The following are previews with betting tips for Game One of the Semi-Finals for the 2021 NBL season.
With the regular season now done and dusted the NBL finals are quickly approaching. And with Melbourne facing off against the Phoenix and the Wildcats playing Illawarra in a best of three series they both promise to be ones that you simply cannot miss.
For United vs the Phoenix unfortunately due to the unstable nature of COVID in Melbourne their series will be contested behind closed doors in Sydney at Qudos Bank Arena. But when it’s just two teams going at it and the only noise is on the court, well that’s when the real tough and real physical Basketball gets played. These two rivals have a strong disdain towards one another making for a great matchup.
Then for Perth vs Illawarra this is a series that pits the 10X Championship winning Wildcats up against the success story filled Hawks side. And with no perennial NBL MVP Bryce Cotton representing WA due to injury, that throws a huge spanner into the works for Trevor Gleeson’s men, but it also makes this series remarkably interesting. It could be anybody’s!
Thursday, June 10
Perth Wildcats vs Illawarra Hawks
Perth finished the current regular season with 25 wins from 36 games, whilst Illawarra were on 20 victories. They also finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Contrary to what you may have seen or heard, there’s not actually that much difference between these two sides. And while yes, the RAC Arena is a daunting task for any opposition team to win at, with somebody such as MVP candidate Tyler Harvey leading the charge it’s not entirely impossible either.
Harvey has averages of 20.4PPG and 3.2APG + 1.4SPG on the campaign as the former 2X First-team All-Big Sky member was absolutely vital for the Hawks all season long. His ability to create shots for his teammates, as well as either drive inside the arc and release a deadly floater or shoot like James Harden from deep means he’s massive to Illawarra in the context of them trying to steal this game from under the Wildcats noses.
Just two clashes ago he poured in 27PTS vs the Wildcats in Wollongong, as he also hit a FT to put them up by three with just over five seconds left. Illawarra would go onto win 81-79 in a sign that when things do get tough against the Wildcats with their star man on fire they can still pull out the result. Prior to that clash he had 23PTS vs ADL and 30PTS vs NZL. It will take a lot out of John Mooney and more to stop him in this one.
Speaking of Mooney he’s the key for Perth against the Hawks in what should be an absolutely intimidating and electric atmosphere. In that previously mentioned clash against the Hawks he scored 14PTS and produced 15REB. While before that playing vs the Kings he had 19 and 10. The Baltimore-born big-man has been incredibly influential in the absence of fellow American Cotton and all season long he’s picked up the slack for his team and has produced when they’ve needed him to and that’s pretty much all the time at that!
He puts his body on the line for his side and is a true competitor. And if anybody is going to stop Harvey going to the line for easy FT’s or getting high percentage looks then it’ll be him. This will be a battle that will heavily define both the direction as well as the eventual outcome of the game. Mooney could also easily be the recipient of this seasons MVP award so that will 1000% be one to watch (the battle between the two superstars).
The second-latest affair between these two sides was a fairly easy Perth victory as they prevailed 83-69 at the RAC Arena. That day they won three out of four quarters and in particular it was the 3rd that was very crucial to the result. It was there that they prevailed 18-9! Ultimately similar to that clash the Hawks should show a lot of fight and a lot of courage as they have done all season long under Brian Goorjian. But Perth with or without Cotton have depth and know what it takes to win these sorts of nitty-gritty type finals games. It’s definitely worth tuning into, but it also shouldn’t be all that difficult for Perth in the end as I expect them to prevail with a relatively comfortable victory.
Betting tips: Pick Perth to win this clash at $1.56 (Bet365)
Also pick them to claim Q1 at $1.68 (Bet365)
And pick them to reach 20 points first at $1.68 (Bet365)
Friday, June 11
Melbourne United vs South East Melbourne Phoenix
Qudos Bank Arena
Melbourne have won seven of their last nine clashes headed into their series against the Phoenix. However South East Melbourne head into Game One at Qudos Bank Arena with completely the wrong type of form as they go into the biggest game in their club’s history. They’ve been victorious in just one of their last four games, very alarming for them indeed. But with ex-Korean League All-Star PG Keifer Skyes on the roster, as well as former NBA talents Ryan Broekhoff and Mitch Creek anything is possible in this matchup and this series.
All three players scored in double-figures in their sides latest 10-point loss to Brisbane in Brisbane. Creek led the way with 17PTS, while Broekhoff had 14 and Skies 13. And while all three figure to be heavily involved against United, Creek is a particular standout when it comes to comparing them. Just two clashes ago vs the Bullets he had a near triple-double with 23PTS, 10REB and 7AS. He also hit 4/6 FT’s. The man who once played for both Brooklyn and Minnesota will be looking for a big series and that all starts in G1.
Skyes is obviously pretty special as well as he has averages of 14.0PPG as well as 5.3APG. He’s the Klay Thompson to Steph Curry (Creek). He’s been an instant hit for South East Melbourne and his ability to shoot the three-ball (35.8%) certainly hasn’t hurt either. Himself and Creek will be heavily guarded against United so it will be up to their teammates to make big shots and outside of Adnam it remains to see if that can happen or not. This might hamper the Phoenix extremely unfortunately in a big way. As for Broekhoff his ability to get the steal (1.1SPG), as well as pull in defensive boards (3.2DR) is going to be heavily relied upon by his side here. Simply put, if one of these three struggle then they could be in for a longgggg clash!
When analysing Melbourne you just cannot go past Jock Landale. How he wasn’t on an NBA team this season I’ll never know but we’re truly blessed to have him paying here regardless. And hasn’t he been spectacular? Who could forget the show he put on against the Kings not that long ago as his stat-line saw him go off for 23PTS, 12REB, 1AS, 1ST and 2BL! The man is a menace, there’s no two ways about it.
Regardless of whether he’s shooting inside, outside, creating great looks for his teammates, or battling for boards, he’s able to do it all at such a high level. And this will be something that the Phoenix should struggle to contain and as such look for Landale to have a monster performance. His side loves him and look for him to reciprocate that love against his rivals.
The NBL’s tagline for this season has been expect the unexpected and get ready for incredible. South East Melbourne taking this G1 clash out would be very unexpected and also quite incredible. And it’s not unlikely either. Prior to the season commencing Landale stated his team would go through the whole season undefeated and we all know that didn’t happen. Not to mention there’s a slight cockiness about Melbourne which the Phoenix should aim to exploit and take advantage of. They’ll have to do it the hard way by shutting down the likes of Landale and Chris Goulding, but they can DO IT. And anyways they’re due a victory at some point … right?
Betting tips: Pick the Phoenix to claim the shock upset victory at $3.11 (Sportsbet)
And also pick the Phoenix to win this seasons Championship at $8.00 (Sportsbet), keep in mind they have both the talent and depth necessary to do so