The following are previews with betting tips for selected fixtures in Round 17 of the 2023/24 NBL season.
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Brisbane Bullets vs Melbourne United
Friday January 26, 7:30pm
For Melbourne a win of any kind would place some heat between them currently occupying 1st and the 2nd-placed Wildcats. Whilst for the Bullets a win would see them continue to hover around 3rd-place. A position which come the end of the regular season would see them host all of their potential play-in games. So both franchises have a tonne of reasons to come out and compete here during Friday Night Hoops.
However despite United currently having a league-best record at 16-6, they might find Brisbane tough to conquer as they have proven triumphant in five of their last six matches. The latest of which saw them trash Cairns by 18-points in the ‘Sunshine Stoush’ Derby. Nathan Sobey led the charge with 18PTS & 5REB, whilst Tyrell Harrison was a menace with 16PTS & 13REB. Meanwhile Aaron Baynes quietly did his thing with 15PTS & 8REB. And along the way during their winning run, the Bullets have ‘shot down’ some real big shots. Those including the inform Hawks by seven-points, 3rd-placed Tasmania by three-points and the back-to-back Grand Final winning Kings by eight-points. Justin Schueller’s Men are not messing around at the moment, as the club buoyantly attempts to reach the playoffs for just the second time in eight seasons.
As we all know though, Melbourne aren’t going to have their walls torn down easily and if Brisbane want to collect the home dub then they’ll have to work their absolute arses off for it! They will be desperate to rebound from their last start 107-86 humiliation versus the JackJumpers at MyState Bank Arena last round. Despite being down by only ten-points headed into Q3, they absolutely blew their chances as they went down in that period 25-14. However it shouldn’t be understated that despite suffering through the blowout defeat, all five of their starters scored in double-figure points. Chris Goulding led the way with 16PTS, whilst Ian Clark came up with 15. Ariel Hukporti scored 13PTS, Luke Travers 12 and Matthew Dellavedova 11. If they can grunge up some consistency from their bench in this one, which they should do, then this will be one hell of an entertaining affair.
If all goes according to plan, this could quite easily be one of the games of the season! However in order for that to happen Brisbane will have to re-write history. Why you ask? Well there’s just the small thing of the Bullets having lost their last seven straight affairs against Melbourne. And the worst of it probably came most recently, as late last year United proved triumphant by a margin of thirty-five points, as the club had five players pour in double-figure points. And contesting the encounter at John Cain Arena, United provided a late flurry of points, trashing the visitors in Q4 26-9. However that Bullets side was the one that played the first half of the campaign rather sloppily, as they look to be completely revamped throughout the second-half of the season. A lot will rely on Nathan Sobey being able to match the output of MVP candidate and fellow rival G Chris Goulding. However if he can do that + perhaps a lil more then GAME FREAKING ON RIGHT HERE!
Betting tips: Look for Brisbane to tip the scales and cause an upset at $2.75 (BlueBet)
Also look for the total points scored to be at 181+ at $1.85 (BlueBet)
However you can also cheekily pick Melbourne to win H1 at $1.50 (BlueBet)
Adelaide 36ers vs Cairns Taipans
Saturday January 27, 5:30pm
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Such is the tightness and competitiveness of the NBL this season that 6th-placed Cairns are just a couple of wins away from 3rd-position on the ladder. And currently having a hold of the final play-in spot, a win would come in mighty handy for Adam Forde’s troops as their win percentage of 46% is only slightly above that of the rest of the pack. As New Zealand closely follow them at 43%, same with Illawarra. Whilst Adelaide and South East Melbourne are each at 39% respectively. Meanwhile the 36ers have just been toying with the opposition they’ve been facing lately, blasting the motors winning four of their last five games. And perhaps most importantly restoring some pride back onto their previously tarnished jersey. Neither team will look to give in here so this should be a bloody tough encounter.
The 36ers offence has been on a role and that has played a BIG, BIG part in their fine run of form. During their recent tough away win over the Hawks, 96-89, Trey Kell poured in 26PTS. Whilst prior to that Isaac Humphries had 25PTS and Kyrin Galloway produced a 23-piece meal in their sides 25-point away thrashing of the Phoenix. Everybody is strongly playing their role for the club and no one is hogging the ball cough cough their previously ill-fated import of this campaign. And because everybody is playing their part, that has meant the shots they’ve been taking have been a hell of a lot more effective too. Just to pinpoint one example, during their most recent dub over Illawarra the club converted over half of their attempted shots (53%), as well as hitting a very respectable 6/16 from beyond the arc, good for a 38% conversion rate. The hosts will look to bring the BANG in this Saturday afternoon delight.
As for Cairns the less said about their most recent performance versus Brisbane in the ‘Sunshine Stoush’ the better, even if you could classify what they tossed up as a quote unquote performance. They were pretty horrid as the Bullets exploited them for most of the Derby, as they ultimately prevailed in three out of the affairs four quarters. At the Cairns Convention Centre Bul Kuol was the hosts lone shining light, as the 2022 NBL Rookie of the Year scored 19PTS + 4REB + 2AST + 1STL. Now the versatile SG/SF will have a chance to get to work against an arguably questionable defence. Going 42.9% from three-point range this campaign, he’s certainly capable of hitting the open looks he’ll be given. But on 13.4PPG this campaign, an NBL career best for him, he’s also very skilled at converting closer to the rim as well. So unless the 36ers bigs can thwart him a bit, he’ll no doubt come to play.
As their history shows these two fierce rivals push each other to their absolute brinks. This as eight of their last 14 games have been decided by a meagre ten-points or less. For example who can forget their classic encounter of late 2022 when contesting each other in South Australia, a late Q4 surge from Adelaide, winning the period 23-12, saw them just edge out the affair by three-points, 78-75. Or perhaps a bit more recently when again, albeit at the start of last year and in Cairns, the 36ers beat the Taipans 99-96. Thanks in no small part to again their Q4 heroics, as they won the period 24-19. As 27PTS & 7REB from Antonius Cleveland got the job done for the road team. What thriller will we get to play witness to here you ask? Probably a damn fine one indeed.
Betting tips: Back a Cairns win at $2.20 and also back both teams to score 18+ PTS in Q1 at $1.22 (Bet365)
However you can look to Adelaide as the team who will have the highest scoring quarter at $1.90 (Bet365)
And pick Cairns to win Q1 as well at $2.00 (Bet365)