The following are previews with betting tips for the semi-finals Game 1 of the 2018/19 NBL season.
So after an incredibly tough, entertaining and awesome season of NBL Basketball we are left with only four teams. So to the 36ers, Breakers, Hawks and Taipans, better luck next season. All four of those teams had some superstars shine such as Sobey (16.1ppg), Long (18.3ppg), Conklin (14.6ppg) and Melo (22.5PPG) and their incredible campaigns will not be forgotten! However, now we only have 1st placed Melbourne, 2nd placed Perth, 3rd placed Sydney and 4th placed Brisbane left to compete to win the Grand Final series. But first they have to make it through the semis. Will it be the crop of amazing PG’s such as Ware, Cotton and Randle who shine? Or will it be the bigs who come up in the clutch such as Bogut (2.8bpg) or perhaps former NBA man Patterson shows why he was brought into the Bullets during the season as he has done already so many times this season (6.3rpg). Needles to say this will be one hell of a finals series! Over to you guys.
Thursday, February 28
Melbourne United v Sydney Kings
The final game of the regular season was the one that dictated whether or not Melbourne would get to host their finals series. Safe to say they won when it counted as they beat the Wildcats by 11 points, 81-70. This match actually went to OT, but there United destroyed it as they outscored Perth 13-2. Q1 ended four points in the oppositions favour and Q2 ended also a point in their favour. Q3 ended again with the Wildcats prevailing by two. But Melbourne made it all up in the 4th and final quarter as they won 23-16 and outscored Perth by seven points to make up the difference and push the game into the extra period. Kennedy posted 21 points, McCarron had 15 and of the bench, Goulding had 13. DJ hit his only shot from deep as he also had 15 boards, six dimes and a swat. McCarron shot 50% as his other stats included eight rebounds, two assists and three steals. Goulding hit three from deep as he also had seven boards, two dimes and a steal. Ware hit only 3/16 as he had just nine points, while of the bench, Pledger also had nine points.
Sydney just prevailed at home in their last game as they posted an 89-84 points victory over the Taipans. And they did it without Jerome Randle as well making the victory all that more impressive. Sydney won the 1st and the 4th quarters by seven and four points respectively. However, they went down in the middle two periods, 21-18 and 22-19 respectively. This was a tight and entertaining affair for all those in attendance and it gives Sydney a nice momentum boost heading into their biggest game in seasons. Newley scored 19, Lisch 18, Adnam 13 and Bogut 12. El Toro also had six boards and two dimes. Lisch also had three rebounds and five assists. Bogut’s other stats, or the MVP’s other stats included 12 boards, six dimes and a humongous five blocks! And Adnam filled Randle’s shoes very, very well as the former Championship winner had two rebounds and one assist as he led his side fearlessly. And off the court for Sydney, it was recently announced that head-coach Andrew Gaze would depart at the end of the final series to move back closer to his family in Melbourne. He was a coach who split Kings fans right down the middle about his credentials. However, winning Sydney a Championship will leave him a forever lasting legacy at the club.
Ware vs Randle is the key battle in this game. On one side you have Ware, a former NBA player with averages of 18.8ppg, 2.9rpg and 4.8apg. Then on the other side, you have the former NBL MVP winner with averages of 18.7ppg, 2.6rpg and 4.3apg. They have averaged very similar stats this season and both men have led their teams to simply awesome positions! Ware has the clutch ability and Randle the handles that wouldn’t go astray in any All-Star game. The way these two players dictate their teams offenses and how they perform when the scores are close in the clutch, will go a long, long way to determining the outcome of what should be a great first-up game between these two sides.
Betting tip: pick the Kings to win G1 at $2.44 (Sportsbet)
Perth Wildcats v Brisbane Bullets
Perth unfortunately lost their last game against Melbourne by 11 points. The Wildcats played outstanding Basketball as they won the first, the second and the third quarters of the match. However, they went down by seven points in the fourth eliminating the margin of points that they held over Melbourne. And Melbourne made them pay for it in OT as Perth went down 13 points to two in the extra-period. However, it wasn’t a huge loss for Perth as they still finished 1st and they also beat Adelaide by eight points in the same round. The get to face the Bullets, the easiest of all the four teams. Kay scored 22 points and Wagstaff 12. Kay also had eight boards, a dime and three steals! While for Wagstaff, in just under 20 minutes of play and in addition to his four made baskets, he also had two rebounds, an assist and a steal. As for Cotton he did have 11 points but that was on 14.3% shooting and just 3/21 in total. He went just 1/6 from deep in a simply shocking game from him!
The Bullets beat the Breakers last time out 84-78 to seal their return to post-season Basketball and boy oh boy, didn’t they take their chance with both hands as they hit some absolutely clutch shots down the stretch to seal the amazing result for their franchise. Brisbane won Q1, 26-25. They also won Q2, 21-17. Q3 they went down 18-15. However, in Q4 they turned it all around again, winning 22-18. This was their 14th victory of the season. Patterson led the way for the Bullets with 23 points. And he was strongly backed up by Cadee who had 18, while Bairstow had 13. And coming of the pine, Vukona had 13. Patterson hit three from beyond the arc as he recorded eight boards and four dimes. Cadee went 4/6 from deep in one of his best performances in a Brisbane uniform as he also had two rebounds, six assists and a steal. Bairstow had 10 boards, two dimes and a swat. And Vukona had a nice seven rebounds, three assists and one steal. All of that for him in just under 24 minutes of game time!
A key positional battle that should heavily influence the outcome of this game will be the battle played between Kay and Cotton. Slightly different positions, yes, but they are arguably both the second best players on their respective teams. For Kay this season, he’s averaged 15.3ppg and shot 42.0% from three-point range. As for Cadee, he’s been respectable with 8.9ppg and he’s shooting 37.0% from three. How these two players play offensively and how they manage to draw out defenders to guard them from the perimeter will be a massive aspect of how this game will play out. If they drag the defenders, then if they’re good enough, they’ll be able to get it to their inside men for some easy buckets. But we’ll just have to wait and see.
Betting tip: pick the Wildcats to win G1 at $1.35 (Sportsbet)
Best Bet of the Round
My favourite/best bet is for Sydney to claim the Championship at $3.50 (BetEasy). I backed them at the very start of the season and will continue to back them now. They have players that have played in the biggest stage that the NBL/international Basketball has to offer, ala Bogut, Lisch, Randle & Co. In addition to that, they’ll be looking to send coach Andrew Gaze out on a high. And Brian Bowen looking to boost his NBA hopes will aid the Kings as well. You can bet your bottom dollar Sydney will be aiming high this finals series.