Your Expert NBL Tips

Our local basketball experts never lost their love for the NBL and will be on hand all season to share their exclusive NBL tips.

They will be previewing three games per round on the Betfair Hub.

We’re pleased to share that you’ll find all the primary NBL betting markets on the Betfair Exchange too. Go where the value is for your head to head, total and line bets this season.

A maximum bet will be 3 units.

Perth Wildcats v Sydney Kings

Friday March 13th, 9:35pm

Perth outscored Sydney 20-13 in the final quarter of Game 1 to record a come-from-behind win and they’re now in the driver’s seat in the series, having won homecourt advantage.

It’s essentially do-or-die for the Kings in this spot, with no team having ever come back from a 0-2 Finals deficit. Given that Perth have won 12 of their last 13 home Finals games, it’s fair to say the Wildcats have one hand on the trophy already.

From a betting standpoint, Perth are 4.5-point favourites for Friday night’s clash and I see that as value. The Wildcats have been on a roll and have consistently performed when it’s mattered most this post-season, while the Kings, on the back of some horrid Casper Ware performances, have been shaky throughout.

As mentioned earlier, Perth has a dominant home record in the Finals and they also have a dominant record against the number in the Finals. They’re 11-2 ATS in their last 13 home Finals games and when looking at Finals games both home and away, they’re 16-5 ATS.

On the flip side, Sydney are 0-6 against the line in their six Finals games played across the last two seasons and have performed terribly against Perth, covering the spread in one of their last seven encounters. They’re 3-11 ATS in Perth since the 2013-14 NBL season and it’s hard to see the Kings bucking these trends in their current form.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Perth -4.5 for 2 units

Sydney Kings v Melbourne United

Thursday March 4th, 7:35pm

Words will never truly reflect what Melbourne United did to the Sydney Kings in Game 2. The summary is that United went on a 38-0 scoring run and at one point, were leading by 58.

United have completely dominated the Kings for 7/8 quarters in this series and yet somehow, the score is 1-1. Casper Ware has looked lost for answers on how to get into his groove, Bogut has looked less mobile and somehow, Jae’sean Tate has been the clear standout player for them which probably isn’t what they were expecting at the pointy end of the year.

Melbourne United, on the other hand, have always matched up well against the Kings but I don’t think anyone expected what we are seeing. It’s the level of play that made them heavy favourites to win the championship before the season started.

So how do we even approach Game 3? The Kings lost two games all year at home and we are getting around the $1.80 mark for them to close out the series, at home. For me, you just have to attack the price on the better team.

A lot of this rests on Bogut. He’s the leader of this team and looked completely checked out from the very beginning of Game 2. Long has dominated him in every encounter they’ve had this season and if the Kings are any chance to win, he needs to lift. And I think he will.

The Kings have been the best team all season. I’m expecting them to be the group that’s gotten them to where they are right now in Game 3 and we’re getting a great price for them to advance to the finals. Anything above $1.70 is acceptable.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Sydney to Win for 3 units

Sydney Kings v Melbourne United

Saturday February 29th, 7:35pm

Sydney have been the benchmark all season, owning top spot on the ladder from Round 1 until the end of the season. Their form stayed strong all the way through ’til the end too, having won five of their last six games, but they take on their bogey team of old, Melbourne United, in the semi-finals in what will be an intriguing series.

Melbourne’s season has seen plenty of highs and lows but, nonetheless, they made the Finals and I think they’re being underrated by the market as we head into Game 1. United won their last three games of the season by an average of 19 points and really seemed to click, recording the highest net rating in the league (17.5) across their last four games, per SpatialJam.

Going back to the aforementioned statement of United being Sydney’s bogey team, while it may not ring true this season, the Kings have struggled massively against their Melbourne counterparts in years gone by. Melbourne have won and covered the line in 10 of the teams’ last 13 meetings and four of the last six in the Harbour City.

