NBL Round 17 Betting Preview
Latest Odds – HERE.
Townsville Crocodiles v Adelaide 36ers: Wednesday 25/1 – 7.30pm at Townsville Entertainment Centre.
Round 17 of the NBL kicks off with a match between teams with completely different formlines – and it could get ugly.
Townsville continued its hot winning streak last weekend to move into third place on the NBL ladder. The Crocodiles survived a late comeback from Wollongong to run out 65-63 winners in a tough and gruelling contest at home. Eddie Gill saved the day for the Crocs, hitting a jump shot right on the buzzer to give his team the win. But youngster Todd Blanchfield was the matchwinner, accumulating 15 points and eight rebounds. Townsville continue to prove the critics wrong and now seem genuine premiership contenders.
The season continues to go from bad to worse for Adelaide, who dropped its third consecutive game against Cairns last Sunday. The 36ers started strongly to lead 24-17 at quarter time, but they failed to keep up with the classy Taipans, who eventually ran out comfortable 87-75 winners. With Diamon Simpson and Daniel Johnson a little down on output from a points perspective, Stephen Weigh stepped up to nail 21 points. But it wasn’t enough and now the 36ers find themselves just one game clear of Wollongong in bottom spot.
Even though they won, the Crocs will be keen to avenge their messy performance last weekend, particularly in front of their home crowd. And with Adelaide severely out of touch and dwindling towards the bottom of the ladder, the Crocodiles should have little trouble dispensing of the South Australians on Wednesday night.
Townsville by 11+ ($Odds to come)
New Zealand Breakers v Sydney Kings Friday 27/1 – 7.30pm at Vector Arena, Auckland.
The boys from across the Tasman are back in form and will be tough to beat at home where they play their best basketball.
New Zealand seems to have rediscovered its mojo over the past three weeks, winning every game. The Breakers were far too good for the out-of-sorts Melbourne Tigers, running out comfortable 91-77 winners at home. Cedric Jackson was at his unselfish best, laying off a whopping 13 assists while also scoring 10 points himself. A lot of Jackson’s passes landed in the hands of Gary Wilkinson, who dropped 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. The Breakers seem have rediscovered their team chemistry on offence – good luck trying to stop them.
It was a case of so close yet so far for Sydney last weekend as it came agonizingly close to causing one of the upsets of the season over Perth. The Kings went into the final term ahead by two points, but the Wildcats managed to creep ahead in the dying stages of the game. Sydney’s Graeme Dunn missed two free-throws with less than a second remaining to hand the Wildcats a nail-biting 76-75 victory. However the Kings will come away from that match full of confidence knowing they pushed one of the best sides in the league to their peak- and they did it without a monster game from Julian Khazzouh.
Speaking of Khazzouh, he is the only man who could win this game for the Kings. The Breakers have been phenomenal at home this season, winning eight of their nine games. However if Khazzouh, who is averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds this season, can get on top of Wilkinson and Mike Vukona, this one could be close. But the class of the in-form Jackson and that awesome home record should see New Zealand get the points here.
New Zealand by 1-10 ($Odds to come)
Wollongong Hawks v Melbourne Tigers: Friday 27/1 – 7.30pm at Wollongong Entertainment Centre.
Two teams desperately out of form will both be looking to bring up a rare victory on Friday night.
Wollongong finally broke through for a rare victory last weekend, upsetting the Cairns 80-74 at home. The Hawks produced an outstanding third quarter, outscoring the Taipans 20-9 and leaving the mad fans in the SnakePit very quiet. Wollongong was led superbly by Larry Davidson, who accumulated 11 points and eight rebounds. The Hawks almost made it two wins in two days, but left their run too late against Townsville, who held on for a thrilling 65-63 victory. Tim Coenraad and Oscar Foreman scored 16 points each, but didn’t have a lot of help from their teammates.
What the heck has happened to Melbourne? The Tigers have completely lost their way over the past month, sacking Ayinde Ubaka – without the knowledge of coach Trevor Gleeson – and losing their last five straight games to slip outside the top four for the first time in months. They dropped both of their games last round, first to New Zealand 91-77 then to Gold Coast 92-78. The loss of star guard Patty Mills earlier in the season, then Ubaka more recently, has really hurt the Tigers’ small men setup – and it’s hard to see it getting fixed anytime soon.
A month ago, you would have no hesitation in picking the Tigers in this one. Now, not so much. The Hawks looked in decent knick in their two games last weekend and should be fresh for this game coming off a nice break. They will know the Tigers are as vulnerable as ever and will want to try and bury them early. Expect the Hawks to have no mercy on the Tigers, whose miserable losing streak should continue.
Wollongong by 11+ ($Odds to come)
Perth Wildcats v Townsville Crocodiles: Saturday 28/1 – 7.30pm at Challenge Stadium.
Second verses third, star line-up against star line-up – no doubt this one is the game of the round.
Perth almost suffered the ultimate embarrassment last weekend, narrowly defeating lowly Sydney away from home. The Wildcats had to scratch like crazy in the final term and needed a bit of luck to defeat the Hawks 76-75 and hold onto second spot on the NBL ladder. Luke Nevill scored 19 points and had three effective blocks to be his team’s best player on the night. It was probably the scare the Wildcats needed to have at this time of the season to keep them on their toes.
Townsville should have had plenty of time to recover for Saturday’s match after playing the 36ers at home on Wednesday night. It is a long trip from Townsville to Perth, but if the Crocodiles can win on Wednesday night, the trip will be a heck of a lot easier.
The Wildcats clearly have more depth out of the two rosters, but they simply cannot afford to be complacent and underestimate the travelling Crocs. Townsville has played the least number of games out of any NBL team and still sit in third spot, but it will know a two or three-match losing streak could be deadly. But after scoring just six point last game, Kevin Lisch is due for a big one here and it’s hard to see the Crocs stopping him. Get on the ‘Cats.
Perth by 1-10 ($Odds to come)
Gold Coast Blaze v Cairns Taipans: Sunday 29/1 – 6.30pm at Gold Coast Convention Centre.
The final match of Round 17 sees fifth hosting in what should be a reasonably even matchup.
Gold Coast did it easy against deplorable Melbourne last weekend to record its second consecutive victory. Led by Adam Gibson (23 points and seven rebounds) and Mark Worthington (19 and nine), the Blaze ran over the top of the Tigers in the first and final terms to record a 92-78 victory. While three of the four top four teams have played 18 games, the Blaze have only played 16. Therefore when they have two games in upcoming rounds, they will know what it takes to make it into the top four.
Speaking of two matches in a round, that’s exactly what Cairns had to do last weekend – and it came out with mixed results. The Taipans suffered the ultimate humiliation on Friday night, losing 80-74 to lowly Wollongong. Jamar Wilson tried his heart out for his team, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds – but none of his teammates put in the same output. The Taipans then came out with a point to prove on Sunday, smashing Adelaide 87-75 away from home. Wilson was again in splendid touch, top-scoring with 25 points.
This is really a game of offence versus defence. At their best, the Blaze are one of the best offensive teams in the competition, and you wouldn’t be surprised with the likes of Gibson and Worthington cleaning house up front. However scoring will not be easy against the Taipans, who on average conceded the least amount of points per game in the NBL. Plus they have a guy called Wilson who has reached double-figure points in every game this season. Almost a toss of the coin job here, but hunch is the Taipans’ defence will force the game into a scrap – the style of game the Snakes like best.
Cairns by 1-10 ($Odds to come)