NBL Seeding and Play-In Qualifiers – Previews & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for the Seeding and Play-In Qualifiers of the 2023/24 NBL season.

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Tasmania JackJumpers
Tasmania JackJumpers vs Illawarra Hawks

Wednesday February 28, 5:30pm
MyState Bank Arena

Illawarra Hawks

As the JackJumpers and Hawks prepare to go to battle in a winner takes all seeding qualifier, they do so knowing that neither rival will give the other a single inch in this ferocious contest of Basketball. Tasmania in 3rd have simply stifled teams at MyBank State Arena this campaign, having proven triumphant in four of their last five home affairs. Meanwhile for 4th-placed Illawarra they have won five of their last eight outings out on the open road. And as such it only seems fitting that it will be recently crowned Second-Team member Milton Doyle, going up against First-Teamer Gary Clark in a matchup that should ultimately be decided by the Guard and the Forward, with just a year between them age-wise (30 vs 29). Because for Doyle in his sides latest 14-point home shellacking of Perth, he conjured up a magical stat-line of 24PTS, 5REB, 5AST and 1STL, all the while shooting 5/10 from deep in only 28:42-minutes of playing time. As for Clark, in his sides away 11-point beating of Sydney a little over a week ago, he shot an incredibly impressive 12/13 from the FT line en route to 22PTS + 7REB + 5AST in just 28:41-minutes of time out on the court. The two Men might’ve been born 1273.152kms away from each other (Doyle: Chicago – Clark: North Carolina), however come Wednesday evening they’ll be at each others throats and in each others faces in an attempt to boost their team straight through to the semi-finals.

In a league where money is often a deciding factor, both Tasmania and Illawarra have well and truly kicked that trend to the curb this season. Few clubs for example could afford the likes of Bryce Cotton, whilst it’s also well-known that Melbourne and Sydney, amongst two of the most successful Australian Basketball franchises, have pretty deep pockets so to speak. However the ‘Jackies’ and the Hawks have heart and passion, something that just cannot be brought. During the JackJumpers latest outing at home, despite facing the second-placed Wildcats, they blitzed Q2 to the tune of a 25-10 scoreline essentially rendering the game already over and dead headed into half-time. That while they out defensively rebounded Perth 34 to 21, denying them a bucket full of second chance opportunities. Meanwhile it was only just over a week ago that Illawarra, at Qudos Bank Arena, won the game in the opening quarter, as they prevailed 31-17. Six-players scored in double-figures for the Hawks that day in what can only be described as a simply sensational five-star team effort. I mean for god sakes the last time they clashed two OTs were contested, before Illawarra eventually won out 108-107. There is no telling what could happen here, but ones things for sure, no matter what happens, it’ll be pretty damn good.

If I had to pick I’ll back ‘Tassie’ to get the job done. But under no circumstances will it be easy. To me Scott Roth has gotten his troops looking just a little bit more efficient than Illawarra this season. However that’s no indictment on what Jason Tatum and his players have achieved what so ever. This would be a very, very, very worthy Grand Final series. So we are incredibly blessed that this is the opening game for this seasons Playoffs.

Betting tips: Look for Tasmania to claim a hard-fought dub at $1.47 (Bet365)

Also pick them to prevail in Q1 at $1.62 (Bet365)

And look for Tasmania to score over 82.5PTS at $1.23 and for Illawarra to score over 77.5PTS at $1.22 (Bet365)


Sydney Kings
Sydney Kings vs New Zealand Breakers

Wednesday February 28, 7:30pm
Qudos Bank Arena

New Zealand Breakers

Win and you get the privilege of facing off against either Tasmania in Tasmania or Illawarra in Wollongong! That is what’s on offer within this sudden death play-in clash for last seasons two fallen and dejected Grand Finalists. For the Sydney Kings need I say more. They are the back-to-back champions, yet somehow they look and feel completely different. Rumours of Mahmoud Abdelfattah losing the team have been going on for months and months. Whilst out on the court they have looked directionless. Meanwhile for the New Zealand Breakers they are only here courtesy of a late surge during the closing stages of the regular season. This comes after they went down in seven of their ten opening games. Whilst the loss of Anthony Lamb to a season-ending injury certainly hasn’t boosted their hopes of a bounce-back Championship either. Yet as depressing as it is, both teams have still found their way into the Final Six and now that the opening part of the campaign is done and dusted, anything can happen. And for at least one of these teams, they’ll get to breathe a sigh of relief come the sounds of the final whistle at Qudos Bank Arena knowing that they’ll live to see another week.

Did you know that 10 of these two historic franchises last 13 matchups against one another have been decided by just 10-points or less? Because when they go head-to-head neither side is willing to relent and as a result they leave all of their blood, sweat and tears out on the floor. It was only late last year when a second-half surge from New Zealand saw them fall just short at Olympic Park, 87-85. That day both D.J. Hogg and Parker Jackson-Cartwright lit up the floor for 18PTS & 5AST apiece. And both Men could well be the key piece to the puzzle for their respective franchises right here. For Hogg he has had an incredibly unlucky injury plagued season to date, but the post-season represents a chance for him to start anew. Whilst for Jackson-Cartwright, he was the superstar over in Auckland prior to Lamb arriving onshore. Then he had to take a bit of a backseat as the face of the team, however now Lamb is out and the team is once again heavily relying upon Jackson-Cartwright to deliver the goods. Hogg poured in 25PTS during his teams latest record win over the Phoenix in Melbourne, a 55-point margin and is on 14.3PPG for the season. Not to mention he’s dishing out a handy 3.1APG as well. Jackson-Cartwright too is doing his thing, as despite his team losing away last round to Adelaide, he was still the affairs second-highest scorer with 24PTS to his name. And on the season he’s pulling in 20.2PPG + 5.7APG. Both players are also incredibly versatile within their trade, however now comes a time when all of the focus will be blasting onto them.

Picking a victor here is incredibly, incredibly difficult. However with no Lamb the Breakers look to be ‘slaughtered’. The back-to-back champs are difficult to discount despite their struggles. So I’ll go with them in what should be a tense, tense and tense neck and neck affair.

Betting tips: Pick a toughly contested Kings victory to occur at $1.52 (Bet365)

Also pick Sydney to fashion up 24.5+ PTS in Q1 at $1.95 (Bet365)

You can also look for the first half to be the highest scoring one at $1.71 and for New Zealand to score 81PTS or more at $1.22 (Bet365)


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