A large reason for Sydney’s 3-1 record over Melbourne this season has been Casper Ware’s monster performances against his old team, averaging 29/5/3 on 53% FG and 49% 3P – well above his season averages of 19/4/2 on 38%/30% shooting splits. To bet on these explosions to continue against an improved United defence, in the semi-finals no less, wouldn’t be my go.

Betting against a Ware explosion is essentially betting against a comfortable Sydney win, and that’s what I’ll be doing for Saturday’s game. Take Melbourne to cover the line in Game 1.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Melbourne +5.5 for 2 units

Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans

Friday February 28th, 9:35pm

The Taipans come into this with some incredibly weird form. After winning 9/10 since 2018, they lost their last two games to United by 16 and then the Bullets by a ridiculous 36 points. They turned the ball over 44 times combined in their last two games which is ludicrous. They have plenty to fix leading into this series.

They had already secured their playoff spot by that point but such an alarming drop off is a cause for concern coming up against Perth who will be at their very best in Game 1.

You’ve just got to marvel at how well the Wildcats operate their team. They’ve cruised all season, winning their last 6/7 to secure home-court advantage for this series. This is what they’re built for and it’s going to take a mighty effort for the Taipans to advance.

The Wildcats have covered their last 16/19 when they win at home and I’m not sure how the Taipans are going to cope being thrown straight into the fire.

I’m expecting Cairns to be competitive in this series and without any intel on what the odds might be, the Taipans I’m sure will be a good betting opportunity in Game 2.

I certainly wouldn’t be shocked to see this series go the full three games either. But Perth Arena is going to be rocking here in Game 1 and the Wildcats will be keen to kick off their title defence on the right note so the handicap is the right play.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Wildcats -5.5 for 2 units

New Zealand Breakers v SE Melbourne Phoenix

Friday February 14th, 5:35pm

I’m sure you’ve all gone over the different scenarios where teams can sit by the end of this round but there won’t be anyone who has gone over it more than the Breakers who can potentially make the playoffs even if they lose this game!

They’ll know a lot after the game above takes place but no matter that result, I’m expecting the Breakers to come out red hot in this one and put the Phoenix away.

It’s been about a pass mark for the Phoenix in their first season but the fatigue has clearly settled in. They haven’t won a game in over a month and the only team they’ve beaten in their last 12 is the Hawks who have been cast all season.

The Phoenix will be keen to give their fans a good showing on Sunday against United and I can’t see them being ready for how fired up the Breakers will be here.

The Breakers have covered in 12 of their last 13 games. With the home crowd behind them, playoffs on the line and no Creek to help steady the Phoenix them throughout the game, I can’t see this game being close.

The line was appealing at -7.5 before the Mitch Creek news so I’m happy to take -9.5 without him. The Breakers playoff destiny isn’t totally in their hands here but they’ll do everything they can to give themselves the best chance.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Breakers -9.5 for 2 units

Melbourne United v Cairns Taipans

Thursday February 13th, 7:35pm

It’s essentially do-or-die for United as they take on Cairns on Thursday and then SEM on Sunday. They’ve found some decent form of late, having won two of their last three, including a convincing win over Perth. Cairns, however, will present a stern challenge, having won nine of their last 10, including an upset win over United on Boxing Day.

Given how well the Snakes have played of late and how much is on the line for Melbourne, I’m happy to stay away from any H2H/handicap betting, with the over being the bet that appeals to me.

The Taipans own the league’s second-best offence in 2020, per SpatialJam, and have also ramped up the pace in the new year, sitting in third for that metric since 1 January, seeing an average of 182 total points per game in that window.

As for United, they haven’t been firing on all cylinders for a while now but we’ve seen plenty of high-scoring games played at Melbourne Arena this season. The average total points there this season is 186 points, and that’s including the two open-air games that saw just 152 and 144 points.

The over is 8-5 in United’s home games in NBL20 and I’m forecasting this one to go over what is a relatively low line.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 175.5 for 2 units

Perth Wildcats v Brisbane Bullets

Sunday February 9th, 5:00pm

This could be a potential playoff matchup in a few weeks. While I think these two going at it in a three-game series would be great viewing, I think this one will be a little more one-sided.

