We have expert betting predictions for first round of playoffs featuring the Wildcats vs Hawks and United vs Phoenix.
There is no doubt the four best teams made the playoffs and it should be an exciting series, which tips off on Thursday with Perth vs Illawarra.
NBL Playoffs Round 1 Predictions
Perth Wildcats vs Illawarra Hawks @ RAC Arena
The Perth Wildcats are on the second line of betting to win the NBL Championship at $3.75. However, they were dealt a huge blow with MVP Bryce Cotton ruling himself out of the finals.
We are surprised the Wildcats are still on the second line of betting and the Hawks are paying $17 to win. Without Cotton on the court, the Wildcats are severely limited on the offensive end.
Cotton led the NBL with 23.47 points per game and 5.69 assists, so it’s up to the supporting cast to take over the reins. Fellow American import and former Notre Dame star John Mooney has been cleaning up the boards, but he will need to be more active in the scoring department.
Todd Blanchfield is capable of dropping some dimes, but Perth lost their last two games without Cotton and we worry for their title chances, especially against the gifted scorers of Illawarra.
The Hawks are being underrated coming into this series, despite winning four of their last five games. Tyler Harvey sat out their most recent loss, and we believe they wanted to lose the game to face a Cotton-less Wildcats outfit.
We can’t confirm that, but it’s the tactic we would have chosen given the option between the Wildcats and Melbourne United. Illawarra is a team capable of scoring big numbers and they play a tough brand of defence, so it should be a good matchup.
Harvey is third in scoring with 20.44 PPG and although Justinian Jessup hasn’t exploded, his time could come in the playoffs.
Bookmakers are yet to release odds for Game 1 on Thursday, but we’re predicting an upset result.
Bet: Illawarra Hawks to win – Bet @ Sportsbet
Melbourne United vs S.E. Melbourne Phoenix @ Qudos Bank Arena
It’s a shame the all-Melbourne affair is being hosted in Sydney, but these teams should come out with plenty of enthusiasm.
United has been one of the favourites to win the competition from the outset and they didn’t disappoint. They won the regular season title with 28 wins from 36 games, which is an incredible record in modern NBL.
Despite suffering some injury problems throughout the year, United has shown excellent consistency and we won’t be surprised if they open as double-digit favourites for Game 1.
We’re not saying S.E. Melbourne isn’t worthy of its place in the playoffs, but United is the much better team and the Phoenix only barely made it past the Kings to make the final four.
United doesn’t have a player that ranks in the top four in points, assists or rebounds. However, they play a team game and it’s winning basketball.
Jock Landale and Chris Goulding are consistent performers and we don’t recommend backing against United in this situation. They will likely come out humming and put the Phoenix to the sword early.
Bet: Melbourne United to win – Bet @ Sportsbet
After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NRL, AFL, NBA, Rugby, NFL, and US college sports. Daryl’s tips have been featured on various websites around the world before joining the GoBet team. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.