2021 NBL Round 1 – Tips, Predictions & Odds

We have expert betting predictions for the opening round of the NBL season, which tips off on Friday with Adelaide vs. Melbourne.

It has been a frustrating off-season for every NBL team, but punters are excited for the season to date.

Perth Wildcats are looking to go back-to-back, but they have some stiff competition from numerous teams.

We preview every contest of the season, which includes five Round 1 games.


All odds are with Sportsbet – our No. 1 rated bookmaker. You can join Sportsbet by clicking HERE.


NBL Round 1 Predictions

Friday 15/01/21

Adelaide 36ers vs. Melbourne United @ Adelaide Entertainment Centre

Adelaide gets their 2021 NBL season off to a start at home, which should give them every chance to upset title favourites Melbourne United.

Melbourne is always well-favoured to win the title, but they often live up to expectations. Caspar Ware and Chris Goulding make a deadly shooting duo, and that’s what faces Adelaide on Friday night.

The 36ers didn’t show much last season, but a coaching change could help. Connor Henry is an American, who was drafted for the NBA in 1986.

It was sad to see Joey Wright let go, but Adelaide needed a shot in the arm. However, we’re not expecting them to beat Melbourne on Friday.

United has a formidable team, and they know how to win early games.

Bet: Melbourne United to winBet @ Sportsbet

Saturday 16/01/21

Brisbane Bullets vs. The Hawks @ Nissan Arena

The Brisbane Bullets could have a successful season, and beating The Hawks in Round One is highly likely.

Brisbane has a quality head coach in Andrej Lemanis, who will be expecting improvement this season. They have a solid roster, including Nathan Sobey, Mika Vukona, and fellow Kiwi Reuben Te Rangi.

There isn’t much going for The Hawks this season, and bookmakers are expecting them to struggle. The roster isn’t as strong as other clubs, with Billy Preston being the star import.

Experience comes via David Andersen and Andrew Ogilvy, but it could take The Hawks time to find their rhythm.

Take Brisbane to win the opening game of its season.

Bet: Brisbane Bullets to winBet @ Sportsbet

Cairns Taipans vs. Sydney Kings @ Cairns Pop Up Arena

We expect Cairns to go close to winning this season, so we naturally expect them to take the opening game of the season.

The Taipans have a quality roster, which includes MVP candidate Scott Machado. He has the likes of D.J. Newbill and Majok Deng to help, so it’s a complete roster.

Sydney has an exciting team, but bookmakers aren’t expecting much this season. A new coach, Adam Forte, enters the club, and he might not get immediate result.

The Kings have Didi Louzada, Kevin Lisch, and Brad Newly, so there is plenty of quality. They are good enough to score an upset on Saturday, but go with Cairns at home.

The Taipans like to start the season with a win, so we wouldn’t be betting against them.

Bet: Cairns Taipans to winBet @ Sportsbet

Sunday 17/01/21

Adelaide 36ers vs. S.E. Melbourne Phoenix @ Adelaide Entertainment Centre

Adelaide gets the benefit of playing their first two games at home, and they should take at least one of them.

We have them losing on opening night against Melbourne United, but they are capable of beating the other Melbourne team. The Phoenix haven’t hit their straps since entering the NBL, and we don’t see that changing this season.

Its roster is mostly role players with no superstars. Mitch Creek’s stock is on a downward trend, and unless Terry Armstrong is a stud, the Phoenix could struggle.

If Adelaide loses on Friday night, they will be desperate to avoid going 0-2. Therefore, take the home side to notch a victory.

Bet: Adelaide 36ers to winBet @ Sportsbet

Cairns Taipans vs. The Hawks @ Cairns Pop Up Arena

Just like the Adelaide 36ers, Cairns enjoys its second consecutive home game to kick-off the NBL season.

Cairns is our top pick to win the NBL title this season, and we can’t see The Hawks getting close to them on Sunday night.

The Hawks will need time to work through their gears this season, especially with the departure of NBA draft pick, LaMelo Ball.

Cairns has enough talent to roll through its opposition this season, and The Hawks could be a team that faces adversity from the opening tip.

Bet: Cairns Taipans to winBet @ Sportsbet


All odds are with Sportsbet – our No. 1 rated bookmaker. You can join Sportsbet by clicking HERE.

Daryl Curnow
About the Author: Daryl Curnow

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.

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