The Bullets are on the biggest hot streak we’ve seen this season. They’ve won seven of their last eight and they’ve covered in all of them. They’ve had a 12.3 Net Rating in 2020 via Spatialjam which is just outrageous and if you were to draw up how the Bullets would look at their peak, this is exactly it.

I’m predicting a fair bit of regression here when they roll into Perth. They’ll come off what is expected to be a pretty difficult game against NZ, then fly across the country to play a well-rested Wildcats side who are playing pretty well themselves, in under 40 hours.

The Bullets have won 2/3 when they’ve played this year but they game they did lose was in Perth. I’m expecting the short turn around to be too much for them and considering the line is only two baskets, I’m happy to stick with the home side.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Wildcats -4.5 for 2 units

Illawarra Hawks v Melbourne United

Saturday February 8th, 5:35pm

Illawarra are a mess and are in line for another hiding again this week as they come up against a Melbourne United side that’s fighting for a playoff spot.

The Hawks’ current run of defeats stands at seven games, having lost those seven games by an average of nearly 19 points – and that’s including last week’s game that was called off with over a quarter remaining when trailing 52-65.

Even at home they’ve been no good, having lost five straight by an average of almost 16 points, with just one of those losses coming by less than 13 points. They’re an amazingly bad 2-13 against the number in their last 15 home games.

United haven’t been all that flash themselves, having covered the line in just one of their last five games, but I think the gulf in class is huge between these teams.

We saw just last week how good United can be when they’re switched on when they toppled Perth. They have a favourable record against the Hawks, having covered the line in four of their last five encounters, and their last three meetings have been United wins by 24, 21 and 13 points. Another big win is on the cards here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne -12.5 for 1 unit

Illawarra Hawks v NZ Breakers

Sunday February 2nd, 3:00pm

The Hawks’ season is well and truly written off and should the Breakers lose to Adelaide on Friday, their playoff hopes will also be in the dumps.

With Friday’s game having such big playoff implications, I’m happy to stay away from the H2H/handicap markets in this one, instead looking towards the under.

New Zealand have flipped their game under Dan Shamir, owning the second slowest pace in the league across the season and the outright slowest over the past 30 days, according to SpatialJam. Adding to that, the Breakers’ six games that they have played in 2020 have seen an average of just 170 points and 11 of their last 12 games have gone under the total points line.

Illawarra are about league average in pace but have really been struggling to score, dropping an average of 81 points in their five games played this year, recording a meagre 103.2 offensive rating in that timeframe.

Eight of Illawarra’s last 11 home games have seen the under cash and I’ll be surprised to see more than 180 points scored on Sunday arvo.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 180.5 for 3 units

Adelaide 36ers v SE Melbourne Phoenix

Sunday February 2nd, 5:05pm

Happy to just keep taking on the Phoenix here with another number that just looks far to low.

Regular readers will have noticed the trend to fade teams when playing twice in quick succession against a team only playing once but Adelaide are in a situation where they need maximum effort here and I expect Joey Wright to get it out of them.

It’s make or break for Adelaide this weekend and no matter what happens in NZ on Friday, this is one they’ll want to bank to stay alive in the playoff hunt.

The Phoenix have covered just once in their last seven on the road. There’s no reason, just like the last few weeks where we have taken them on, to not be against them here again. Due to potential fatigue from the game they have against NZ on Friday, we’ll adjust staking just slightly but the confidence is still high for this play.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 36ers -4.5 for 2 units

Brisbane Bullets v SE Melbourne Phoenix

Thursday January 23rd, 7:30pm

It’s pretty hard to understand after everything that we’ve seen (and mentioned last week) why the line for this game is what it is.

The Phoenix were obliterated by 26 and 17 points last week and they remain on the road here against a Bullets team who have been given a huge opportunity thanks to Melbourne United of making the playoffs.

