The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2017/18 NBL season.
Thursday, January 11
Adelaide 36ers v Cairns Taipans
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Adelaide come into this match comfortably in a finals position, being three wins ahead of 5th place. However for the Taipans, their season is hanging on the edge as they are two wins out of the playoffs. For the 36ers, they prevailed in OT vs Brisbane in their last game, coming out as 89-77 winners. They really ramped up their play during the extra period as they outscored the Bullets a massive 16-5. However the 2nd quarter was damaging for Adelaide as they put up only 12 points but also conceded 24. That meant that their opponents were leading at HT, 37-35. Daniel Johnson had an impressive game for the 36ers shooting 50% for 24 points, as well 11 rebounds and 3 dimes. Nathan Sobey also shot 50% from the court for a nice 18 points, along with 5 boards and 5 assists. However Mitch Creek shot poorly only converting on 3 of his 12 basket attempts. Coming of the bench, Majok Deng got 12 points, 2 rebounds and a steal. For Cairns, they lost by 13 points to NZ. They were already down by 4 at the end of the 1st period and they entered the half with a 10 point deficit. While in the 3rd they managed to only conjure up only 14 points, however they did keep the Breakers to 13. Both Cam Gliddon and Jarrad Weeks scored 15 points a piece for Cairns. That while Mitch McCarron had a massive night for 5 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and both a steal and a block. Jerry Evans Jr had a massive impact of the bench as he put up 17 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 huge blocks. Cairns will be the more desperate of the two teams in this affair.
What To Look Out For: 17 points in 25 minutes of play would be beyond good for most players, however for Jerry Evans Jr it wasn’t quite enough as evident from his stat-line vs the Breakers. Included in his statistics were 2 steals and 3 blocks. The 36ers are the highest points scoring side in the NBL this season. Meaning how Evans Jr performs on the defensive end will play a massive part in deciding if Cairns are in the game or not. Expect him to put in another good shift on the less glamorous end in the hope of landing his side a victory.
Betting tip: Pick the 36ers to come out victorious at $1.31 (Sportsbet)
Also pick them to be the first to 10 points at $1.60 (William Hill)
Friday, January 12
Perth Wildcats v Melbourne United
Pre-Game Lead-Up: This match should prove to be one for the ages. It’s 1st vs 2nd on the ladder. While both teams have 12 wins and 6 losses each from 18 games played so far during the campaign. Melbourne have put up only 3 more points than Perth this season, while defensively Perth have only given up 35 less points than United. The Wildcats are scoring at a rate of 86.3 points per match, while Melbourne are only .2 better then that. Combining that with the fact that Perth have won 70% of their last 10 matches and Melbourne 80%, means that this battle to be the best in Australian Basketball should produce an absolute cracker of a game!!! In the Wildcats tight win over the Kings, Derek Cooke Jr again came up big. He finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks. While Damian Martin had a poor shooting night, finishing 3-7 and Jesse Wagstaff shot only 16.7%. While for United 2 late made FT’s to Casper Ware and 1 to Carrick Felix saw them escape with a 79-77 win over Illawarra. Felix had a great game on his way to 2 made three-pointers, for 19 points, 10 boards, 3 dimes and 3 steals. Who’ll make themselves the latest Championship favourites? A Cotton inspired Perth, or a Felix led Melbourne?
What To Look Out For: A tight and tense affair. Position wise and talent wise theirs no splitting these two sides. One example out of the many is the PG battle of Bryce Cotton (20.1ppg and 2.9apg) coming up against Casper Ware (15.0ppg and 4.8apg). These two players will have the job of facilitating the shots for their respective sides and will also no doubt create some magic late in the game, when it realistically, should still be in the balance. While Carrick Felix will be another player that should have a big say in the result of the game. He’s coming of his best performance as a member of United. However for him, he’s now coming up against a physical Perth side that won’t hesitate to really make him work for his shots. How much Perth can contain him should greatly impact on the result as well.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to have the hotter start and be the first to 10 points at $2.05 (William Hill)
Saturday, January 13
Sydney Kings v Adelaide 36ers
Pre-Game Lead-Up: A loss doesn’t normally feel like a win. But for most Kings fans, their inspired and proactive effort against the Wildcats should. That despite the 76-68 score-line being in favour of the opposition. They might still be in last place with only 5 wins and 15 losses on the season, but at least Sydney genuinely tried in this game. The Kings only put up 15 points in the 2nd quarter, however they countered that by keeping Perth to 14 in the 3rd, while they themselves scored 21 during that period. They also kept Perth to below double-digit points in the 4th period, in what was a solid defensive showing by the home side. Starting for Sydney, Jerome Randle put up 18 points, Newley scored 13 and Tyler had 10. However Randle and Newley were both way of as they combined to shoot a dismal 10-28 from the court. However to try and make up for his shooting, Randle also got 2 boards, dished out 4 assists and got 2 steals. Jason Cadee scored only 4 points of the bench, while Tom Garlepp (surprise, surprise), got 0 minutes and 0 seconds of playing time. What on earth are you doing Gazey? However Isaac Humphries did have a decent defensive effort with 2 steals and 1 block. Perry Ellis also ended up with 8 points, 9 boards and 2 assists. This’ll be the 36ers 2nd game in 3 days, presenting a wonderful opportunity for the fresh Kings to claim an upset victory over Adelaide.
What To Look Out For: Jerome Randle and Josh Childress coming up against their former teams. While playing for the 36ers Randle won an MVP award. However a lot of fans hate him now that he’s repping the Purple & Gold. That because he now once infamously said that he’d never play for another NBL team other than Adelaide. While no Kings fans can begrudge Childress for chasing his American dream and he was even affiliated with Denver at one point. But now he’s back and while with the Kings, tormented the league with his lethal scoring abilities. Both players will again have a point to prove, making this one a must watch.
