The following are previews with betting tips for Round 19 of the 2017/18 NBL season.
Thursday, February 15
Brisbane Bullets v Sydney Kings
Pre-game Lead-up: With Adelaide almost guaranteed to beat Brisbane and likewise NZ with Sydney (although nothing is ever guaranteed), who ever wins what should be a tough, intense battle here, will more than likely be handing the dreaded Wooden Spoon onto their opponents for this season. Neither side wants to be in this position, but regardless they are anyway, expect one hell of a game from these two desperate sides!!!
The last game these two teams played last round was against each other, a match in which Sydney eventually prevailed to the tune of a 92-80 score-line. After Q1 it was a tight affair as the Kings led only by 1. However in Q2 they really turned it on, while the Bullets didn’t really turn it on at all, as Sydney dominated the period outscoring Brisbane 22-13. Q3 was a different story as Brisbane bought back the deficit a bit winning it 28-19. While in Q4 it was back to the formalities of the game as the Kings posted 28 points to the Bullets 17.
The winners were led by Jerome Randle who put up 22 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. While Perry Ellis was a hot 7-11 for 17 points, 7 boards, 4 dimes and 1 block. Cadee also scored 15, while Sydney’s second-unit saw Lisch put up 12 points, while Humphries went ballistic for 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in just over 16 minutes of action. As for the losers, their top players were four of their starters who all scored in double figures. While each of those men hit 2 3-pointers each as well. Kickert scored 18, Trice 17, Holt 16 and Te Rangi 11. While Adam Gibson, despite only scoring 3 points, to his credit defensively had 2 steals and 1 swat.
What Should Happen: A season defining game, both literally and figuratively. For Sydney this season, their major story-lines have revolved around Andrew Gaze and whether he’s good enough to coach in the NBL or not. The answers pretty obvious that he is not and his continuing on as head-coach has had a majorly bad impact on the team. While for the Bullets, they were down and out to start the season, then around midway through they had a mini resurgence and were threatening for a finals berth, but it proved to be all false hope for their fan-base. Now they come together to try and put a miserable campaign behind them. For one of them, there will be a little reason for celebration, while for the other it will be simply put, very bad. Expect both teams to leave it all out on the court and not much difference to be in the margin of the result for the winning side.
Betting tip: Pick Sydney to beat Brisbane at $2.08 (TopBetta)
Friday, February 16
New Zealand Breakers v Illawarra Hawks
Pre-game Lead-up: It wasn’t all that long ago that NZ ended the Hawks faint playoff hopes by beating them in consecutive games. Now Illawarra have the chance to do some real damage back and try to force them to play Melbourne in Week 1 of the finals. The stage is set for a real cracker!!!
New Zealand were pretty poor in their last game against Melbourne as they lost by 18. In Q2 they put up only 11 points, while in Q3 it was only 17. As well as this, twice in this match they gave up 27 points in a quarter. Their defence was not exactly playing to it’s fullest potential. Poor shooting really hindered the Breakers in this game as Abercrombie went 2-10, Loe 3-7, Delany 0-2 and Ili a shocking 0-7. However Sosa, who did hit 9 of his 12 basket attempts, went of for 15 points, to go along with 4 rebounds, 9 assists and a steal. While of the bench, Rakeem Christmas was solid with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
While for the Hawks, their efforts against Adelaide weren’t exactly great as they suffered a 24 point defeat. They scored 32 points in Q1, however in Q’s 1,2 and 4 they leaked 29, 28 and 35 points respectively. While in Q4 they again choked scoring only 15 points, a poor habit for them this season. Conger led the way with 27 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. While Kay scored 10, grabbed in 7 boards, got 3 dimes and got a block. Coming of the pine, Coenraad scored 15 points, while Ellis had 12.
What Should Happen: A Hawks victory (provided they can fly high during the 4th quarter). It was the Breakers that ended there season not that long back. While NZ’s recent struggles were highlighted both offensively and defensively in their most recent 100-82 loss to Melbourne. These two factors combined should be enough to see the Hawks etch out a tight victory over one of this years four finals participants. + Expect Conger to have a massive game, dragging his team-mates along with him for the ride as is usually the case for the Woolongong side.
