The following are previews with betting tips for selected fixtures in Round 20 of the 2021/22 NBL season.
Illawarra Hawks vs Sydney Kings
Thursday Apr 14, 7:30pm
With the Kings preparing to visit the dreaded WIN Entertainment Centre, they do so having prevailed in just 50% of their previous eight matchups (4/8) at the ‘cauldron’. Yet positively for Chase Buford’s side, they are firing on all cylinders currently, as they are riding the highs of a franchise record twelve-game win streak. Their most recent triumph, a 76-70 win over the Breakers in Bendigo, sees them sit just one victory off the throne atop the NBL ladder (18 vs 17 – via Melbourne United). Whilst a win for Illawarra would see them pip the Kings by a single result to steal 2nd spot out from underneath them, as they too are in hot form currently, having won their last six games in a row. As 2021 Serbian League champion Duop Reath contributed a huge 28PTS & 11REB on an astonishing 13/15 shooting from the floor in his sides 31-point thrashing of Brisbane in Brisbane! With fellow teammate, American-born Tyler Harvey also making a late case for an MVP inclusion with 18PTS, 5REB, 6AST and 3STL vs the Bullets + the all-illusive Jaylen Adams, this clash promises plenty of fireworks! That’s for sure!
Angus ‘Gus’ Glover represented Illawarra from 2016-20, as the young Guard was a huge part of their team. He signed with them as a development player and went on to produce some show stopping moments during his time in the ‘Gong’. Fast forward to this season and he had his infamous send off during the final seconds of the Kings shock home loss to his former employers, as he ruffled the feathers of the opposition a bit too much so to speak. Now he’s visiting the WIN Entertainment Centre where he’s bound to be heckled and probably booed a fair bit. But he’ll need to have thick skin as it could be Sydney’s bench that decides the outcome of the match, as their starting five will no doubt be fairly evenly matched against that of Illawarra’s. During the Kings recent outing against New Zealand, he had 4PTS, 5REB, 3AST, 2STL and 1BLK off the pine, doing a bit of everything! So, expect him to live up to the task at hand.
Betting tips: Back the Kings to win at $1.75 (Bet365)
Also look for Q1 to start off a bit rusty with under 45.5 collective points produced at $1.85 (Bet365)
You can also look for Justinian Jessup to pour in over 13.5PTS at $1.87 and Jarell Martin over 13.5 at $1.87 (Bet365)
Also pick Sydney to reach 40PTS first in H1 at $1.30 (Bet365)
Perth Wildcats vs Adelaide 36ers
Thursday Apr 14, 9:30pm
With Perth just a single win ahead of Tasmania in 4th place, their 35-successive campaigns of competing in Playoffs Basketball is under immense pressure. However, Bryce Cotton & Co can head into this affair rest assured that before a ball has even been tipped, they’re almost guaranteed a dub and that’s thanks to the 36ers recent and atrocious record on the road. C.J Bruton’s men have won none of their last eight attempts in that regard. As for the Wildcats, they’ve won four of their last seven matchups at RAC Arena, including a most recent nine-point win over a ‘so so’ Breakers side. Vic Law laid down the law, no pun intended, for the home side, as he posted 18PTS, 8REB and 1AST. Whilst Cotton capably backed him up with 16PTS, 2REB and 5AST. For the Wildcats, there is obviously so much at stake for them in this simply must-win clash! Whilst for the 36ers, with their season well and truly dusted, it represents a chance for their youth to see more court time. Expect the likes of 19-year-old Mojave King, 19-year-old Kai Sotto, 18-year-old Lachlan Olbrich and young talent Isaac Gattorna to feature prominently in this game, as the club perhaps has at least one eye on the future now.
We all know that Cotton is capable of firing off within a second’s notice, as we do with Law too. However, Todd Blanchfield is underappreciated as an often third-man star on this stacked Wildcats side. The ex-NBL MIP and former Townsville Crocodile went 4/4 from the FT line against the Breakers, whilst also having fashioned 13PTS, 1REB, 2AST, 1STL and 1BLK. Prior to that, against another one of his ex-employers in the form of Melbourne United, he bagged a pair of triples, which contributed to his strong 15PTS. As he also locked down 7REB and 1AST. Luke Travers gets his name in the sun being a future NBA draft pick, while Jesse Wagstaff is there too because of everything he’s achieved in Western Australia. However, Blanchfield is a legitimate threat! And he should be primed to go off against a defensively weak 36ers side.
Betting tips: Look for Perth to collect an easy dub at $1.15 (Sportsbet)
Also look for the total points scored to be over 170.5 at $1.90 and for it to also be an odd number at $1.91 (Sportsbet)
In addition don’t be afraid to pick both of Todd Blanchfield to score over 12.5PTS at $1.85 and Sunday Dech over 10.5 at $1.90 (Bet365)
Plus you can also back the Wildcats to have the highest scoring Q of the game at $1.42 (Bet365)
New Zealand Breakers vs Tasmania JackJumpers
Friday Apr 15, 7:30pm
In what can only be described as an extremely disruptive and perhaps somewhat unfair campaign for New Zealand, they will be hosting Tasmania on their home floor of MyState Bank Arena. Whether it’s easier to host the clash here, or due to financial reasons, or perhaps other, it’s unknown and very bewildering to this writer in particular as to why that is the case. However, the Breakers come into this game with high spirits as their latest outing saw them push Sydney all the way, before eventually going down 76-70 at Bendigo Basketball Stadium. Leading the way was Yanni Wetzell, as the big man put on a show, shooting 8/10 from the floor, to go along with 22PTS, 14REB and 1STL. Finn Delany also locked in 18PTS, 5REB, 5AST and 2STL. Whilst making an incredibly strong impact off the bench, Hugo Besson secured 16PTS, 4REB, 1AST and 1STL. While for the JackJumpers, the equation is pretty crystal clear, win or they may as well start making holiday plans, because they won’t be overtaking anybody within the Top Four. This matchup has massive ramifications on the outlook of this campaigns finals series, so it’s simply not to be missed.
With ‘Tassie’ having won five of their last eight home outings, the ‘Kiwis’ should prove to be relatively easy pickings for them. Because regardless of whether this matchup is contested in an empty arena or not, this is still the JackJumpers home floor, and they play the best brand of competitive and high-spirited Basketball there. When they last went H2H in Hobart, Scott Roth’s men came away with a tightly contested 84-75 victory. And it was Q1 where they got started, going off right away, posting 25PTS to the oppositions 16PTS. As ‘Tassie’ also converted an impressive 9/20 from deep and 17/21 from the FT line! Josh Adams being the main JackJumper in that clash, with a stat-line that included 21PTS, 4REB and 2AST. A similar result should be the outcome here too, with Tasmania walking away with a much needed and closely contested dub.
Betting tips: When the match odds become available pick Tasmania to win both the match itself, plus Q1, in addition to winning the race to both 10 and 20 points respectively. Whilst you can also back Wetzell to score 10+PTS and pull in 10+REB.
Best Bets of the Round:
Illawarra Hawks vs Sydney Kings – Look for Q1 to start off a bit rusty with under 45.5 collective points produced at $1.85 (Bet365)
Perth Wildcats vs Adelaide 36ers – Look for Perth to collect an easy dub at $1.15 (Sportsbet)