The following are previews with betting tips for Round 17 of the 2017/18 NBL season.
Friday, February 2
Illawarra Hawks v New Zealand Breakers
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Illawarra still remain 3 wins of a playoffs spot, while their opponents for the game, NZ, are the ones occupying the 4th and final finals spot. Simply put, either the Hawks win and last another round or it’s game over for them.
They came through big, the Hawks, in their last round 88-78 victory over fellow playoff hopefuls Cairns. They kept the Taipans at bay with under 20 points in 3/4 quarters and in the first, Cairns were restricted to only 15 points. Rotnei Clarke bounced back from a 3-22 performance to be scorching hot and hit 3 3-pointers on his way to 20 points, 4 rebounds and a steal. Nicholas Kay assisted him in leading the Hawks efforts with 17 points, 3 boards, 3 dimes, 3 steals and a swat. Conger didn’t have as much of a presence on the court that he normally does but still got 12x points, 4x rebounds and 1x assist/ steal. From the 2nd unit. Ellis had 8 points, while both Coenraad and Ogilvy scored 6 each.
The Breakers meanwhile could only muster up 17 points in the 3rd quarter and 13 in the 4th as they struggled massively. The end result was a very disappointing 17 point defeat at the hands of the Wildcats. Only 3 players ended up in double-figures with Sosa, Christmas and Pledger all having 10 points each. Most of the Breakers struggled with their shooting as Abercrombie went 1-5, Newbill 4-13, Sosa 4-11, Ili 1-6 and Penney 1-5. Sosa also grabbed in a board and got 7 assists. While Christmas hit 4-6 from the court and grabbed in 6 rebounds. Despite Ili’s shooting struggles, he stole the ball twice of his opposing men.
What Should Happen: A blinder of a game. Illawarra need the win if the want to be featuring in the finals, while if NZ lose it, they know they’ll be a step closer to falling out of the finals race. Despite the club themselves being a very successful one in the NBL and having won 4 championships. Expect the poor shooting that plagued them last week to have changed into something entirely different against the Hawks. And for Illawarra, expect their Big 3 of Clarke, Kay and Conger to lead the way in what should be a massive effort from the triple-threat.
Betting tip: Pick the Hawks to win at $1.77 (Ladbrokes)
Also pick them to be the first to 10 points at $1.85 (William Hill)
Perth Wildcats v Adelaide 36ers
Pre-Game Lead-Up: This match-up presents us 2nd (Adelaide) vs 3rd (Perth) in what should be an absolute spectacle. Adelaide have 15 wins, while Perth have 14. Both sides will be displaying their Championship credentials in this one.
In the 3rd and 4th quarters of their last game against NZ, Perth went crazy defensively, keeping the Breakers to only 17 and 13 points respectively. This was on their way to the commanding 90-73 win. Perth themselves also put up 26 points in the 2nd period. Bryce Cotton put a sword through the Breakers D, going of for 27 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Angus Brandt was also very strong with 16 points and 5 boards to his name. Wagstaff also made his contributions known with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 dimes and a swat. Tokoto, coming of the bench, does what he normally does with 14 points, 5 boards, 5 assists, a steal and 2 blocks. While Kenny also scored 9.
The 36ers however put up a very poor showing in their last round 95-90 loss to Brisbane. They were leading by 5 heading into the half. However on the other side it was a completely different story as they were then outscored by 7 and then 3 to lose the match. Daniel Johnson and Shannon Shorter scored 25 and 17 respectively for the 36ers. While Ramone Moore went ballistic in the 2nd unit for 18 points, 7 rebounds, 10 dimes, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Johnson also got 6 boards, 3 assists and 2 swats. J-Chill on the other-hand, had a disappointing effort, scoring only 6 points on 3-8 shooting.
What Should Happen: Adelaide, Perth, or Perth, Adelaide. Maybe it goes back to the 36ers then the Wildcats, or the other way round. Who knows??? Expect this game to constantly change hands and it not be clear until late in the game who has won it. This given both sides willingness and passion to be able to win this important match. This game is also where clutch players like Cotton, Tokoto and Sosa will really stand up and attempt to lead their side to the victory.
Betting tip: Pick Perth to win at $1.52 (Bet365)
Also pick them to be the first to 10 points at $1.75 (William Hill)
Saturday, February 3
Melbourne United v Brisbane Bullets
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Melbourne are on top of the league and will want another victory to help them further cement their status as the best of the best. While for Brisbane, another victory will take them a step closer to avoiding finishing last, something that should be extremely high on their agenda given their decent season this year.
Melbourne in their last game posted an easy 93-76 victory over the Sydney Kings. They kept the Kings to 18, 17, 21 and 20 points in each period of the match. An especially impressive feat given that the likes of Randle, Newley and Cadee feature prominently on the Kings roster. While United exploded for 30 points in the 4th quarter. Their star players were Josh Boone who had 22 points, 13 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. While Chris Goulding had 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. Ware also assisted his back-court partner to the tune of 20 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a swat. Hooley scored 6 as a part of United’s 2nd unit.
They were down by 5 points heading into half-time, but the Bullets came back strongly outscoring Adelaide 23-16 in the 3rd quarter and 30-27 in the 4th to end up with a much needed victory. In the process they pushed the onus back onto the Kings to start winning unless they want to finish dead-last at the expense of Brisbane. Perrin Buford did what he has done all season for Brisbane and led the way with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. While Travis Trice put up productive numbers with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals. Jervis also swatted away the ball twice while Young scored 11 of the pine, to go with 4 rebounds and a steal.
