NBL Round 18 – Selected Previews & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for selected fixtures in Round 18 of the 2022/23 NBL season.

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Illawarra Hawks

Illawarra Hawks vs New Zealand Breakers

Thursday Feb 02, 7:30pm
WIN Entertainment Centre

New Zealand Breakers

This match represents an absolute must win for the Breakers in their pursuit of 2nd spot and in-turn the chance to avoid the play-in tournament. As things currently stand Mody Maor’s side are placed 3rd with a 16-10 record on the season, just a single victory behind the next-placed Taipans. New Zealand’s resurgence this season has been nothing short of sensational as last season they finished dead last with 23 defeats to their name and even during the campaign prior, they collected just 12 victories. So this hungry dawg, next-up mentality from the Breakers will no doubt look to crush the spirit of the Hawks in this should be incredibly tense matchup. Barry Brown Jr, the electric Guard, will no doubt be relied upon heavily to mitigate the impact of the ever-illusive opposition star Tyler Harvey in this encounter. Brown is averaging 19.4PPG on the season on 45.7% shooting + 2.9apg. There’s also Derek Pardon, the NBL’s monstrous version of Andre Drummond, as standing at 203cm and weighing 107kg the powerful Forward is averaging 12.8PPG, 8.2RPG and 1BPG for the campaign. These two Men, in addition to New Zealand’s fantastic recent form on the road (have won nine of their last 11), will look to overpower a wilful Hawks side in this rounds opening matchup.

During the Hawks latest match they were thoroughly overpowered by the Wildcats, as they went down 106-86 at the RAC Arena. They were particularly woeful in Q4 as they went down 22-8, a period which ultimately cost them any chance they had of getting something out of the match. However there were still some positives as Tyler Harvey hit four threes en route to 23PTS + 3REB, 2AST and 1STL. Sam Froling was another positive as he shot 10/15 from the floor for 21PTS, 10REB and 2AST. Deng Deng also produced 14PTS, 6REB, 2AST and 1STL. Whilst Wani Swaka Lo Buluk’s stats included 9PTS and 4REB.

Meanwhile for the Breakers they were particularly strong as they ‘broke’ down Melbourne 90-84 at Spark Arena. Prevailing in Q4 22-18 was a big reason as to why they edged them game away from United’s favour and into theirs. Jarrell Brantley was huge with 18PTS, while Rob Loe fashioned himself a nice 15-piece meal too. Outside of them, Rayan Rupert locked down 12PTS, while both of Derek Pardon and Barry Brown Jr scored 11PTS a piece. Brantley also had 5REB, 1STL and 1BLK to his name. Loe also shot an impressive 5/7 from the floor as his other stats included 6REB and 1STL. And Izayah Le’Afa was impactful as ever doing a bit of everything with 9PTS, 5REB, 1AST and 1STL.

There is simply too much on the line for New Zealand for them to walk away from this game with literally anything else but a massive dub in their suitcases! They are arguably the NBL’s best defensive team for a reason and so very accordingly I expect them to clamp down ultra hard on the Hawks in that department. You only have to view the stats from their latest win against Melbourne for evidence. They kept the visitors to 8/28 from deep, in a must win game for them mind you, as well as having only allowed them to go to the FT line 12 times. In comparison the Breakers shot 20/30 from there. They also locked on 11 steals to the visitors four. Breakers Basketball can be extremely ugly at times, but it is winning Basketball, so they won’t care how they play or how they look against Illawarra as long as they come out of it all triumphant. Illawarra aren’t going to know what hit them here as I expect a commanding New Zealand win to be the end result of it all.

Betting tips: Pick a comfortable New Zealand triumph at $1.25 (TexBet)
Also look for them to win Q4 at $1.62 (UniBet)

In addition you can look for the Breakers to score 84+ PTS at $1.30 and the Hawks to register 66+ PTS at $1.04 (Bet365)


Adelaide 36ers

Adelaide 36ers vs Sydney Kings

Friday Feb 03, 7:30pm
Adelaide Entertainment Centre

Sydney Kings

A loss for Adelaide and it’s their season done and dusted for 2022/23 as they are currently placed 8th on the NBL ladder, possessing a 12-14 record. Just for some context, the 6th placed Phoenix have a 15-13 record. So if the 36ers were to ever come out all guns blazing and leave it all out there on the court, then this would 100X over be the matchup to do so! That’s what reigning champion and former-King Ian Clarke was brought in to do, help with their finals push. The former Golden State Warrior is averaging 11.4PPG and 3.4APG this season and his NBL knowhow, in addition to his veteran experience will be absolutely exploited by his teammates in this match, because simply put if it isn’t then there’s a fair chance they lose and that’ll be Adelaide’s cue to start planning their end-of-season holidays. Then there’s also Antonius Cleveland and Robert Franks to worry about, two players who have proved this season that they know how to rattle the Kings. Adelaide were predicted by many, including NBL legend Corey ‘Homocide’ Williams, to do great things this season but it’s pretty clear they haven’t lived up to those lofty expectations. This clash represents their last possible chance to do so!

Contesting Cairns at the Cairns Convention Centre it was never going to be an easy game for Adelaide, however they fought hard and walked away with a well-deserved 99-96 icer. Winning Q4 24-19 was very, very, very crucial in the context of the games overall outcome. And Antonius Cleveland’s steal on Tajhere McCall with 00:12 left in the game was nothing but CLUTCH! Cleveland was massive all game long with 27PTS to his name on 11/18 shooting from the floor + 7REB, 3AST and 2STL. While there was also Robert Franks with 20PTS on a tidy 6/9 shooting, who also locked down 9REB, 5AST and 1BLK. Kai Sotto also wasn’t afraid to flex hard as in just under 13-minutes of playing time he registered 12PTS, 2REB and 1AST. Ian Clarke also got himself an 11-piece meal, as did the ever reliable Daniel Johnson.

For the Kings playing at their home of Qudos Bank Arena they did things the hard way, but still got it done in the end, as they beat the Phoenix 111-106 in what can only be described as an absolute thriller of a matchup! The Kings balanced their efforts over the entire game as they scored 28PTS in all of Q’s 1, 2 and 3, whilst they scored just a point less with 27 in Q4. Coming off the bench Jordan Hunter registered his 500th NBL point as he scored 11, as did Kouat Noi. Meanwhile Xavier Cooks pressed hard for MVP consideration with 16PTS, 10REB and 10AST, registering his first ever triple-double in the NBL. Derrick Walton Jr was also incredibly clutch with 22PTS, 4REB and 5AST to his name. Dejan Vasiljevic also lit up the floor for 21PTS and Justin Simon secured himself a nasty 12-piece meal, which including one absolutely posterising dunk on Mitch Creek.

How will the desperate 36ers fare against a Kings side looking to lock down home advantage for all of the finals via the NO.1 seed? We will see very, very soon! I’m expecting an exhilarating effort from both teams as they fight tooth and nail to secure the win. One thing working very heavily in Sydney’s favour however is that they’ve won 22 of their last 26 games on the road dating back to early February of last year (2022). Chase Buford’s Men are crazy dawgs on the road. Xavier Cooks literally murders the opposing teams with his vicious dunks, while Walton Jr dashes and side steps his way to glory. Everybody on their team plays their role too a tee and when everybody knows their part, they can be a menace to have to thwart. Adelaide to their credit have already beaten the Kings this season but doing so again will no doubt prove to be an incredibly difficult proposition. I’ll ultimately back the Kings to prevail in a close one.

Betting tips: Sydney Kings in the head-to-head at $1.36 (BoomBet)


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