The following are previews with betting tips for Round 18 of the 2017/18 NBL season.
Thursday, February 8
Brisbane Bullets v Illawarra Hawks
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Neither of these sides will be featuring in this seasons playoff series. However if things had gone to plan for them this season, they both should have featured in the Top Four. However the Bullets have only a disappointing 8 victories in the win column and the Hawks are only slightly better with 10.
Brisbane’s campaign didn’t get any better last round as they suffered a 69-61 defeat at the hands of Melbourne. Arguably the biggest talking-point from this game was the 1st quarter. Melbourne put up only 10 points, while the Bullets, 5. Yes, you read that correctly, two offences featuring the likes of Buford, Ware and Goulding could only combine for an absolutely pathetic 15 points. However it did improve for Brisbane, as in two of the next three quarters they scored 20 points. Brisbane had a poor shooting night. Buford went 2-13, Gibson 2-7, Holt 3-9, Petrie 1-5 and Young 1-3. On the defensive end, Tom Jervis was strong with 3 blocks and 1 steal. While Daniel Kickert scored 17 coming of the bench and Holt had 11 as a starter. For Illawarra, their finals hopes were ended by the Breakers in a tense 88-84 loss. The Hawks had a 26-21 lead at the end of Q1 but couldn’t go on from there. They would lose two of the next three periods by 5 and 7 points, quarters which would ultimately decide the result of the game. Rotnei Clarke went all Dwight Howard from deep, going 2-8, however he still ended up with 22 points. While he also grabbed in a board and got 2 dimes. While Conger shot horribly, going 1-13 from the court for only 5 points. However to try and make up for his shooting, he got 7 rebounds and 7 assists, while also getting 2 steals and a block. Andrew Ogilvy also scored 11 of the bench.
What Should Happen: 1-13 erased and in the past. Just a couple of rounds ago it happened to his former MVP team-mate in Clarke who rebounded from a 3-22 game with a solid performance. And now it’s time for Conger to do the same. He has been one of the very few shining lights for Illawarra this season and at times he has had to drag the team along with him in pursuit of a W. His strong per game averages include 19.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals. Expect him to do what Rotnei did and come back with a critic-silencing performance as his side tries to get the victory.
Betting tip: Pick the Hawks to win at $1.80 (Ladbrokes)
Friday, February 9
Melbourne United v New Zealand Breakers
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Both sides have been among the best in the NBL this season and in the case of Melbourne, they are pretty much the equivalent to the Golden State Warriors over in the NBA. For the Breakers, this match is all about trying to cement their position in 2nd place ahead of both Adelaide and Perth.
United’s last game, saw an offence featuring the likes of Ware & Goulding, Wesley, Felix and Boone put up only 10 points in the first quarter. However, equally as crazy, they kept Brisbane to only 5 points during the same period. However for Melbourne, they would then go onto score 18, 21 and 20 points to beat the Bullets by 8. Ware scored 17 points, Boone put up 15 and Wesley had 14. Wesley also stuffed his stat-line with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. While Boone grabbed double-digit boards (12), got 2 dimes and 1x a steal and 1x a block. In what was a rather disappointing effort from the Aussie Klay Thompson, Goulding only shot 2-8 and assisted only only 1 basket. For the Breakers, they ended Q1 against the Hawks down by 5, but come half-time, things were all square again. While the 4th period, they won by 7, which sealed the tight 88-84 victory. DJ Newbill was strong with 20 points, while Thomas Abercrombie had 17, got 4 rebounds and got a steal. Sosa also had 13 points, 1 board and 6 dimes. Shea Ili was an absolute beast as a part of NZ’s 2nd unit. He made half of his fg’s and ended up with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
What Should Happen: A cracking game of Basketball!!! On one hand, you have the competition leaders and a team that absolutely adores putting the ball through the basket. That’s whether it’s beyond the arc through one of the leagues most dangerous back-courts in Ware & Goulding or maybe inside with ex-NBA reps Felix and Boone. While coming from the other country and one that’s better known for Rugby and Sheep than anything else. They are making themselves heard on the less glamorous end. They steal the ball in their sleep and contest shots no matter where you are on the court. Guys like Abercrombie and Newbill rarely disappoint and neither will this match.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to win at $1.45 (William Hill)
Also pick them to be the first to 10 points at $1.72 (William Hill)
Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Despite already having a finals spot all sewn up, this game is still of importance to Perth, they need a victory to try and avoid facing Melbourne in the first week of the finals. Although the other teams are Adelaide and NZ, so no matter who Perth face, it’ll be a tough task. While simply put, for Cairns, this game is all about trying to win back some pride and respect to their club after they have suffered 16 losses so far this season.
Perth last round lost 94-82 to Adelaide. They lost three out of the four quarters and the first quarter they lost 31-17. While they could only manage to put up 16 in the second. The only saving grace for them from this game was the 4th period, in which they won 26-15. Bryce Cotton shot a dismal 5-18 on his way to 14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. Angus Brandt also had 12 points, 13 rebounds and an assist and a block each. Of the bench, Lucas Walker had 13 points, 2 boards and a steal. While Clint Steindl had 10 points, 3 rebounds and a dime. He also shot a bad 3-8, while Wagstaff also shot a laughable 2-10. For the Taipans, in their last match, they came close but couldn’t quite get over the line as they lost 93-86 to Sydney. They were down by 7 heading into half-time and 12 at the end of Q3. And despite their best efforts in winning Q4, 22-17, they couldn’t quite pull it back enough to win the match. Alex Loughton had a very good performance with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. While Weeks scored 18 and Gliddon 13. Mitch McCarron also got 14 points, 5 boards and 5 dimes. While of the pine, Heuir scored 10, had 2 rebounds and got a steal.
