The following are previews with betting tips for selected fixtures in Round 9 of the 2023/24 NBL season.
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Cairns Taipans vs Brisbane Bullets
Friday December 01, 7:30pm
Cairns Convention Centre
As the affectionately nicknamed ‘Sunshine Stoush’ prepares to take place it does so with the very real knowledge that both the Taipans and the Bullets are just three wins and two triumphs respectively behind the second-placed Sydney Kings. When Brisbane last hosted Cairns it was a fiery affair that saw the visitors prevail by just three-points thanks in no small part to an impressive 21PTS & 5AST from Patrick Miller. And whilst things were very heated on the court, they were just as heated off it, as footage would soon emerge of Bullets Big Man Aaron Baynes and Taipans head coach Adam Forde ripping into it, with neither Men holding back. And now both sides reemerge from those entertainingly ghastly classics attempting to rejuvenate their campaigns. To the Taipans credit they have prevailed in six of their last eight games at home, whilst for the Bullets they have won three out of their last six affairs out on the open road. So the major question here is will the ‘venom’ sink through first, or will some ‘bullets’ wound and destroy that opportunity?
At the Cairns Convention Centre last round a last-second Jack McVeigh three curtailed Adam Forde’s troops as they went down 90-87. And despite their best efforts in Q2, 27-18 and Q3 23-19, it wasn’t enough to get the job done against one of this seasons Championship smokeys. However leading the way strongly was Patrick Miller who ended the game with 26PTS, including going 2/2 from beyond the arc. As he additionally secured 3REB, 4AST and 1STL. Tajhere McCall was also an incredibly dominant force as he shot 55.6% from the court to end up with 21PTS, 2REB, 4AST and 3STL. Bul Kuol also did his thing with 17PTS, 4REB and 1BLK. That whilst Taran Armstrong conjured up 8PTS and 7REB, while Lat Mayen scored 7PTS coming off the pine.
For Brisbane playing at Nissan Arena they did all the hard work only to be undone right at the end, as they went down to Perth 79-76. They won Q1 16-14 and Q3 20-18 as they held a slender lead heading into the fourth and final period, however unfortunately it wasn’t enough for them to get the job done. Chris Smith was a beast off the bench! As in 27:49-minutes of playing time he shot 10/15 from the floor en route to 23PTS. Whilst he also secured 4REB, 2AST, 2STL and 1BLK. Josh Bannan also worked his magic, going 7/13 for 17PTS. As he also had six-boards to his name. And Nathan Sobey also chipped in with 13PTS, 2REB and 1AST. Mitch Norton also dished out a handy 4AST.
Did you know that Nathan Sobey has scored 31 and 27PTS over the course of his last two appearances against the Taipans. No player has tallied up more points in a game this season against Cairns then that of what Sobey’s lowest points amount (27) has done.
History shows us a genuine disdain between these two arch-rivals and I’d expect nothing less come Friday night! The Taipans have also won 10 of the last 15 clashes that they’ve hosted against the Bullets. Those two factors combined mean we should probably be expecting an extremely spirited performance from Justin Schueller’s Men. They won’t want their season to be banged up anymore then what it already has been by Cairns. That given not only did they lose by three-points last time out versus Cairns, but as a result of the melee Aaron Baynes served a sizeable suspension. Now it’s time for revenge! If Nathan Sobey can continue his hot streak, alongside some influential play from Josh Bannan then that gets them part of the way. And another five-star Chris Smith performance should also do them plenty of favours! It’ll be far from easy but there’s absolutely no reason that they can’t get it done right here.
