The following are previews with betting tips for Round 1 of the 2018/19 NBL season.
Thursday, October 11
New Zealand Breakers v Brisbane Bullets
Pre-game lead-up: For the Breakers their last match was in an NBA vs NBL trial game. And despite playing a Phoenix Suns team featuring the likes of Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson and Trevor Ariza, NZ only went down by a score line of 91-86. The Breakers played with a lot of heart and did the entire NBL proud. In the 4th quarter they beat the Suns convincingly 24-14 while in the 2nd quarter they were only outscored by two (24-22). Corey Webster put up a crazy stat-line on his way to sinking four three-pointers. He ended up with 27, to go along with four boards, seven assists and one steal. Tai Wesley also scored 15 points, as well as pulling in seven boards, two assists and one steal. Tom Abercrombie got three swats and Patrick Richard also had 11 points.
Meanwhile Brisbane’s last match-up saw them beat NBL favourites the Sydney Kings 70-60. In the 3rd quarter they thrashed them 24-12, while in the second they kept the offensive powerhouse to only 12 points. However the Bullets themselves during that period only put up 13. And despite being a very morale-boosting victory for Brisbane it wasn’t so much for Jason Cadee in the SG’s first game against his former side. In over 23 minutes of play he scored just two points shooting 1/5 from the court. However others were more impressive than him including Cameron Gliddon who scored 20 going 8/12. While of the bench Cameron Bairstow scored 14 to go along with seven boards, two dimes and one block.
What should happen: A tight and fiery start to the new NBL season. Despite both sides going 1/3 in the NBL Blitz, this is a chance to atone for that and get their new campaign started right. While the Breakers would have wanted to go deeper into the finals last season and Brisbane will want to be totally erasing their horrific last campaign. With the strong defensive tendencies of the Breakers and the strong offensive tendencies of the Bullets expect a great showdown to mark the start of the new season.
Betting tip: Pick New Zealand to be victorious at $1.78 (Bet365)
Adelaide 36ers v Perth Wildcats
Pre-game lead-up: Adelaide are the current NBL Blitz Champions and Perth a side coming of yet another NBL Finals appearance and a strong campaign all round. This game is shaping up to be a good one!
Ironically the 36ers last match was against Perth in the Blitz and boy oh boy did they give it to them. They ended up winning by 18 points in the 108-90 smashing. They won every quarter in the victory going 25-21, 27-24, 26-21 and 30-24 never even giving the Wildcats a sniff of a potential win. Some key performers for Adelaide in the resounding win were Anthony Drmic who scored 28 points, along with five boards and five dimes. While new PG Adris Deleon had 23, four boards, two assists and one steal while hitting an outstanding 9/12 shots. Coming of the pine Harry Frolling had 11 and Brendan Treys nine.
Up against a Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap led Denver Nuggets side, nobody in hell would have given Perth any chance, however they proved the doubters wrong going down 96-88 in a closely fought affair. They restricted Jokic, one of the best C’s in the world to only three points in 22 minutes of play. And Millsap, a several time All-Star to only five points in 18 minutes of play, both to be commended. Perth won the 2nd quarter 25-24 and the 3rd 29-24. Bryce Cotton absolutely went of as he scored 33 and hit five three-pointers. His efforts also saw him get five rebounds, three assists and two steals in what was a monster game from the former Jazz man. Jesse Wagstaff, the seasoned Wildcat also showed of his inside game with 18, while Clint Steindl scored 11.
What should happen: Perth’s revenge. Going down by 18 against another top dog in the form of the 36ers was no doubt a tough pill to swallow for Adelaide, however as they highlighted against Denver that on their day they are able to challenge even the best of the best. Expect the Nuggets performance to come out again as opposed to the ‘one’ vs Adelaide. Bryce Cotton averaged 19.4 ppg last season, expect him to lead the way as Perth claim a tight victory.