Betting tip: Pick the Hawks to beat NZ at $3.35 (PalmerBet)
However, pick NZ to be the first to 10 points at $1.65 (William Hill)
Melbourne United v Perth Wildcats
Pre-game Lead-up: Both sides are raring up to try and win this seasons NBL competition. However for Perth it’s been a bit of a struggle recently (combined with some success). If Melbourne win big, could that be their back-to-back hopes over, before they even began. A win for Melbourne would push them onto another pedestal entirely, while Perth just need the win period. This game should prove to be an interesting one.
Last time out for Melbourne they came away with an easy 100-82 win over the breakers. In Q’s 3 & 4, they posted 27 points each-time on them. While in Q1 it was 25 points. Their offensive output was crazy as they dominated the only side in the NBL not from Australia. Chris Goulding channeled his inner Klay Thompson as he hit 4 3-pointers on his way to 21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. While for his back-court partner in Casper Ware, he channeled his inner Lonzo Ball shooting as he went 2-11, however, he also just like Ball gave out dime after dime and ended up with 10 next to his name. Boone also scored 19, while Hooley and Barlow had 13 & 11 of the bench respectively.
The Wildcats on the other-hand, suffered a shock loss to Cairns, going down 85-83. Every quarter was very evenly matched as the biggest margin of points was 5. Perth, despite their best efforts, winning the 4th quarter 23-18, couldn’t quite get it done in the close defeat. Among Tokoto’s highlights were 23 points and 2 steals. While Brandt’s included 16 points and 9 rebounds. Cotton put up 14, which also included 4 boards. While Wagstaff scored 13 to go along with a steal. As for Damian Martin, his impact were felt in other areas as despite only scoring 4 points, he had 8 rebounds, 3 dimes and 3 steals.
What Should Happen: The difference between Melbourne and Perth this season has been that when the goings gotten tough, Melbourne have survived and come out the other side. While for Perth, they are still trying to navigate their way through and are in pretty much in pitch black darkness if their upset loss to the Taipans is anything to go of. Well, put it this way, if there was any light what so ever for Perth, it’s about to be shattered and shut of by a rampant Melbourne United side. This game shouldn’t be and won’t be pretty. Wildcats fans might want to cover their eyes for this one.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to win at $1.50 (Ladbrokes)
Also choose them to be the first to 10 points at $1.72 (William Hill)
Saturday, February 17
Adelaide 36ers v Brisbane Bullets
Pre-game Lead-up: Regardless of whether Brisbane beat or lose to Sydney, this game will have significant importance in the battle to avoid last-place as the Kings will still play after this. If the 36ers rest some players (given that they are already assured of a finals spot), then the mission could get a whole lot easier for the Bullets.
Adelaide last round posted a very easy W over Illawarra and currently are in 2nd place with 17 wins, behind only Melbourne. The 24 point victory saw them score 29, 28 and 35 in Q1, 2 & 4 respectively. While in Q’s 2 & 4, they kept the Hawks to only 16 and 15 points. However choking in 4th quarters have been a regular thing for the Hawks this season, so it might not have been entirely Adelaide’s doing in Illawarra collapsing when it mattered the most.
Every single one of Adelaide’s starters scored in double-figures. Johnson led the way with 21 points & 7 boards. Shorter had 20, while he also dished out 5 dimes. That while Creek scored 16, to go along with 6 rebounds. Sobey scored 15 and had 6 boards as well. While J-Chill put up 14 and got 3 dimes next to his name. They also kept Norton to 5-12 shooting, Forman 2-6 and Martin 0-3.
What Should Happen: A spoon of the wooden variety heading up to QLD. This is based of favourites Sydney beating Brisbane in the Bullets previous match this round. Oh how the mighty have fallen. During their mini mid-season resurgence, some people were even calling them smokey Championship contenders. This shouldn’t sit well with the coaches or the players.
