The penultimate round of the NBL regular is set to give us a sneak peek as to who will make the top four and how the finals will take shape.
From the highly anticipated clash between the Bullets and Breakers on Friday night, to the Illawarra Hawks playing at a Stadium where the roof isn’t going to leak – Round 19 of the NBL has it all.
Some teams still have hope, some have none and some are saving themselves for the business end of the year.
Our unique insight and complete 2020 NBL Round 19 tips can be found below!
Not since the days of Leroy Loggins tearing it up at the Entertainment Centre in outer suburban Boondall has a ticket to a Bullets game been the hottest ticket in Bris-Vegas.
Friday night’s clash at Nissan Arena (a completely different venue) between the fourth-place Bullets and the fifth-placed NZ Breakers is set to tip-off Round 19 with a bang!
Brisbane is currently on a six-game winning streak and comes off a big win over Melbourne United at home last weekend.
The NZ Breakers have gone from cellar-dwellers to winning four out their last five and, had it not been for the leaky roof in Wollongong, could have given their percentage an even bigger boost in their chase to make the final four.
New Zealand also has to win this if they have any chance of making finals.
Brisbane have a two-win buffer zone, but they can’t afford to be complacent.
The Breakers have a good record on the road this season but the Bullets are 9-3 at home and on a roll stopping all stations to the finals.
Back Brisbane in a close one.
Good news for Illawarra is that the roof at Melbourne Arena (soon to be renamed John Cain Arena) isn’t likely to leak and they can play out a full game of Basketball. That’s about it.
It could also be good news for a Melbourne United outfit that has had a serious form slump, losing six out of their past eight games, and now must win all three of their remaining matches if they are any chance to play in the finals.
Playing the Illawarra Hawks on Friday night should be one to pencil in a much-needed win.
Illawarra has lost their past eight matches and have lost nine out of their past 11 games against Melbourne United.
All three meetings between the two sides this year have resulted in a 10+ margin win to Melbourne United and they should be able to replicate this form to give themselves a chance to keep their season alive on Saturday.
The line of -13.5 is the best value bet of the game for mine.
Thanks to our friends at NBL Facts here’s what the Adelaide 36ers need to happen in order to make the finals:
What has to happen for Adelaide to make finals.
Bullets lose 3 games by at total of 55-pts
Breakers beats Brisbane, but loses to SEM by 51
United don't win more than 2 games but get outscored by 45-pts overall
Adelaide win last 2 games by a total of 65 points
— NBLfacts (@nblfacts) February 3, 2020
Yeah, nah – it’s not going to happen.
Meanwhile, their opponents the Cairns Taipans have pretty much booked their spot in the NBL finals, sitting in third place and if things go their way could even be as high as the second spot by the end of the weekend.
Adelaide hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Taipans, having lost their last four in the city of churches, but streaks are made to be broken.
The 36ers have an 8-5 record on their home court this season but Cairns has been one of the most in-form teams of the NBL right now.
The Taipans also go alright on the road having won three out of their last five away games and would love to come back far North with the points.
The half-time/full-time looks like a good bet should you want to get around the Taipans in this clash.
Sitting on top the table and coming off a loss, the Sydney Kings should be looking forward to taking on the eighth-placed South East Melbourne Phoenix this weekend.
With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Kings will need to win both of them to make sure the Perth Wildcats (who beat them last weekend) isn’t top of the pops come finals time.
You would pencil this in as a win for the Sydney Kings but their away record of recent hasn’t been that great losing four out of the past five road trips.
In saying that, they’ve won all three matches against the Phoenix and really should get the job done over them this Sunday.
This game is a matter of “choose your own adventure” depending on the outcome of Friday night’s game for the Brisbane Bullets.
If the Bullets lose to the Breakers they face the daunting task of heading over to Perth to take on the Wildcats and their charge to the finals slipping away.
If the Bullets win they also face a daunting task of playing the Wildcats in Perth but have some insurance with their top-four spot should they get the job done over the Breakers.
Playing the Wildcats in Perth is one of the toughest tasks in the NBL and they’ve booked themselves another spot in the NBL finals in a streak that started when Alan Bond ruled Perth.
They have a 9-3 record at home and the Bullets have lost their past four matches at RAC Arena.
The Bullets have also won three out of their last four on the road, but do they have enough ammo to upset the Wildcats on their home court?
The line of -5.5 gives them a chance.