Brisbane are in great form currently, winning six of their last eight and their last three in a row. If you take away the miracle NZ win and Cairns only winning by two points, they’ve played two months of very solid basketball having the second-best offence and the second-best net rating since mid-December.

The Phoenix are barely hanging on to finish this season off and with the Bullets still a great chance to make the playoffs, they’ll be too good here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bullets -5.5 for 3 units

NZ Breakers v Sydney Kings

Friday January 17th, 5:35pm

It’s now desperation time for the Breakers who, after a pair of losses last week, cannot afford to drop another game if they want to keep pace with their fellow playoff aspirants.

In their way are the table-topping Kings who have won two straight. They’ve rediscovered their defensive prowess, which appeared to have left them for much of December, recording a 109.5 defensive rating in their past six games – good enough for second-best in the league in that span.

Conversely, the Breakers have recorded the second-best offence in the league in that same timeframe, though they’ve slowed their game right down, comfortably owning the slowest pace in the NBL over the last 30 days, which has me looking at the under.

Sydney’s last three games have gone under the total and have averaged just 169 points, while a whopping eight of New Zealand’s last nine games have hit the under.

Kings road games have seen an average of only 174 points in NBL20 and the under is 7-3 in those 10 matches. Looking at NZ’s 10 NBL20 home games, they are averaging 176 points with an 80% strike-rate on the under.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 178.5 for 2 units

Perth Wildcats v SE Melbourne Phoenix

Friday January 17th, 9:30pm

This is the second time this season where the Wildcats have gone nearly a month without playing at home and back in front of their home fans, the line looks a great play in this one.

The Phoenix have only won three of their last nine games. In those three wins, two of them have been against the Hawks and the other was a miracle victory against the Taipans where they forced OT.

They’ve been the worst defensive team in the league during this span and i don’t see how they can trouble the Wildcats in this one. I am interested to see how Devondrick Walker will go with Perth still adjusting in the frontcourt but I doubt he has a big enough impact to make things interesting.

The line of 6.5 is shorter than I had it originally and I expect the Wildcats as they have been twice this year to be too good for the Phoenix in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Perth -6.5 for 3 units

NZ Breakers v Melbourne United

Sunday January 19th, 3:00pm

It’s a good weekend to be a NZ Basketball fan! The Kings and United both rolling into town will provide major entertainment for the fans down there who deserve a good showing from their team. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll get it here.

Melbourne United find themselves on the verge of being out of the playoffs and there aren’t many teams going worse than them at the moment. They’ve won their last 4/8 but two of those were against the Hawks. They’ve looked out of rhythm, out of sync and almost sick of playing with each other.

Because of all of this, I’m backing them to turn it around starting this weekend against the Breakers. They’ll be primed for the picking after their slog against the Kings on Friday and they match up well across the board against them

The reality is this. There are 7 games left for United including the Kings, Wildcats, Taipans and the Bullets. If they don’t win this, they’re just about done for the season bar some major turnaround in form.

Usually, in these previews, there’s stats, analysis, trends and plenty of data to support the picks each week but there’s none of that here. United simply have to win this game. And they will.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne United to Win above $1.90 for 2 units

Sydney Kings v Cairns Taipans

Saturday January 11th, 5:35pm

On the surface, it’s hard to know what’s happening with the Kings. They’ve lost three of their last five to the Hawks, Bullets and the Wildcats. It’s even more confusing when you factor in between those losses, they’ve had dominant wins against the 36ers and the Phoenix and it’s reflected in the market here.

They’ve played twice this year, having a win apiece. The most recent was a fast-paced game where the Taipans shot the lights out from three-point line. The difference this time will be the fatigue factor.

The Taipans will come into this game having played the Breakers under 48 hours prior, who are in red hot form themselves winning their last five in a row. That’ll be a grind and to back that up against a well-rested Sydney team is a big ask here.