Friday, October 12
Illawarra Hawks v Melbourne United
Pre-game lead-up: The Hawks last game saw them only just go down to Melbourne 88-82 in what was a closely contested game. The 2nd quarter was drawn 20-all, while the Hawks won the 3rd 23-20. Former NBL MVP Brian Conklin was pivotal for Illawarra as he ended up with 17 points, he also pulled in two boards and got a steal and a block a piece. Todd Blanchfield also had a nice game as the ex-King scored 12, got eight rebounds as well as an assist and a steal each. And coming of the bench Emmett Naar was solid with 17 points and six dimes among his highlights, while 20 year old Daniel Grida scored 13 also of the bench.
Despite being smashed by Toronto 120-88 Melbourne put in a decent shift against the Eastern Conference favourites. They were only outscored 23-17 in the 1st quarter, while they won the 4th 24-19. Defensively both Danny Green and Serge Ibaka, two players both expected to be starters for Toronto were kept to eight points each in a massive compliment to United. While on Melbourne’s side offensively both Casper Ware and Chris Goulding each had 17 points. Josh Boone also made his presence felt with nine points and 11 boards. And David Barlow was another strong contributor for Melbourne with seven points, nine rebounds and one assist.
What should happen: Even if they start of slowly or shoot poorly for a quarter, it’s hard to see any other scenario than that of a Melbourne victory in this match. Ware averaged 16.1ppg last season and Goulding 14.1 ppg. That while Boone was pulling in 9.1rpg. United simply have too much star power for the Hawks to contend with. And losing Conger in the off-season only means that Melbourne will be able to dominate inside more then ever. Try as they will this game will only end up in a Melbourne win and potentially a big one at that.
Betting tip: Pick the HT/FT Double to be MEL/MEL at $2.20 (Neds)
Saturday, October 13
Sydney Kings v Adelaide 36ers
Pre-game lead-up: The Kings lost in their last match going down 70-60 against Brisbane. But despite that they’ve had a pretty good lead-in to their season and should be raring to go against a 36ers side that will be playing their second game in three days. The 2nd quarter proved to be a bit of a problem for the Kings as they put up only 12 points during the period. However Brisbane were equally as bad scoring only 13. And Sydney won the 4th quarter 20-17. Brian Bowen led the star-less Kings on his way to 16 points, eight boards and a steal. And Kyle Adnam did a bit of everything putting up 15 points along with one board, three dimes, one steal and one swat. Tom Wilson also scored 11 but shot only 4/14 (28.6%). The Kings also only played seven men in this game.
Adris De Leon is the man who the Kings should fear on the opposition side. The former All-NBL Third-Team member and Sixth Man of the Year has impressed during the pre-season and will give Jerome Randle a real run for his money throughout the match as to who is the better PG. During his last season in the NBL he averaged 16.8ppg along with 3.2apg. His ability to shoot from both the inside and out will keep the Kings defence on real notice and make them work hard to close him down. If the 36ers get anything from this game, expect him to be heavily involved in it all.
What should happen: 19.8ppg, 5.3apg and 1.1spg are just some of Jerome Randle’s crazy stats from last season. And expect him to be bang on the money again in Round One as he loves turning up against his former club and shutting them up. Adelaide’s fan base were highly critical of him when he left but since then he has continually again and again silenced his doubters with his play on the court. He is expected to be a big part of Sydney’s success this season and what better way to start it all of than against the 36ers. Expect a big performance from him.
Betting tip: Pick Sydney to win at $1.32 (UniBet)
Brisbane Bullets v Cairns Taipans
Pre-game lead-up: The Taipans last game saw them beat the Breakers 96-89. In the 1st quarter they went down 29-23. And in the 2nd it only got worse as they lost 26-17. However in the 3rd they turned it around pumping them 31-14. And in the 4th the comeback was complete as they were victorious 25-20. For Cairns DJ Newbill impressed with 25 points, five boards, five dimes and one steal. Romelo Trimble also did likewise with 23 points, three boards, five assists and one steal. In addition to those two Alex Loughton also shot a nice 7/12 on his way to 19 points to go along with his five rebounds and two steals. For the other two starters Nate Jawai was only a point of scoring in double-digits (nine) and Devon Hall got two steals and one swat. Coming of the bench Kuany Kuany scored five points, got six rebounds, had one assist as well as getting a steal and a block each.