Betting tip: Pick Adelaide to start of blazing against the struggling Kings and reach 10 points first at $1.87 (William Hill)
Illawarra Hawks v New Zealand Breakers
Pre-Game Lead-Up: The Hawks are now 3 wins of a finals spot while NZ are equal 2nd with 12 wins and 6 losses. The Hawks would have won their last game against Melbourne if it weren’t for some late Casper Ware and Carrick Felix made FT’s. The final score ended up being 79-77 in United’s favour. The Hawks actually won the first two periods and headed into HT with a comfy 12 point buffer. But it was the 4th quarter where they essentially died and lost the game. Melbourne outscored them 23-12. With a massive game on the line, the Hawks basically choked and gave the victory to United. Demetrius Conger had 22 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. While Nicholas Kay scored 17, got 2 boards, had an assist and stole the ball 3 times. Rotnei Clarke also scored 16 points but was bricking them up from behind the arc as he shot only 2-8. Rhys Martin was impressive, coming of the bench with 8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. While for the Breakers their last match was an easy 13 point victory over Cairns. The Taipans couldn’t reach double-digit points during any quarter which reflects strongly upon the Breakers defence. Several players scored big for NZ including Sosa who had 19, Abercrombie with 16, Newbill with 12 and Penney who had 11. Newbill also pulled in 7 boards, dished out 3 assists and got 3 steals. While Sosa had 3 rebounds and 6 assists. Abercormbie also got 3 blocks and continues to be an Anthony Davis like presence on the defensive end. Alex Pledger also had 2 blocks coming of the pine.
What To Look Out For: Rotnei Clarke. He’s a former MVP of the NBL and usually resembles something closer to Klay Thompson from deep than Rajon Rondo. However up against Melbourne, in a game that had they won, would have seen them close the gap to two wins, he suffered and was similar to a brick layer from deep. He’s too good, too talented and too experienced to put up another horrible effort from three-point range. Expect to see a much improved performance from his as he tries to get his side a crucial win.
Betting tip: Pick Illawarra to win by 1-10 points at $2.80 (William Hill)
However despite this, pick NZ to be the first to 10 points at $1.90 (William Hill)
Sunday, January 14
Brisbane Bullets v Perth Wildcats
Pre-Game Lead-Up: For Perth, this match represents their 2nd of the round. After coming of what should be a grueling game against NZ, Brisbane should look to really play a tough, physical, inside-based game against the Wildcats. For the Bullets, they are 2nd last and now 4 wins of a finals spot. This game represents a must win for them, a loss and their season is pretty damn close to being over. Their last game saw them really take it to the 36ers and push the game to OT. However from there it was all downhill as they were completely dominated and got outscored 16-5. They also made the game a real challenge for themselves after putting up only 13 miserable points during the opening quarter of the game. Adam Gibson scored 12, while both Stephen Holt and Daniel Kickert had 11 each. However every starter bar Gibson and Jervis shot poorly. Among the low-lights were Holt 4-12, Kickert 4-12 and Trice 3-9. While of the bench, Reuben Te Rangi shot 0-3. However Perrin Buford was a beast scoring 19, pulling in 5 boards, 3 assist and a steal. And he did it all while coming of the bench. You can never count out Perth despite their recent results, however you can guarantee that Brisbane will play harder and stronger given that this game could very well essentially make or break their season.
What To Look Out For: It wasn’t all that long ago that Brisbane were being seen as finals dark horses after they went on an impressive run on form after their poor start to the season. But maybe now the real Brisbane is starting to reveal themselves after recent losses to the last placed Kings and their most recent implosion against Adelaide. As a result, they are a massive 4 wins out of a finals spot. Expect them to really play hard and bully what should be a tired Perth inside as they attempt to grab the win and resurrect their quickly again faltering season.
Betting tip: Pick Perth to be the first to 10 points at $1.78 (William Hill)
However, despite this, Brisbane are in much more need of a win and should claim the upset at $2.40 (William Hill)
Melbourne United v Cairns Taipans
Pre-Game Lead-Up: This is a tweet from the official Melbourne United Twitter account, posted after their dramatic win over the Hawks. “After trailing by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, Melbourne has pulled together its comeback of the season to defeat the Hawks 79 – 77 last night”. They came back from 18 down, are now in 2nd place and have won their past 6 games. Is their anything this club can’t do? Well if they beat Perth, then Cairns, they’ll be in 1st place and a strong favourite to take it all out at the end of the season. In that amazing victory for Melbourne, every starter scored in double-figures. Goulding led the way with 22, while he hit 5 three-pointers. Both Ware and Wesley had 12. Wesley grabbed 9 boards, while Ware dished out 5 dimes. Boone had 11, as well as 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. While the man of the hour Carrick Felix ended up with 19, got 10 rebounds and also had a nice 3 steals. And they did this all, while the bench put in a horrible 1-6 performance. It doesn’t get much better than this for a Basketball club, but coming up against a struggling Taipans side, they could put a cricket like score on them.
What To Look Out For: The play of the starters. Goulding had 22 and has struggled at times this season. While Felix got 22 and would still be learning the way down in Melbourne. While every other member of the starting 5 was very good as well. Despite the obstacles they’ve faced, they now have a real opportunity to do some legitimate damage against Cairns. They won’t let the chance slip. Expect to see United win comfortably, with a lot of credit being due to their lethal starting unit.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to win and be the first to 10 points when the match odds become available
Best Bet of the Round
Pick Melbourne to beat Perth at $2.65 (Ladbrokes)
Pick the 36ers to beat Sydney at $1.77 (William Hill)