With the Taipans having such a short turnaround and the Kings losing their grip on the top spot, I’m confident that the Kings will come out swinging in this one and put them away.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Kings -3.5 for 3 units

Adelaide 36ers v Melbourne United

Saturday January 11th, 8:05pm

This is another crucial matchup in terms of both side’s top four aspirations. Adelaide sit on the cusp of a playoff spot at 10-11, while Melbourne’s 11-9 record has them at third on the ladder.

Melbourne have struggled of late, recording one win from their last three games. While they have won their last three on the road, two of those wins were against Illawarra, irrefutably the worst team in the league, and United’s league-worst 112.7 offensive rating over the last 30 days, per SpatialJam, speaks volumes about the dropoff they’ve suffered.

While Adelaide won’t offer a heap of resistance on the defensive end, they’ve won four of their last six at home and have a great record covering as home underdogs, going 6-3 against the spread in their last nine such matches.

Four of the last five home underdogs of 2.5 points or less in NBL20 have not only covered the line but also won those matches and Adelaide are every chance of covering the number here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Adelaide +2.5 for 2 units

Adelaide 36ers v Illawarra Hawks

Monday January 6th, 7:35pm

Adelaide should be too good for this shaky Illawarra side, but given how up-and-down both sides have been in recent weeks, like the previous game, I’m looking more at the Total Points market for a bet in this one.

The 36ers again had the highest pace in the league for the month of December and have picked up a knack of posting high-scoring affairs in home matches, with seven of nine in the City of Churches this season going over the total.

Those games are averaging a touch over 198 points and while Illawarra’s road average is significantly lower at 187 points, I still feel they’ll be able to contribute enough points and play at a decent enough pace for this over to hit.

The last 12 matches between these teams have seen an average of almost 195 points, with the over hitting in seven of which, and a score of anything in that ballpark will see the over comfortably cash on Monday night.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 188.5 for 2 units

Cairns Taipans v Brisbane Bullets

Friday January 3rd, 7:35pm

Cairns and Brisbane both come into this encounter off wins but it’s fair to say that the Taipans are the form side of the two after going 5-2 in December.

It makes sense, then, that they are favourites going into this encounter but I am more intrigued by the Total Points market. These two sides sit about mid-table in terms of pace over the past month but the current total of 182.5 is somewhat lower than what we’ve been seeing in recent weeks across the NBL.

While Cairns’ last three games have hit the under, I think it’s important to look at them with a bit wider of a scope. Their last three games have seen an average of 186 points and Brisbane had three games in the month of December that exceeded 190 points.

Five of Brisbane’s last seven games in north Queensland have gone over the total and I’m happy to bet on that to happen again with a relatively low line on offer.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 182.5 for 1 unit

Brisbane Bullets v NZ Breakers

Friday December 27th, 7:30pm

The Bullets have enjoyed their light schedule over the last month and coming off their win against the Kings, they’ll be raring to go here against the Breakers.

NZ is still going to be challenged offensively and if they do somehow control the tempo, the Bullets can just as easily put up triple figures themselves.

They were lucky to get away with the victory against the Phoenix but I can’t see them getting past the Bullets on the road here. Happy to be with the home side.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bullets -3.5 for 2 units

Melbourne United v Cairns Taipans

Thursday December 26th, 7:30pm

The Taipans come into this game full of confidence after beating United last time out but I like the home side to inflict some revenge in this one.

United have got their perimeter defence back in sync after their back to back road wins, restricting Perth and the Hawks to 73 and 74. On the road, I don’t see the Taipans scoring enough to keep up here.

The line is pretty small here considering how dominant United are at home. They’ve covered their last 4/6 at Melbourne Arena and back in front of their home crowd, they should be too strong.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – United -4.5 for 2 units

Sydney Kings v SEM Phoenix

Monday December 23rd, 7:35pm

Forgive me for making favourites the theme of the week but Sydney are too good to resist here.

After a wee blip in their season a fortnight ago, during which they lost consecutive games, the Kings went to Melbourne last week and put United to the sword, reminding the league just why they are strong title favourites.