What Should Happen: A Wildcats victory. Yes Perth might be struggling, but so are Cairns and they’re coming of a lost to the last-placed Kings, so it doesn’t really get much worse than that. And leading the Wildcats to an all-important confidence-boosting victory should be Bryce Cotton. Last round he shot 5-18, but for the season he’s shooting 44%, while getting just under 20 points per game. The former Memphis Grizzlie is about to erupt against the poor old Taipans. The two will go hand in hand, Cotton’s rebound performance leading his side to the W.
Betting tip: Pick Perth to be victorious at $1.15 (William Hill)
Also pick them to have the faster start and be the first to 10 points at $1.48 (William Hill)
Saturday, February 10
Sydney Kings v Brisbane Bullets
Pre-Game Lead-Up: It’s last vs 2nd last and for whoever wins this game, they take a massive leap towards avoid fishing last. Will it be Randle or Buford who leads their side out of the cellar and into the light? Both sides have had absolutely damming seasons so far, but for one of them it’s about to get a little bit better.
Last time out for Sydney, they posted a tight 93-86 victory over Cairns. The first three quarters for the Kings, they had their offensive juices flowing as they scored 29, 24 and 23 points during those periods. Jerome Randle put in another monster effort for the kings with 24 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Jason Cadee also had a good game with 14 points, 2 boards, 3 dimes, 1 steal and 2 swats. Blanchfield also scored 10 as a starter. While the Kings 2nd unit produced some good games with Newley scoring 8 and Pineau being a monster on the boards with 10. While Kevin Lisch continued his return with a strong 16 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Newley also had a steal and a block on the defensive end.
While the rumors swirling around Sydney’s camp recently have been fairly eye-opening. It wasn’t all that long ago that they decided to release import center Jeremy Tyler. Some of the believed reasons for this were that there was no point in Sydney paying big money to one player if they weren’t going to be in the finals and also so that they could give more playing time to their younger players. But now there are some pretty far fetched rumors saying Andrew Bogut could suit up for the Purple & Gold next season. While Bogut is an Aussie and is currently a free-agent, it might be a while yet before the big man comes home given all the former no.1 draft pick still has to offer an NBA team.
What Should Happen: Their just aren’t enough words to describe how embarrassing only 5 points in a quarter is. That’s the equivalent of being kept to 0 goals in a game of Football or stacking massively when riding a bicycle. It’s not good. In each quarter of this match-up against the lowly Kings they should score a minimum of 13 points a period. Against a weak defence, with improved shooting and Buford leading the charge this should happen, if only just.
Betting tip: Pick Sydney to be in the winners circle come the end of the game at $1.47 (PalmerBet)
Sunday, February 11
New Zealand Breakers v Melbourne United
Pre-Game Lead-Up: Could this game potentially be a preview for who will be crowned the best of the best this season? It very well could be given that Melbourne currently reside in 1st position and NZ are only one spot behind them. The Breakers currently have 15 wins and Melbourne 17.
An underrated battle coming into this game will be between ex-Pacer Rakeem Christmas and ex-Cavalier Carrick Felix. While Christmas is a bench player and Felix a starter, they come together because of their links to the NBA and both players instant impacts in Australia. Christmas is really making his hard-nose presence felt with just under 6.0ppg, as well as 5.5rpg and just under a steal/ block per game each. His inside game greatly correlates with that of Felix who has converted on 46.0% of his two-point attempts in Melbourne. Certain match-ups will no doubt place the two players onto each-other and there should be more than a few times throughout the match when they meet each-other inside the paint. Expect it to be a tough, hard battle between the two Americans.
What Should Happen: Depending on how the first game pans out, this one could prove to be drastically different. Given both sides supreme ladder positions and that they both comfortably have a finals spot locked up, we could see some major changes from the previous match between these two sides this round. For starters, some of the bigger names on each roster may be rested or brought of the bench in order to save them for when it matters most. While a lot of younger, lesser played players should get a decent run in this game as well. Finally given that it will be the 2nd time they’ve met in 3 days, expect the game to have a slow pace to it.
Betting tip: Pick United to win at $2.45 (PalmerBet)
Also pick them to score 10 points first at $1.98 (William Hill)
Illawarra Hawks v Adelaide 36ers
Pre-Game Lead-Up: The rest of this season for the Hawks is about pride and trying to finish it on a positive note. While for the 36ers their task is the same of that of NZ and Perth, win so you don’t have to face United in the first round of the playoffs.
The 36ers in their last game posted a comprehensive 94-82 victory over Perth. They won Q1 very easily, 31-17. While they also won Q2, 24-16 and won Q3 by a single point. This was all before they came back down to earth in the 4th and final period, losing by 11. But by then it was already too late, they already had the result sewn up.
Among the highlights of Mitch Creek’s game were 21 points and 10 rebounds. While Johnson’s included 18 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. As for J-Chill he had ice in his veins and no regard for Perth as he went of for 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 dimes, 1 steal and 4 huge blocks. Sobey’s match also included 17 points and 7 boards. While of the bench, Drmic scored 5. While Moore also had a solid stat-line of 9 points, 5 boards, 6 dimes and 1 steal.
What Should Happen: The man who was selected ahead of ‘Iggy’ in the 2004 NBA Draft is about to have another monster performance. A near double-double last round for former Atlanta Hawk and Sydney King Josh Childress would’ve been enough to make his employers happy. But he topped it of with 4 huge swats. His offensive and defensive prowess has killed countless teams in the past and he’s about to back it up this game. And in the process, he’ll add the Hawks to his long list of victims.
Best Bet of the Round
Pick the Purple & Gold to be the first to 10 points vs BRI at $1.72 (William Hill)