What Should Happen: The Chris Goulding show. At different times during this season, Goulding has struggled to gain the type of shooting form that used to make many people ask why he wasn’t plying his trade in America instead of doing it Down Under. But with 21 points last game, 21 2 games before that, and 20 in the match before that, he’s started to hit some form once again. Coming up against a Bullets side that isn’t exactly known for their defensive prowess,expect him to hit them up from deep. In this match it’ll be a deadly combination of Kyrie Irving/ Goulding that comes to play.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to be victorious at $1.30 (William Hill)
Also pick them to have the hotter start and be the first to 10 points at $1.60 (William Hill)
Cairns Taipans v Sydney Kings
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Neither team will be in the finals this season, while both have been disappointing on so many different levels, especially in the case for Andrew Gaze’s basket-case Kings. Cairns will want a win to try and finish the season as high as possible, while for Sydney it’s about making some more progress with their young stars under Gaze and not finishing 10th.
The Taipans last time out, suffered a 10 point defeat at the hands or rather the wings of the Hawks. They put up only 15 in the 1st and 17 in the 2nd. And while they were resurgent in the 4th, winning the period 27-19, it was no where near good enough from them. Alex Loughton put in a nice effort with 16 points, to go along with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 swats. While Gliddon only shot 33.3% on his way to 13 points, 4 rebounds, 8 dimes and 2 steals. McCarron also only shot 4-11 as he got 12 points, 6 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. Dayshon Smith in just under 16 minutes of play was pretty effective with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
While for the Kings (such a joke of a name this season), they went down pretty easily to Melbourne, losing by 17. They were down by 5 at the end of the 1st quarter and 8 heading into half-time. By 3 quarter time they had only closed the gap to 7 points. That before United won the 4th, 30-20. Todd Blanchfield put in a solid effort with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. Jerome Randle also had 16, 8 and 7 in a solid effort by him. Brad Newley also put up 13 of the bench, along with 4 boards and 2 dimes. However Lisch shot pretty poorly going 1-9, while Randle’s stats are hampered by the fact that he went only 4-16. Meanwhile Ellis wasn’t good either going 4-12.
What Should Happen: Jerome Randle bouncing back, he shot a horrid 4-16 last week against United. This from an ex-League MVP who normally shoots 45% from the field and in recent rounds has put up 19, 22, 26 and 27 points in various games, simply lighting up the court with his Lebron-esque vision and Curry like ball-handling abilities. Plus against a Cairns side that have been fairly better than Sydney this season, he’ll have to if he wants his team to be within a shot of winning the game.
Sunday, February 4
New Zealand Breakers v Illawarra Hawks
Pre-Game Lead-Up: This game will be the 2nd time that these 2 sides have met this round. A win for the Hawks in the 1st meeting and another victory here, will see the gap closed to only a single win. Both sides have everything in the world to play for right here.
For the Hawks, they started of their season a very poor, 1 single victory and 6 losses. Twice during this period did they lose to the lowly Kings as well as suffering a horrible 31 point defeat to Perth. While for the Breakers, they started of their season in the opposite fashion, winning 10 of their opening 11 matches. This period included beating Perth twice, Melbourne once and thrashing Sydney by 17. While as both campaigns have gone along, the Breakers appeared to be stronger and stronger and the Hawks, weaker and weaker. Now in recent times that script has changed around completely, NZ are on the verge of falling out of the finals altogether after a bad run of form culminating in their embarrassing loss to Perth last round. While for Illawarra, they have won 5 of their past 8 matches to try and keep their slim finals hopes alive.
Who will win this battle and potentially be a step closer to an all-coveted finals spot, the out-of-form-Breakers, or the on-fire-Hawks?
What Should Happen: Another desperate, last-ditch effort by the Hawks to usurp NZ into making the NBL finals. Shooting the 3-ball is something that the Hawks should prioritize in this game. That’s given all that the Breakers can do close to the hoop with threats like ex-NBAer Christmas and others constantly looming inside the paint. Clarke, Conger, White and Ellis should be leading this department. Don’t try to beat the Breakers at their own game, that almost always ends badly for opposing teams. Instead make them run and catch you from deep while you hoist em up.
Betting tip: Pick Illawarra to be victorious at $2.80 (Ladbrokes)
Adelaide 36ers v Perth Wildcats
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Just like the game before them, this will be the 2nd time this round that these 2 quality teams face off against each-other in a battle to one up their opponents for a higher finals spot.
J-Chill (11.2), Creek (14.0), Johnson (16.7), Moore (11.6), Shorter (13.7) and Sobey (12.6), are all averaging double-digit points for the 36ers this campaign. Those ballers for Perth are Cotton (19.5) and Tokoto (16.4). However the Wildcats game is more team-oriented than Adelaide’s with all of Brandt, Cotton, Martin, Tokoto, Wagstaff and Walker averaging 1.5 or more assists per game. While Kenny is on 1.4 per game. Both sides have only 9 losses this season, while both are also very good shooting the ball as well as defending it. Adelaide have won 7 of their past 8 matches, while Perth’s number is 3 of 7.
Adelaide are hot and will want the victory badly, while Perth, simply put, are not and need a win just to keep team morale decent. However whatever the stats, win numbers, etc are, both sides will be up for it. And it’s a guarantee that this match has the potential to be one of the games of the season.
What Should Happen: An intense game, just like the first one should be. However, an interesting aspect of this game to watch should be how Childress fairs against Perth’s stingy defence. J-Chill can shoot well from most places on the court, however Perth’s D might have something else to say about that. He’ll be one of the players relied upon to make an impact against the Wildcats, so if he shoots coldly or plays badly, that gives Perth a heads-up on winning the match.
Betting tip: Pick Perth to be the first to 10 points in a hot start for the WA side at $2.00 (William Hill)
Best Bet of the Round
Pick ILL to be the first to 10 points in their 2nd game vs NZ at $2.10 (William Hill)