The following is a preview with betting tips for the best-of-five Grand Final Series in the 2022/23 NBL season. The game covered is Game 1 between the Sydney Kings and New Zealand Breakers.
Sydney Kings vs New Zealand Breakers
Friday March 03, 7:30pm
As little as 14-years ago the Kings were expunged from the NBL due to financial difficulties and now they are aiming for back-to-back Championship triumphs. Thanks to co-owner Paul Smith, head coach Chase Buford, reigning MVP Xavier Cooks & Co, the club has done a complete 360 turnaround and has turned Sydney into what is now affectionately known as the Hoops Capital of Australia.
Meanwhile for the Breakers they too have risen from NBL purgatory to become arguably one of the best defensive team in all of Asia. Thanks in no small part to the booming efforts of American front court duo Jarrell Brantley & Derek Pardon (16.1PPG/6.1RPG & 12.6PPG/8.3RPG). As they have helped change what was a dismal 5-23 record last season to an excellent 18-10 one this campaign + at the very least a Grand Final series appearance in the books. While a series victory here would also extremely impressively represent their fifth Championship in franchise history.
So with both sides chomping at the bit to rip into this series, there is no better time to dive into this Game One Preview then right now!
For the hosts the most important player for them may in fact be Dejan Vasiljevic. With Xavier Cooks still potentially fragile, it may need to be the ever colourful Shooting Guard who needs to rise to the occasion for his team. And it is no coincidence that when he plays poorly they lose, but when he’s on fire they are victorious. During Sydney’s 11-point loss to the Taipans in Far North Queensland in Game Two of their semifinal series, he produced just 4PTS on 2/9 shooting from the floor, while he was also 0/3 from beyond the arc.
However when the Kings came to play in Game Three at home, winning 79-64, he was his sides highest scorer with 15PTS. And notably he also had 5REB, that being above his season average of 4.4 + the most of all the Guards on the team. His attitude is infectious, whilst he is also well and truly the NBL’s version of Klay Thompson, a superstar who can light it up from deep when/wherever he feels like. New Zealand’s defence will be very difficult to penetrate and as a result players like Vasiljevic will be relied upon heavily to convert their longer looks in order to make it a contest. Shooting 36.9% from the three-point line on the season, I expect him to get to work in this real battle-hardened affair.
For Mody Maor’s visiting Breakers both Jarrell Brantley & Derek Pardon will be of extreme importance to them. However perhaps even more so then them will be reigning NBL Sixth Man of the Year and ever electric Shooting Guard, Barry Brown Jr. The strongest possible evidence backing this up is that in New Zealand’s most recent Game 3 elimination semifinal against Tasmania at home, the 26-year-old put up a massive 32PTS to help his side advance to the Grand Final Series, on 10/16 shooting. In addition, he shot 2/2 from deep and 10/10 from the FT line. He took over a matchup that could’ve ended very differently for the hosts.
And he’s done it all playing with a broken hand too. He can get hot from anywhere and this will be of a massive concern to Chase Buford’s Men. Because if he can heat up in a hurry, outside of Xavier Cooks (who may potentially get into foul trouble), there aren’t many in the league who can thwart him. And Sydney know that all too well unfortunately as when he last faced off against the Kings he ended the affair with a handy 15PTS, 3REB and 3AST. And because of New Zealand’s old school bully ball style of play, it’s more important then ever that players like Brown do what they do, so that the big fellas have all the room necessary in order to do their stuff down low. As always, expect him to show up and put on a five-star show.
Over these two sides last twenty-four matches that have been contested in Sydney, they have been split evenly right down the middle at twelve victories a piece. And there have been some memorable performances over that time too. Who can forget when Jason Cadee secured a 30-piece meal at the Sydney Entertainment Centre back in 2018, in a 15-point Kings dub? Or when Corey Webster scored 38PTS during a Breakers win in Sydney’s territory. Coming via a 93-83 scoreline three years earlier? And now another chapter will be written into these two teams illustrious and fierce history against one another. There is absolutely plenty to look forward to within this opening game and this series. It isn’t to be missed!
**The matchup/series can be viewed on ESPN via Kayo Sports and 10 Peach. Whilst for those based in New Zealand it can be watched on Sky Sports.
Betting tips: Look for the Kings to win Game One at $1.50 (BlueBet)
Also look for Q4 to belong to Sydney as well at $1.76 (UniBet)
However you can look for Q2 to be all New Zealand at $2.25 (UniBet)
And you can also back the Breakers to score 80+ PTS at $1.41 (Bet365)