This season is showing why the NBL is one of the most respected basketball leagues around the world.
The American imports have revolutionised the sport in Australasia and the teams with the best imports are sitting at the top of the ladder.
Week 15 starts off with a cracking top-four clash between Melbourne United and New Zealand Breakers. The winner goes to the top of the table and it tips off a week which includes an Adelaide vs. Illawarra double header.
5:30pm New Zealand Breakers vs. Melbourne United @ North Shore Events Centre
Melbourne United went into Perth last week and came away with a rare victory at Perth Arena and that’s going to have their confidence levels sky high.
After an inconspicuous start to the season, United are starting to look like the premiership favourites and that could spell trouble for the Breakers, which are hanging around, but not looking as dominant.
The Breakers had their chances against Illawarra last week, but the 11-point loss was enough to see them slip back to third on the table.
Recent losses can’t be attributed to any one player, but a better recognition on the defensive end will see them improve significantly.
There also needs to be some onus on Mika Vukona. The Breakers big man has been putting on a disappearing act this season and they’ll his passion to return if they’re any chance this season.
Bookmakers have the Breakers are slight favourites and considering their great record against United over past seasons, we’ll stick with him.
Betting tip: Breakers to win @ $1.70 (BET NOW)
Breakers by 6
7:30pm Adelaide 36ers vs. Illawarra Hawks @ Titanium Security Arena
The Illawarra Hawks know they need to make a deep run to make the playoffs and last week’s win over the Breakers was a good start, but it’s the 36ers who are getting in their way.
A pair of wins last week saw the 36ers move to 13 wins on the season, four above the Hawks and this weekend’s double-header will prove vital in deciding the fate of the playoffs.
Realistically, the Hawks will need to win both games, but that’s not going to be an easy task against a 36ers team which has found its groove.
The 104-101 win over the Kings might not have been as impressive as it could have been, but they had to fight in the fourth quarter to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
Bookmakers have the home side as the –5.5 favourites, but there’s little separating these teams and it should be a close contest.
Betting tip: Hawks +5.5 @ $1.92 (BET NOW)
36ers by 3
9:30pm Perth Wildcats vs. Sydney Kings @ Perth Arena
It’s fair to say the Perth Wildcats are quite playing their best basketball at the moment, but that shouldn’t be an issue this week.
The Sydney Kings had their chances against the Adelaide 36ers after leading for most of the game, but that lack of clutch performance is a worry.
Perth will be looking to avoid yet another home loss this season and it simply shouldn’t happen against the Kings, as the bookmakers are predicting.
Betting tip: Wildcats –11.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Wildcats by 14
5:30pm Brisbane Bullets vs. Melbourne United @ Brisbane Convention Centre
It’s tough to judge the Brisbane Bullets this season, especially considering that they’re out of playoff contention.
They almost pulled off the upset over the Wildcats on Sunday, but a last second shot from the Wildcats was enough to sink the Bullets’ hopes.
That loss could either have dented their confidence or given them the boost they’ll need to topple United this Saturday night.
United will play its second game in three days and the travel from New Zealand to Australia could hurt, but they have more depth than most teams in the NBL.
Brisbane are a team that punters can easily fall in love with, but United should be taking this out.
Betting tip: United –3.5 @ $1.87 (BET NOW)
United by 7
7:30pm Cairns Taipans vs. New Zealand Breakers @ Cairns Convention Centre
The Taipans are out of playoff contention, but the bookmakers have the men from Queensland as equal favourites for this game.
Public confidence in the Breakers might have taken a bump with their loss to the Hawks last week, but there were still good signs and we think the bookmakers have got this market wrong.
Punters should expect the odds for the Breakers to firm remarkably if they are to win on Thursday night, as we have predicted, which means the $1.90 currently on offer won’t last long.
We predicted the Breakers to be $1.60 favourites for this game and although it’s played in Cairns, the Breakers have had no problem travelling this season.
A potential top spot is up for grabs and the Breakers should come through with the victory.
Betting tip: Breakers to win @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Breakers by 8
3:00pm Sydney Kings vs. Perth Wildcats @ Qudos Bank Arena
The Kings and Wildcats do battle for the second time this week and we’re not expecting anything to be different from the first time they meet.
The Wildcats should account for the Kings on Friday night although they play in Sydney for this game, there’s little that Sydney offers.
Jerome Randle is a superstar for the Kings, but his supporting crew is below par and we’re expecting another comfortable victory for one of the sides in the history of the NBL.
Betting tip: Wildcats –6.5 @ $1.87 (BET NOW)
Wildcats by 9
5:00pm Illawarra Hawks vs. Adelaide 36ers @ WIN Entertainment Centre
Much like the Kings and Wildcats, the Hawks and 36ers do battle for the second time this week.
This game will likely be more important for the Hawks as a loss could leave them with too much to do, but it could also be important for the 36ers, who are pushing for a top two spot.
The Hawks are favoured to win this game as their home court record is very good. The market will be affected by the first game of the week, but we’re predicting a Hawks victory either way.
Adelaide aren’t to be fully trusted away from home, so stick with the home side.
Betting tip: Hawks @ $1.73 (BET NOW)
Hawks by 5