An interesting fixture to begin Round 13 and a case to be made for both the Hawks and 36ers finding their way into the winner’s stall.
The Hawks produced one of their best performances of the season to beat the table-topping Sydney Kings and while they do remain seventh in overall standings, there is plenty of scope to continue climbing.
The 36ers have been pretty inconsistent all season; they are 9-9 and were disappointing losers at home and against the Breakers in Round 12. A repeat of that performance would see them comfortably losing this one, as well.
The Hawks can cover a line currently set at only 1.5 points.
The Kings are offered another great opportunity to consolidate their position at the top of the table when they host the Breakers on Friday.
A first-up loss to local rivals the Hawks was almost franked when they were pushed all the way by the last-placed Taipans on Monday night, but they were still able to cover the line and remain a hard prospect for every other club.
The Breakers have not enjoyed their best start to a season on record but did manage two vital wins in Round 12 over the 36ers and Wildcats respectively. If they carry their form into this week, they are a live chance of winning.
I think that the Breakers are good enough to cover a four-point line.
On face value, this game ends in a big win to the Wildcats, but the recent form of both clubs suggests that simply will not be the case.
After absolutely flying the gates, the Wildcats have more than fallen back into the pack and carry a record of 12-7 into this game. They were beaten convincingly by the Breakers in Round 12 and will need to improve to ensure they don’t drop another one this week.
The Taipans are still clearly anchored to the bottom of the table, but they recorded their second win of the season with a flogging of the Bullets in North Queensland first-up last weekend before pushing the Kings all the way. They will be quietly confident of upsetting a Wildcats side that seem to be lacking confidence.
Adelaide will step out for the second time in Round 13 when they host the Bullets on Saturday afternoon. Obviously plenty will hinge on their performance against the Hawks in Illawarra on Thursday, but they are typically better in front of their own crowd and are set to begin odds-on.
Alongside the Kings, the Bullets have been the big improvers this season and while they were absolutely flogged by the Taipans in the Round 12 opener, they responded with a big win over Melbourne United on Sunday. That result has surely refilled their sails and they will be confident of recording another win over the inconsistent 36ers.
The return leg of last weekend’s fixture will see the Kings host the Hawks in Sydney on Sunday afternoon.
This will be the second game for both clubs in Round 13 and I am happy to watch the two prior before locking in my bets, but the Kings certainly deserve their clear favouritism in head-to-head betting early.
The Taipans return to the Snake Pit on Sunday evening to host the ever-dangerous Melbourne United.
This is another fixture that could look vastly different after Cairns travel to Perth earlier in the round, but United will enter fresh and if they bring even some of their best form, they will surely be winning.