The 2021 NBL season just goes on and on and on and on…and we just can’t get enough of it.
Round 15 brings us a terrific weekend of Aussie Hoops action and there’s plenty of blockbuster clashes on the cards.
Can we turn it into a profitable one for the punters?
Read on in our preview…
Two teams in playoff contention with the third-placed South East Melbourne Phoenix playing host to the Sydney Kings at John Cain Arena to start the round.
South East Melbourne lost both of their games last weekend and will be desperate to get back on the winner’s list to ensure they remain in the top four.
The Sydney Kings won both of their matches, including getting the job done over the Phoenix 97-90 last Thursday night.
Much attention will be on Sydney’s Casper Ware, who is coming off a 40-point performance last Saturday night against the Taipans in a stunning display of dominance.
Expect this game to be a tight, hard-fought contest.
Both sides’ total point average is 172 over their past 10 games and with the total match points set at 177, this has the Unders written all over it.
The New Zealand/Tassie Breakers are on a bit of a roll at the moment.
On the back of a terrific win over the Bullets on Friday night followed by travelling out west and defeating the Wildcats in a thriller on Sunday, the Breakers are becoming a team that’s going to cause a lot of headaches for those with playoff aspirations.
While this may be a clash between 8th v 9th, this game should be a beauty and there’s so much to like about New Zealand.
The Taipans were unlucky not to cause an upset over the Sydney Kings last Saturday, and despite losing five out of their last six Cairns have been very competitive in all of those matches.
These two sides fought out a thriller when they last met in the NBL Cup when the Breakers won 76-73 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes down to the wire on Friday night.
Take the “home” team at 1-10 points for a bit of value.
Stunned from their loss to the Breakers, the Perth Wildcats are back at home to take on the Brisbane Bullets on Friday night.
The Wildcats will go into this game clear favourites ($1.33) and no one expects them to drop two on the trot, especially on the fortress that is RAC Area.
Brisbane has been rather ordinary this season, losing five out of their last six and have also suffered at the hands of the Breakers with a 20 point loss in Launceston last week.
One thing to look forward to in this clash will be the two leading scorers of the NBL – Perth’s Bryce Cotton and Brisbane’s Nathan Sobey going head-to-head.
With that in mind, I wouldn’t rule out a high-scoring affair and will back the overs.
Top of the table Melbourne United takes on the Adelaide 36ers in what should be one of the games of the round.
The Adelaide 36ers have developed a reputation for being the giant killers of the competition having beaten the likes of the Perth Wildcats and the Phoenix in recent weeks and despite being placed 7th on the NBL table are still very much in the mix for a playoff spot.
Melbourne United is currently on an eight-game winning streak and most certainly will not underestimate a plucky 36ers outfit that’s brimming with confidence.
Having said that, the home team should be able to cover the line in this one.
The NSW derby between the Hawks and Kings is always a highlight of the NBL calendar.
With the Kings in 4th place and Hawks in 5th, it’ll be on for young and old in this edition of the Derby.
This stat from SBS Sport caught my attention during the week
“Brian Goorjian has won his last 12 NSW derbies. As coach of the Kings, Goorjian won his last 10 derbies including sweeping the 2005 Grand Final Series.”
Based on that stat alone, and my love of the great man Goorjian, I’m backing the Hawks.
Both teams will be feeling a bit sore having to back it up from respective matches on Thursday and Friday night.
Brisbane and South East Melbourne have met only once this season, when the Phoenix did it easy over the Bullets 99-83 as the NBL Cup got underway back in February.
The market has installed the Bullets as early favourites at this stage, so based on form and an extra 24 hours to freshen up – I’m backing the South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Two sides backing it up from Friday night so fatigue will very much be a factor.
The Perth Wildcats have been installed as early favourites, and should they get the job done on Friday, you would expect the opening price to drop.
While it’s a bloody long trip on the plane from Perth to Cairns, even the earliest of indicators leads to a Wildcats victory on the road.
You’d love for the Snakes to cause a major upset in front of their adoring home fans, but you just can’t see it happening.
Perhaps they’ll put up a spirited performance on the grand occasion and honour that it is to play on ANZAC day.
Take the Wildcats 1-10.
There’s no doubt that the Adelaide 36ers would like nothing more than to atone for their 62-106 loss at the hands of the Breakers back in February.
Both teams are backing it up from games played on the weekend and have been fun to watch recently.
This should be a beauty and I have no doubt the 36ers have very much had this hit-out against the Breakers in mind and that motivation could spur a major turnaround from that last meeting.
While at the time of publishing this preview, both sides haven’t yet played their first game of the round, I’m feeling very confident in backing a 36ers upset on Monday night in Tassie.