+ Side-note: A lot of planning and strong recruiting will need to be done to give Brisbane any hopes of being a strong team & finals contender next season.
Betting tip: Pick the 36ers to be victorious at $1.28 (PalmerBet)
Sunday, February 18
Melbourne United v Illawarra Hawks
Pre-game Lead-up: It’s 1st vs 6th on the ladder in a game that shouldn’t prove to be much other than a final hit-out for Melbourne before they chase NBL glory.
United have won their past 6 matches, while Illawarra in that same time-frame have lost a massive 5 times. In order for the Hawks to have a chance of winning this game (of which there is basically none), Conger will have to be on absolute fire, as the just under 20.0ppg scorer is vital to any chance the Hawks have of success in this match-up, especially given all their injury problems. However despite the threat of Conger, Ware 16.3ppg, Goulding 14.0ppg and Boone 13.1ppg still exist and those 3 threats alone should be enough to topple the struggling Hawks.
What Should Happen: A blowout Melbourne victory. They have 19 wins this season, that’s as many as the Hawks + either Sydney or Brisbane combined. While Illawarra have the 2nd worst ranked defence in the comp this campaign. It’s not looking prosperous for the Hawks and with only one major star in Conger on their hands, they’ll be up against it to beat the league leaders.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to win at $1.30 (Ladbrokes)
Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans
Pre-game Lead-up: Perth’s recent woes can be strongly linked back to losing to teams that they were supposed to beat. While for Cairns it’s a bit of the opposite, they have beaten a few teams above them, but when it comes to playing the lower echelon of the league, they mostly seem to struggle.
If Perth head into the finals with 2 consecutive losses to Cairns riding with them, then it’s over, they are no hope of claiming back-to-back Championships. However all that separated the two teams last time was a late missed 3-pointer from the usually reliable in the clutch, Bryce Cotton.
Cotton shapes as the key to this game for Perth as in what should be a tightly-contested affair, the Wildcats offensive leader will need to spark his side to the victory. And with just under 20 points per game and 3 assists, he should be able to do just that.
What Should Happen: A close game!!! The last time they met, which was only last round, Cotton’s previously mentioned missed 3 and a converted Cairns FT, gave them one of the more tense victories this season, especially after the made FT came as a result of an un-sportsman like foul from Perth. Expect a replay to occur in this game, except for this time, it’s the Wildcat’s coming out with the W.
+ Expect Tokoto to once again go of against Cairns and have a huge game.
Betting tip: Choose Perth to be victorious at $1.24 (CrownBet)
Also pick them to be the first to 10 points at $1.55 (William Hill)
Sydney Kings v New Zealand Breakers
Pre-game Lead-up: At the start of the season if you had said that Sydney’s most important game of the season would have been a non-playoffs one against the Breakers, you would have been laughed at. Many bookmakers, commentators and fans had the Kings among their NBL Champion favourites. While they most definitely did not have them as their Wooden Spoon favourites.
Provided on how this game plays out, Sydney might very well need a win to avoid finishing last. This would be an absolutely dreadful outcome for a roster that features Randle & Lisch, two former NBL MVP’s, Cadee, a former NBL 3-point contest winner, Newley, an Aussie Basketball rep player and one that did have Tyler on it for a certain ammount of time, himself being a former NBA starter. Nor Andrew Gaze or Copeland would have envisioned this at the start of the season, nor would have the relatively new ownership group.
The result of this game will have little to do with the Breakers. It will have more to do with how much those wearing the once proud Purple & Gold jerseys care and their willingness and commitment to the cause at hand.
What Should Happen: Last round, in what was Part One of the Sydney vs Brisbane battle to avoid the Wooden Spoon, playing at Qudos, the Kings got a record attendance for them. Over 9000 fans filled the sits to watch their team put on a Basketball clinic. Expect the fans to pour through the gates again and let their passion guide their side to the W and not a wooden spoon.
Best Bet of the Round
Pick SYD to be the first to 10 points vs NZ at $1.87 (William Hill)