As mentioned, I like SEM’s chances on Friday night but they face a considerable step up in quality of opposition on Monday and they have to travel back to Sydney from Christchurch before taking on the league’s most dominant side just three days after.

The Kings have been strong at home this season with a points differential of +65 through seven games at Qudos Bank Arena. Also worth noting is the fact that the Kings were cruising, up 18 points at halftime when these sides clashed earlier this season at Melbourne Arena before a nuts John Roberson third quarter brought SEM back into the game.

Sydney went on to win that game by just four points but, even after last week’s 4Q/OT heroics, I’m happy to bet against a Roberson explosion. That’s the only way I see the Phoenix keeping this game remotely close at one of the league’s toughest venues.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sydney -6.5 for 2 units

NZ Breakers v SEM Phoenix

Friday December 20th, 5:35pm

I wanted to believe in the Breakers this season but their intentions are very clear after deciding to let Corey Webster play the rest of the season in China.

The last time these two played, it was a blowout in the second half. The Breakers only scored 78 points total and Rice + Webster accounted for 41 of them.

The Phoenix have been doing very well and I love their mentality of never feeling like they are out of the game. They’ll thrive against the Breakers who have no strong matchup for any of their perimeter players.

One thing to look for early is how often the Breakers foul. The Phoenix are not shy about attacking the rim and if the Breakers continue to concede the amount of FT’s they do (2nd most in the league while attempting the least themselves), then it’s going to be very hard for them to hang around in the game.

This will be the first time the Phoenix will play in NZ so the environment could cause some easy turnovers but they simply are just the far better team here and they’re worthy of a max bet.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – SEM Phoenix to Win at anything above $1.80 for 3 units

Adelaide 36ers v Illawarra Hawks

Friday December 20th, 8:00pm

Adelaide come into this one as one of the form teams in the NBL with four wins in their last five games and against a dismal Illawarra side with two new internationals who look well below NBL import level, I’m confident in the 36ers.

Illawarra are 1-4 in their last five games and come into this clash on a three-game loss streak, with an average deficit of 14 points across those three games. Billy Preston and Darington Hobson looked the least bit interested on both ends of the court at home against Melbourne last week and I have serious doubts about how they’re going to perform in Adelaide where the 36ers have won four of their last six.

Jerome Randle is very close to his old MVP self. He’s going to terrorise the Hawks’ backcourt and the likes of Daniel Johnson and Eric Griffin will prove to be too much for Illawarra to handle in the front court.

Per SpatialJam, Illawarra have a woeful -19.8 net rating in the two games they’ve played without LaMelo Ball. Add that to the fact that they’ve covered the line in just two of their last eight outings in the City of Churches and I expect this matchup to be a bit of a bloodbath.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Adelaide -8.5 for 3 units

Illawarra Hawks v Melbourne United

Monday December 16th, 7:35pm

Melbourne just get one day between hosting Sydney and playing against Illawarra in Woollongong. However, that hasn’t stopped the Exchange from installing United as big favourites for the encounter, with Melbourne’s handicap currently at 7.5 points.

Illawarra will be without LaMelo Ball until at least the new year but it’s not all doom and gloom for the Hawks, with two new signings, Darington Hobson and Billy Preston, arriving in the country during the week to bolster the team’s depth.

Ball has probably been the most influential player on Illawarra’s roster this season but I feel the market is overreacting in his absence here. Melbourne will pour everything they have into their matchup with Sydney on Saturday and being such big road favourites puts United in a dangerous spot.

In the last four seasons they’ve been road favourites of 5+ points three times and have failed to cover the spread on all of those occasions while losing two of the three games outright.

Illawarra, on the other hand, have been home dogs of 5+ points just three times since the 2014/15 season. They’ve covered the line in two of those three games, including against Melbourne last season.

I fully expect a Melbourne win to finish the round but the Hawks are more than capable of keeping this one close.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Illawarra +7.5 for 2 units

NZ Breakers v Adelaide 36ers

Sunday December 15th, 3:00pm

You’ve probably seen the common theme here but teams just can not back up if they have to play their 2nd game of the weekend in NZ. It’s happening again this weekend and NZ looks a good bet once again.

