robert Loe was pretty good with 9 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals and a block. Will Brisbane be able to cause an upset or will the Breaker continue doing their thing at the top of the table?
What To Look Out For: A bigger score-line this time around. Full credit goes to Brisbane for pushing the league leaders most of the way in their last match. But the Breakers are way to good to let that happen consecutively. Brisbane will fight hard as they always do but the likes of Abercrombie, Newbill and Sosa should prove to be to much for a struggling Brisbane side. Combined with Shea Ili of the bench, if all these players have a good game, the final result could end up cricket like.
Betting tip: Pick the Breakers to win by 11+ points at $4.50 (Ladbrokes)
Monday, December 4
Melbourne United v Illawarra Hawks
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Both teams have 5 wins on the season. Melbourne also have 5 losses, while Illawarra 6. Both these sides know this is a game that if they win, it would greatly help them in the standings, while both teams are also in the thick of it, fighting it out for a finals spot. Melbourne’s last game saw them get man handled by Perth, 91-59. They put up an absolutely pathetic 9 points in the 2nd quarter, while they scored a combined 26 in the 3rd and 4th periods. In a small positive for Melbourne, Josh Boone had 10 points, 12 rebounds and a swat. However Chris Goulding, Casper Ware and Tai Wesley had a shocking night, combining to shoot 3-29 from the court. Of the bench for United, only really Tohi Smith-Milner stood out with 6 points. The fact that he stood out with only 6, shows what a horrific night it was for Melbourne. For the Hawks, they suffered a 21 point loss at the hands of Cairns. They put up only 10 points in the 3rd and 14 in the 4th quarter in two match defining periods for them. All round they played and looked pretty ugly. Demitrius Conger scored 17 while Rotnei Clarke scored 12 and Nicholas Kay 11. No one else scored in double-figures. Andrew Ogilvy, Tim Coenraad and Kevin White shot 4-20 from the court in a dismal effort from the trio. Which team will rebound from their disappointing loss and take one step closer to a finals spot?
What To Look Out For: Rebound efforts from both sides. Neither side is bad enough that they should have been smashed by the scores that they were last round. If anything it’s these sides that should be handing out those scores, not the other way round. Both teams are also involved in a desperate fight to make the finals, which makes this game one of many important ones left in the season. Look to see both sides work for better shots as well as have an increased focus and try a hell of a lot harder on defence.
Betting tip: Pick Illawarra to burst out of the gates and be the first to 10 points at $2.20 (William Hill)
Best Bet of the Round
Pick Illawarra to cause an upset against Melbourne and claim the win at $3.46 (Sportsbet)