Betting tips: Pick a tightly contested Bullets dub at $2.00 (BlueBet)
And look for Q1 to belong to them as well at $1.94 (BlueBet)
Also look for the total points scored to be at 172+ at $1.90 (BlueBet)
Perth Wildcats vs Sydney Kings
Friday December 01, 9:30pm
There was a time when the Wildcats and Kings facing off against each other would be a must-view marquee matchup. Bryce Cotton would be all over Sydney, whilst the likes of Xavier Cooks and Jae’Sean Tate would be doing some serious damage inside, KOing all of the Perth defenders in their way. Since then this rivalry has taken a fair hit, majorly in part due to the decline of the Wildcats once five-star performances. But now they are well and truly up and running again! Sitting just a single win off the second-placed Kings, as the Wildcats now have in their possession a calm and cool 7-5 record on the campaign. ‘MR MVP’ Bryce Cotton is averaging over 20PPG, alongside 4APG and just under 2SPG. Whilst Keanu Pinder is blitzing things inside the arc with a magic 13.8PPG, alongside 6.8RPG and 1.8SPG. During the Kings last game alone DJ Hogg conjured up 20PTS on 7/13 shooting + 6REB, 1AST and 1STL. Whilst fellow Forward Alex Toohey went 3/5 for 10PTS + 4REB + 1BLK. There are just so, so, so many damned tantalising matchups and players on offer in this tasty affair. But above all else will it be super Point Guard Bryce Cotton who gets the fans at RAC Arena heading home happy, or opposing super Point Guard Jaylen Adams who ruins the vast majority of their evenings?
During the Wildcats latest clash they fought hard against the Bullets playing away at the Nissan Arena, as they proved triumphant 79-76. That being in no small part due to their Q4 efforts which saw them topple the period 29-points to 23. Bryce Cotton and Kristian Doolittle surged though the barriers with 25PTS and 21PTS respectively. That whilst Cotton also locked down 3/6 converted shots from deep alongside 7REB, 3AST, 3STL and 1BLK. Meanwhile for Doolittle he ironically ‘did a lot’ no pun intended with a 66.7% shooting range to his name + 9REB, 3AST and 1STL. And Hyrum Harris went 5/6 from the court with 14PTS and 6REB. Keanu Pinder also collected 10PTS and Alex Sarr had 2BLK off the pine.
For the Kings they were away in Melbourne against Melbourne and despite having a 15-point leaded headed into HT, they threw it all away as they eventually went down 105-93 much to the delight of the home supporters. That as they lost Q3 27-19 and Q4 40-21. However in one positive for Sydney Kouat Noi proved to be a menace off the bench with 12PTS, 5REB and 1BLK next to his name. Whilst Makuach Maluach went 3/4 from the floor en route to 6PTS. And of the starters DJ Hogg ended the affair with 20PTS, Denzel Valentine secured 19PTS, both of Alex Toohey and Jonah Bolden locked down a 10-piece meal. Whilst Jaylen Adams scored 9PTS. Valentine also had 6REB and 7AST, as he went 7/12 from the floor. And some of Bolden’s stats included nine-boards and 2BLK.
Did you know that Sydney have won five out of their last seven affairs against Perth. And four of those have come by significant margins of 13PTS, 21PTS, 22PTS and 15PTS (margins organised by most recent clash through to oldest clash). Interestingly enough in Perth’s most recent triumph over Sydney – 05.02.2023 @ RAC Arena, they possessed six of the games top nine scorers. Corey Webster w 24PTS, Luke Travers w 22pts, Brady Manek w 21PTS, TeShawn Thomas w 10PTS, Jesse Wagstaff w 10PTS and Bryce Cotton w 9PTS.
This matchup has the genuine potential to be game of the round. A win for Perth would basically see them jump from a play-in spot to dethroning the back-to-back Champions from second-position. And having won 13/16 games at home, there is a HIGH, HIGH chance that the Wildcats could ‘pounce’ and cause a real upset here, shaking the NBL ladder up significantly in the process. However don’t expect Sydney to bow down easy, as despite transitioning from the defence-minded Chase Buford to the more attacking-orientated Mahmoud Abdelfattah this campaign, there are still elements of toughness to the Kings that opposing teams becoming instantly weak in the knees at seeing. One of those is DJ Hogg, a Man who is still terrorising the league despite having returned to full fitness yet. This as he is producing 4DREB PG + 1.2SPG + 1.4BPG. Denzel Valentine, the former Chicago Bull isn’t afraid of flexing his stuff either, with the Dual-Guard on 1SPG, including averaging just over 2.2TOV PG. He rarely lets the ball out of his iron like grip, meaning opposing defences have to think of different ways to thwart Sydney. Those two, alongside Jaylen Adams could prove to be the difference in this one.
Betting tips: Pick a Sydney victory at $2.02 (Bet365)
Also look for both teams to score 18+ PTS in Q1 at $1.25 (Bet365)
And look for the Kings to reach 81+ PTS at $1.15 + for Perth to go 78+ at $1.071 (Bet365)