After 16 weeks of NBL action the four best teams have made the playoffs and it all starts this Thursday night.
The first series is Melbourne United vs. Sydney Kings and the Perth Wildcats take on the Brisbane Bullets. Both series will capture attention and punters have been waiting a week to watch these quality teams play.
We have form and free tips for Game 1 of both series this week.
7:50pm Melbourne United vs. Sydney Kings @ Hisense Arena
This could go down as one of the best final-four series of all time as Melbourne United (18-10) takes on Sydney Kings (18-10).
Both teams finished with equal records during the regular season and there were many punters that thought this would be the finals series, but we’re going to get some thrilling action this week and it all starts with Game 1 on Thursday.
United had a chance to get the top spot and a significantly easier first round against Brisbane by beating both the Taipans and Wildcats in the final round, but they couldn’t beat the Taipans in a stunning 87-85 upset. They did, however, fire back by beating the Wildcats 81-70 at home and they will get confidence from that effort.
The season has been steady for United, which firmed into premiership favouritism before bookmakers readjusted that line knowing that they’re playing the Kings in the first round of the playoffs. Players such as Casper Ware and Chris Goulding have been good this season but they’re going to have to elevate against the stern Kings defence.
It’s a Kings defence which is led by defensive superstar Andrew Bogut, who leads the league in both rebounding (11.7) and blocks (2.7) per game. Bogut has been the overwhelming reason why the Kings have been good this season and he could take away the inside play from United.
Ware and Goulding will need to knock down their three-point attempts if United are going to hold home court on Thursday night.
Betting tip: Kings +3.5 @ $1.91 – BET NOW
United by 2
10:20pm Perth Wildcats vs. Brisbane Bullets @ RAC Arena
It’s fair to say the Perth Wildcats have reaped the benefits of qualifying in the top spot as they face the 14-14 Brisbane Bullets on Friday night, but that’s not to say it’s going to be easy.
The Wildcats looked fairly average when losing to United in the final round but that was a game they didn’t need to win so punters could forgive that effort.
Brisbane pulled off a come-from-behind win over the New Zealand Breakers in a must-win situation and they do have the capabilities to beat this Wildcats team but it’s going to require a long flight on more than one occasion.
Teams often struggling with the long flight to Perth and that gives the home team a decided advantage. Doing that twice in one series will test the fitness of the Bullets, which has been a problem this season.
There is definitely three teams and the Bullets in this playoff series. They are the underdogs and also the dark horse of the playoffs. That could play into their hands considering they have a premiership-winning coach to guide them and they looked excellent in the mid-stages of the season.
Perth showed their class this season and when it looked as though they were in danger of not making the playoffs, they knuckled down and made an impressive run to finish top of the table.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing and they have had injury and performance woes this season but they’re not the team that dwells on those things. They fight back and show why they’re the current $2.60 favourites for the title.
Game 1 should go in favour of the home side. Perth are tough to beat at home and with the bookmakers’ line set at 5.5, we think that’s a good line for Wildcats’ backers.
Betting tip: Wildcats –5.5 @ $1.91 – BET NOW
Wildcats by 9