NBL Play-In Game – Taipans vs. Wildcats – Preview & Betting Tips

The following is a preview with betting tips for the Play-In Game between the Cairns Taipans and Perth Wildcats for the 2022/23 NBL season.

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Cairns Taipans

Cairns Taipans vs Perth Wildcats

Sunday Feb 12, 2:00pm
Cairns Convention Centre

Perth Wildcats

The Taipans are here after they were left constantly trying to recoup their ‘venom’, in what was a tight eight-point defeat to the Jack Jumpers at home. A 25-16 Q1 loss saw them on the back foot for the majority of their closely contested matchup. Disappointingly this was their third loss from their last five contests. Whilst for the 6th-seeded Wildcats they ‘pounced’ and in the process earned the opportunity to come up against the 3rd-placed hosts after their heroic seven-point victory against the Phoenix, at John Cain Arena. With a massive 41-23 Q4 dub seeing them on their way through! This was their second straight win on the trot, as John Rillie’s troops have forged some real momentum coming into this do-or-die encounter. Can Cairns’s ridiculously stingy defence, aided by some huge offensive momentum from Tahjere McCall win out here? Or will ‘super’ Bryce Cotton and Bradyyyyy Manekkkkk come to the rescue once again?

Despite the Taipans going down 87-79 against last seasons runner ups there were a lot of positives to take from the performance of Adam Forde’s Men. The pick of the highlights being that of Mr. Tahjere McCall! The former Brooklyn Net was an absolute menace with everything that he did, as he shot 7/14 from the floor en route to 24PTS + 6REB, 3AST and 2STL. Shannon Scott was also very lethal as he went 3/6 from deep for 17PTS, alongside 6REB, 3AST and 3STL. Meanwhile there was also DJ Hogg who fashioned 13PTS, 8REB, 4AST and 1BLK. And Sam Waardenburg locked down a 12-piece meal, in addition to 5REB, 1STL and 1BLK. Off the bench Majok Deng also pulled in 7REB. With a bit more luck going their way, they’ll look to bring the fight to the Wildcats.

As for Perth their 106-99 victory was truly something special, as their fourth-quarter explosion left the home supporters stunned and the travelling ones bursting with joy! Multiple times NBL MVP Bryce Cotton was responsible for a lot of that as he shot 4/8 from beyond the arc, which contributed heavily to his game-high 26PTS. Whilst he also got 8REB, 4AST and 4STL next to his name. The rangey Brady Manek was also hugely influential as he shot 9/14 from the floor, good for a 64.3% shooting rate, for 24PTS. In addition he also locked down 3REB, 1AST and 1STL. Meanwhile backing up that dangerous duo was TaShawn Thomas who produced 13PTS, 8REB, 8AST and 1STL. Corey Webster also chipped in with 12PTS, 3REB and 1AST. Luke Travers got himself an 11-piece meal, while off the pine Mitch Norton scored 10PTS and Tai Webster ended the encounter with 8PTS. The Wildcats are well placed to cause shock wave, after shock wave throughout all of North Queensland in this can’t miss affair.

With no Keanu Pinder still for the hosts, Tahjere McCall is the man who will be most heavily relied upon to lead the Taipans back into the postseason for the first time in three seasons and for just the second time over the last five. Particularly during Q3 of his sides loss to Tasmania the former NBA G League Champion was absolutely crucial as he drove hard to the rim and in the process got a lot of fouls called on the opposition. This temporarily swung the momentum in Cairns’s favour for a while and kept the game close. He was tenacious, while he literally put his body on the line to the benefit of his team. His 24-point performance was roughly eight points more then his 16.3 average during the regular season, that’s just how much he lifted himself for this play-in matchup! If he continues off the back of what he just produced, then hopefully the rest of the Taipans will follow suit. Then their arena will be rocking in a sea of orange!

I’ll write about him every damn week if I have too, but Bryce Cotton is the Man to take charge here for Perth! Despite playing with an injured hand, he played hard and it shows in the stats, as he converted 8/9 FTs from the line. The pain that he would’ve persevered through for the sake of his team is nothing short of incredible. Meanwhile throughout the Taipans play-in appearance vs Tasmania, Cairns collected just 23 DEF REB to the oppositions 32, so there may be an array of second chance opportunities available for Cotton to take advantage of if he pleases to do so. A common scenario would be Perth missing the initial opportunity, Manek boxing it out, grabbing the board, dishing it out to Cotton who’ll then go in for the mid-range floater or perhaps the close-to-the-basket-attempt which will more likely then not result in some form of points for the electric Point Guard. With the 2016 Memphis Grizzlies member leading the way for Perth anything is possible! Anything!

Perth have won 13 out of their last 15 head-to-head contests against Cairns. And despite the Taipans possessing a very crucial home court advantage here, I’ll back the Wildcats to take this game home in a close one. The Wildcats showed everybody against the Phoenix that they are never truly down and out. Even when at the start of Q4, away from home and down by 11PTS. With Bryce Cotton expected to score 20+ PTS, in addition to him more than likely being abley backed up by the likes of Brady Manek and Corey Webster, it will take a hell of a lot from the Taipans to be able to overturn all of that. Manek’s ability to sink a hook shot close to the rim, or bang them in from deep has kept opposing defences helpless all season long. His last performance against Cairns saw him produce 12PTS and behind the energy of Cotton, he’s bound to take it up a couple of notches here. Tune in on Kayo Freebies, 10 Peach, 10 Play or ESPN, or go to the game itself if at all possible, because it is going to be INCREDIBLE! NO TWO DOUBTS ABOUT IT AT ALL!

Betting tips: Pick a close Perth win at $1.90 (TexBet)

Also pick them to prevail in both Q1 at $1.96 and Q3 at $1.95 (UniBet)

Whilst you can also back the Wildcats to produce 87+ PTS at $1.40 and the Taipans to fashion 76+ PTS at $1.05 (Bet365)


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