What should happen: The Bullets finished on nine wins last season and the Taipans eleven. They were pretty evenly matched and heading into this game that should prove to be the case as well. But the Cameron Gliddon vs DJ Newbill Guard battle could be a pivotal one. Last campaign Gliddon averaged 12.6ppg and 3.0apg. As for Newbill he averaged 13.4ppg and 3.3apg. At least stats wise they were/are pretty close to each other and this game will see both men respectively relied upon to carry some of the offensive load. Whoever wins this match-up will see their side go a long way towards winning the game.
Betting tip: Pick the Taipans to claim the upset win at $2.33 (Palmerbet)
Sunday, October 14
Melbourne United v New Zealand Breakers
Pre-game lead-up: Melbourne head-coach Dean Vickerman recently signed a contract extension until the end of the 2021-22 season. He led Melbourne to a 20-8 record last season and the Championship. He’s as vital to the success of the club as any of the players and is one of, if not the hottest commodities at least coaching wise in the entire NBL. The former Kings assistant coach and Breakers Championship winning coach has achieved so much already in the NBL, yet looks set to add plenty more onto his CV and into the trophy cabinet. This was a smart move from United’s perspective to lock him into some further years because no doubt clubs both here and abroad would’ve come calling about his name.
As for the Breakers, Corey Webster should be their key man in this game. The 3XNBL Champion went of against Phoenix scoring 27 and wrecking their defence in the process. And featuring for a New Zealand side that’s undergone some changes in the off-season, expect him to be a focal point against Melbourne. He has the ability to score at will and look for him to really exploit both Casper Ware and Chris Goulding on the defensive end. New Zealand probably won’t win this match, but if they unexpectedly pull out the win, expect Webster to have played a massive part in it.
What should happen: Reality coming into play. As good as the Breakers are, Melbourne are a level above every other side in the League until proven differently on the court. NZ lost some major players in the off-season while Melbourne pretty much remained the same. That continuity and playing with each other for so long is only going to work in Melbourne’s favour. For example there’s no more DJ Newbill running the point for the Breakers. That while Ware and Goulding are entering yet another season playing of the back of each other. Melbourne should get the W here and it will be both sides second match as well this round.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to claim that W at $1.43 (Palmerbet)
Perth Wildcats v Illawarra Hawks
Pre-game lead-up: Cotton vs Conklin in a battle will be a very interesting one to watch in this match, especially if the Wildcats run away with it as expected. Cotton is a former NBL regular season MVP and a Grand Final MVP. While he also formerly played for all of the Suns, Jazz and Grizzlies. As for Conklin he too is a former NBL MVP and has made both the First and Second teams once each in his career. Yes Cotton is a PG and yes Conklin is a PF, however both men are arguably the best players on their respective teams and somebody big and strong such as Conklin will no doubt have defensive assignments on Bryce for this game. Looking at how he manages to diminish Cotton’s effect on the game and how both of them perform overall will be interesting points from what should be a game that truly highlights the talent discrepancy between the two sides.
What should happen: A major gap in depth highlighted. This one can’t possibly be overstated enough. The Hawks should be able to match Perth for most of it until the subs come on, this is where it could get messy. Whereas the Wildcats have players like Norton and Hire that can make an impact of the bench, it’s a lot harder for Ilawarra to say the same. That’s where the score should start to run away from them a little bit. And also Nicholas Kay who repped Perth from 2016-18 will be playing against his former side for the first time. Last season he averaged 11.7ppg for them and look for him to have a big game against his former team after his off-season change.
Betting tip: Pick Perth to win at $1.35 (UniBet)
Best Bet of the Round
My favourite/best bet of the round is the HT/FT Double to be MEL/MEL at $2.20 (Neds)
There’s just no way Melbourne will give anything up against one of the League’s ‘lower’ sides