Not many punters would have predicted the Sydney Kings to cause the biggest shift in power this season, but that’s exactly what happened last week.
The team sitting on the bottom of the table was able to beat the Perth Wildcats twice last week and throw a spanner into the playoff race.
Perth now sits in fourth with Cairns just three wins back and it’s shaping up to be an exciting finish to the season, especially if teams out of contention continue to improve.
7:35pm Melbourne United vs. Cairns Taipans @ State Netball & Hockey Centre
Melbourne United might not have won as many games as the Adelaide 36ers, but they sit at the top of the ladder because they have had less losses.
Despite starting the season in average fashion, United has recovered well to sit with 14 wins and seven losses. They have been able to find their consistent offence with the likes of Caspar Ware and Chris Goulding, who is in incredible form at the moment.
Facing the Taipans this week shouldn’t stop the winning streak of United, but the Taipans find themselves in fifth position and knocking on the door of pushing Perth out of the playoffs.
It would take a big effort to make up the three-win deficit, but winning on Wednesday night would make a few teams think twice about their top-four spots.
Bookmakers have set the line at 8.5, but we’ve found value with another betting option.
Betting tip: United 1-10 @ $2.75 (BET NOW)
United by 7
5:30pm Brisbane Bullets vs. Adelaide 36ers @ Brisbane Convention Centre
The 36ers have really found their groove towards the end of the season and they find themselves with 15 wins from 23 games.
Coach Joey Wright’s men are starting to put everything together and the win over the Illawarra Hawks at Illawarra last week was a good example of that.
The 112-93 win showcased both their offence and defensive production and it’s going to take a brave Bullets team to stop them this Saturday night.
The Bullets have been close to scoring that upset win this season, but with only seven wins from 22 games, it’s tough to get excited about the rejuvenated franchise.
Close contests have been their downfall and we’re predicting another narrow loss this time around.
Betting tip: 36ers to win @ $1.51 (BET NOW)
36ers by 4
8:30pm Perth Wildcats vs. New Zealand Breakers @ Perth Arena
What has happened to the Perth Wildcats?!?
It was bad enough to see them losing 77-84 at home to the Sydney Kings last week, but there was no effort given when they returned to Sydney and lost 56-84.
Those are the kind of performances which set teams back in the NBL, no matter how good they have been over the last 10 years.
We’re not quite sure what’s wrong with the struggling franchise at the moment, but another home loss could be on the cards against the well-travelled New Zealand Breakers.
Also, not at their best in recent times, the Breakers will be looking to impose another home loss for the Wildcats and they’re paying good odds to do so.
Both teams are in danger of letting Cairns overhaul their playoff spot and this is a vital game for both clubs.
Betting tip: Breakers +4.5 @ $1.91 (BET NOW)
Breakers by 1
3:00pm Sydney Kings vs. Melbourne United @ Qudos Bank Arena
United have every reason to be fearful of the Kings, following their two wins over Perth in Round 15.
The Kings showed just how lethal they can be when all their talent is playing at the same level and United could find it tough to beat them this week.
This will be Melbourne’s second game of the week after playing on Wednesday and although they have plenty of time to recover, that could play into the hands of the Kings.
Form isn’t often temporary in the NBL and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Kings make a big run towards the end of the season, despite their playoff chances being extinguished.
This is a danger game for United and we’re picking another Kings upset.
Betting tip: Kings to win @ $2.22 (BET NOW)
Kings by 7
5:00pm Illawarra Hawks vs. Cairns Taipans @ WIN Entertainment Centre
We thought the Hawks could be the team to push for a playoff spot, but consecutive losses to the 36ers last week put that to bed.
They’re not completely out of playoff contention as a win here would see them get to 10 wins on the season – three behind the Wildcats and Breakers, but a loss would end any hope.
Bookmakers are predicting the Hawks to have too much firepower against the visiting Taipans side, which is sitting one win ahead of the Hawks.
This is a vital game for both clubs, but the Hawks have a good offensive outfit and it only takes a fraction of confidence for them to put up a cricket score.
Betting tip: Hawks –5.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Hawks by 9