At this stage of the season it appears as though three teams looked to have sealed a playoff position, but playoff positions are important and there’s still that coveted fourth spot.
Teams in the hunt for the last spot are the Bullets, 36ers, Hawks and even the Breakers, which scored two wins last week to keep themselves in the playoff picture.
There are seven quality games to bet on this week in Round 16 of the NBL, including a Friday night triple-header.
5:20pm New Zealand Breakers vs. Melbourne United @ Spark Arena
The Breakers stormed back into playoff contention with two much-needed wins last week against Cairns and Brisbane, but they’ll need to continue winning to make a push for the post-season.
The key to success is keeping Shaun Long out of foul trouble because there’s no doubting that he is the best centre currently in the NBL (sorry Andrew Bogut) … but he keeps sitting early and that takes him out of action.
When he plays full minutes the Breakers typically win, like they did last week and now they face a red-hot United side coming off a 114-91 win over Adelaide.
It was a close game for the most part United pulled away late to put up a sizable win. They are now favoured to win the NBL but they always struggle to put away the Breakers, especially at Spark Arena.
We’re sticking with the home side here.
Betting tip: Breakers to win @ $2.30 – BET NOW
Breakers by 5
7:43pm Brisbane Bullets vs. Sydney Kings @ Brisbane Convention Centre
The Kings won this same match up last week when defeating the Bullets at the Brisbane Convention Centre by 87-81, but they looked awful against the Perth Wildcats just two days later.
They scored just 68 points in a 20-point loss and it raised some questions about the Kings that many punters weren’t expecting to hear. Are they tough enough to win? They showed after starting well last season that they weren’t, so is adding Andrew Bogut enough?
Bookmakers don’t seem to think so as they have installed the Bullets as the $1.74 favourites. The Bullets lost both games in Round 15 but we in a position where they need to win in order to stay in fourth position.
There is plenty on the line for both teams but we feel Sydney can afford the loss more than the home side.
Betting tip: Bullets to win @ $1.74 – BET NOW
Bullets by 4
9:53pm Perth Wildcats vs. Illawarra Hawks @ RAC Arena
Perth rocketed to the top of the NBL ladder last week with two emphatic wins over Adelaide (100-81) and Sydney (88-68) but it came with a heavy price of losing Mitch Norton for the season.
The guard is a key part of the Wildcats’ success and losing him has already seen the bookmakers move their premiership-winning odds out to $4.33.
That being said, they’re still the hot favourites to beat the struggling Hawks, which mustered an 82-81 win over the Taipans having lost their first game earlier that round by 24 points to Melbourne United.
It’s tough to travel to Perth and win. We can’t see Illawarra doing that.
Betting tip: Wildcats –6.5 @ $1.87 – BET NOW
Wildcats by 10
2:50pm Cairns Taipans vs. Adelaide 36ers @ Cairns Convention Centre
Adelaide was put under pressure from coach Joey Wright to respond against Melbourne and whilst they did for one half, they fell away poorly in the second half.
The team which currently sits just one win out of a playoff spot seems to be desperate for a turnaround in form and that’s made easier by taking on Cairns, which has only four wins to their name.
They have been improving as the season as progressed but we feel this game could be a breakout game for the 36ers, which still possess enough talent to win the competition.
Betting tip: 36ers to win @ $1.62 – BET NOW
36ers by 7
2:50pm Sydney Kings vs. Brisbane Bullets @ Qudos Bank Arena
The Kings and Bullets play for the second time this week, but this time the Kings get to play at their home court.
Having looked shaky at home in recent weeks, taking the Kings is no sure thing this week, but we can’t see them losing twice to the Bullets in one round and therefore we’re tipping the home side to get it done in both games of this series.
Betting tip: Kings to win @ $1.57 – BET NOW
Kings by 7
5:20pm Melbourne United vs. New Zealand Breakers @ Melbourne Arena
The second game of a double-header could well go United’s way this time. Home advantage is key in the NBL and United play well on their home court.
We said earlier in the preview about how the New Zealand Breakers play United tough and have a great record against them, but the premiership favourites won’t want to possibly lose two games to their rivals and they should get this win at Melbourne Arena.
Betting tip: United –5.5 @ $1.87 – BET NOW
United by 7
7:50pm Illawarra Hawks vs. Cairns Taipans @ WIN Entertainment Centre
This won’t be the best game of the week by any stretch of the imagination but it does have some importance for the Hawks, which is only a couple of wins from being in a playoff-bearing position, but you wouldn’t know it looking at their premiership odds.
$81 on offer for the Hawks to make a late playoff run and although we’re not tipping them to do so, it’s not quite a fair indication of their talent.
Cairns has shown improvement as weeks have gone by but if the Hawks can’t beat them with home court advantage, $81 will turn into $201.
Betting tip: Hawks to win @ $1.52 – BET NOW
Hawks by 10