The following are previews with betting tips for selected fixtures in Round 12 of the 2023/24 NBL season.
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Illawarra Hawks vs Tasmania JackJumpers
Saturday December 23, 5:30pm
WIN Entertainment Centre
Illawarra Hawks vs Tasmania JackJumpers – Does Hawk rip Ant apart or does Ant cause Hawk a painful death?
That is the question headed into this affair. Because for Justin Tatum’s Hawks a victory would bring them one step closer to a finals position, basically something incredibly unforeseen for Illawarra throughout the majority of their campaign thus far. However recent wins which have seen them topple the Phoenix 100-72, smash the Wildcats 100-82 and edge the Breakers 69-65 mean that they are now on the cusp of it with a somewhat formidable record of 5-8. Tatum has galvanised this team and has got them playing with a hell of a lot of ticker and a hell of a lot of heart. The lads really want it and are giving it their all. During the Hawks 28-point demolition job of South East Melbourne Tyler Harvey looked back to his old vintage self with 25PTS, as the electric Guard went 4/7 from beyond the arc. If Harvey can keep the good times rolling on versus ‘Tassie’ then there’s no reason Illawarra can’t cause another upset here.
For the ‘Jackies’ they currently reside in 4th on the ladder and at 9-7, under the ever lasting guidance of Scott Roth, look to be giving the NBL Championship a real shake once again. However one does have to wonder how many blows the JackJumpers can take before they finally give in, as over the course of their last three games they’ve lost to Sydney and Perth, two top teams, whilst their lone win was against last seasons runner ups in the form of New Zealand. However as the famous old adage goes, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog, and the JackJumpers have plenty of fight with Milton Doyle, Jack McVeigh, Jordan Crawford & Co leading the way. It should also benefit the visitors greatly that they have proven triumphant in six of their last seven matchups against Illawarra. With three of the last four having seen them win by 30PTS, 24PTS and 27PTS! No doubt the ‘Jackies’ will certainly be keen on history repeating itself right here.
Did you know that during Tasmania’s latest 30-point drubbing of Illawarra they had five players score in double-figures. They were Milton Doyle – 19PTS, Jordan Crawford – 17PTS, Jack McVeigh – 15PTS, Majok Deng – 14PTS and Marcus Lee – 10PTS.
It’ll be far from easy, but with the way the ‘Illawarraian’s’ have been competing lately, they very may well edge out Tasmania here. When they put the jets on South East Melbourne the other week few expected them to do that, but they did regardless! And Tyler Harvey carefully selecting and curating the shots that he took was a humorous part of that (25PTS all up). Unlike a lot of previous matchups this season, Harvey wasn’t erratic with his shot selection and worked towards taking good ones, instead of whatever came to him. If he continues playing the high IQ Basketball that we all know and neutrally love from him then he can help push the Hawks towards a tremendous upset right here. However Tasmania are a different breed entirely to the Phoenix, so their defence will have to be hard and on point as well. Whilst limiting Milton Doyle’s impact recently has proven effective from opposition teams, so it wouldn’t hurt Illawarra to try the same thing as they search for a MASSIVE, MASSIVE VICTORY.
Betting tips: Pick Illawarra to cause an upset dub at $2.65 (BlueBet)
You can also pick the total collective points scored to be over 173.5PTS at $1.93 (BlueBet)
And also pick Illawarra to prevail in Q1 at $2.25 (BlueBet)
Melbourne United vs Perth Wildcats
Saturday December 23, 8:00pm
John Cain Arena
Melbourne United vs Perth Wildcats – One step closer to NBL greatness
On Saturday night Melbourne United (1st) host the Perth Wildcats (3rd) in an absolute blockbuster that has the potential to give the victor a massive boost in their pursuit of NBL greatness. The Victorians have hardly missed a beat all season long, with a fine 13-3 record, boosted by the MVP form of star Shooting Guard Chris Goulding who is putting up 18.6PPG on 43.4% shooting from deep + a handy 2.1APG. There’s also the booming 103kgs Centre Jo Lual-Acuil Jr, a beast in the pain who is putting up 15.7PPG, 8RPG and 2.2BPG. For Dean Vickerman’s entertainers, a seventh title is well within reach and if their current season to date is anything to go off, then it’s up to the rest of the competition to stop them!
Enter into the fray the on-fire Western Australian’s. They have won seven of their last eight affairs and in five of them they have conjured up 89+ PTS as they have put their fellow rivals to the sword. After beginning the campaign slowly they have clicked into a super gear as of late. Bryce Cotton, the perennial MVP candidate is of course doing his bit averaging 21.1PPG, 4.4APG and 1.7SPG, whilst hitting a very handy 86.4% of his FT attempts. So as Cotton and Goulding prepare to go at it from Steph Curry-like distances, there will also be a very roughly and toughly contested battle down low between Lual-Acuil Jr and Perth’s very own Keanu Pinder. Even with a face mask on he still has no regard for his body as he charges into the paint on 13.8PPG, 7.1RPG, 1.6SPG and 0.7BPG. As if this matchup wasn’t already ballistic enough, those two individual battles only further add to the hype surrounding this much coveted encounter!
Did you know that 10 of Melbourne and Perth’s last 14 matchups have been decided by just 10PTS or less. The last of their clashes, which was a 102-95 thriller in favour of Perth saw three players score 23+ PTS. A particularly impressive feat that was led by Jo Lual-Acuil Jr w 25PTS, 10REB and 2AST, Bryce Cotton w 24PTS, 6REB and 3AST and Matthew Dellavedova w 23PTS, 4REB and 6AST to his name.
Honestly so much is on the line here for both teams. There is the potential for Melbourne to go even further ahead of the rest of the pack. There is the potential for Chris Goulding to further cement his MVP claims, especially if he outplays Bryce Cotton, a Man who has won it several times himself. But there is also the potential that looms large for Perth to ever so slightly close the gap between themselves and their arch-rivals. Whilst Bryce Cotton could also quite easily explode for 30+ PTS, as the ex-NBAer is just that sort of a magician. However playing the matchup at John Cain Arena should definitely work in United’s favour given that they have won six of their last eight matches on their home floor. That whilst Perth have lost four of their last six road matches. However perhaps most importantly is down low and that’s where I believe this blockbuster will be won and lost. For the hosts they have Jo Lual-Acuil Jr barging into the paint. And then if it’s not him it’s Luke Travers with 12.3PPG on 58.2% shooting within the arc. There’s also the big German Man Ariel Hukporti amongst others constantly looming around as well. Whereas the Wildcats just DO NOT have that Big Man depth. It will be incredibly tight and tense, but Melbourne should just collect the dub here at home.
Betting tips: Look for a Melbourne win at $1.36 (Bet365)
Also look for Melbourne to win Q1 at $1.55 (Bet365)
In addition you can also look for Melbourne to score over 82.5PTS at $1.16 and for Perth to score under 91.5PTS at $1.41 (Bet365)