RJ Hampton is sidelined for at least a month but Henry and Weeks are more than capable of picking up the slack handling the ball. Webster and Hopson looked very good in their return and this NZ team should cause all sorts of problems for the 36ers on both ends.

In their previous matchup, it was the bigs that caused NZ problems in Griffin and DJ. Injuries and foul trouble forced Abercrombie to play big minutes at centre when they lost by 17. However, Adelaide only blew them away for one quarter and for the game, they shot 62% from the field which is just ridiculous.

They’ve won four of their last six at home and now the schedule is starting to even out, we’re seeing the best of them. At only -3.5, the Breakers are the bet here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Breakers -3.5 for 2 units

Cairns Taipans v Perth Wildcats

Thursday December 12th, 7:30pm

The over has been money in Cairns games this season and with the total hovering around the high 170s for Thursday night’s game, I’m happy to back it again.

10 of the last 12 Taipans games have gone over the total, with those 12 games averaging almost 188 points. Only one of their last eight games have seen less than 178 points and while they will be coming up against one of the league’s better defences, I still expect the Taipans to score their fair share of points.

However, the over isn’t just a Cairns trend. Six of Perth’s last nine games away from home have gone over the total and their last three road games have seen an average of almost 192 points as they’ve played at a considerably higher pace in recent games.

Both offences are ticking at the moment with Perth and Cairns owning 123.7 and 127.1 offensive ratings respectively in their last three games, per SpatialJam. All of that has me happy to take the over on Thursday.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 177.5 for 1 unit

NZ Breakers v Brisbane Bullets

Monday December 9th, 5:30pm

It’s an incredibly short backup for the Bullets in this matchup where after playing Illawarra, they’ll travel to face the Breakers in just over 40 hours.

The Breakers left both Webster and Hopson at home instead of taking them to Cairns which can only be taken as a sign that they want them cherry ripe for this game. Throw them both back in with Rob Loe as well and the Breakers are now loaded with talent.

As mentioned in the selection above, the Bullets have figured out how to get their offence humming but with fatigue playing a factor here and no strong matchup for RJ Hampton, I can’t see the tempo being dictated at all by Brisbane.

Since returning to the NBL, the Bullets have played in NZ six times and have beaten them once. I’ve got little confidence that the Bullets can head over the ditch to get a result here and with the line being only a basket, the Breakers look a good bet.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Breakers -2.5 for 1 unit

Perth Wildcats v Sydney Kings

Friday December 6th, 9:30pm

The market opened up with the Kings as 2.5 point underdogs and that got snapped up very quickly but I think it may have overreacted too much.

Perth’s performance against the 36ers was deplorable but the last quarter was encouraging, showing their offensive capabilities when they knuckle down. They’ll always generate good shots but their ability to make them is what has been letting them down.

The Kings have been near flawless this year and with their new signing of Xavier Cooks, look near impossible to stop. However, they have been scratchy on the road, just getting over the line against Cairns, Adelaide and the Phoenix.

If they start slowly, the Wildcats might just build a lead too great for them to grind back. There are no arguments here that the Kings should be the favourites and are the better side but Perth have been home underdogs just twice in the last seven seasons and they have won both of those games.

Sydney has won once in their last 12 attempts in Perth. For a small stake, I like the Wildcats to bounce back here from a horrendous display against Adelaide and bring the Kings back down to earth.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Perth to win at $2.20 or above for 1 unit.

Brisbane Bullets v Illawarra Hawks

Saturday December 7th, 8:05pm

It’s been an ugly past few weeks for both of these teams with just three wins in their last 10 games collectively.

At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether new Illawarra signing Darington Hobson will make his debut on Saturday, but, either way, this game looks like one destined for the over.

The Bullets have really ramped up their scoring in recent games as EJ Singler has joined the starting lineup, averaging a touch over 98 points in their last three games.

All of their last five games have gone over the total and their last three games have averaged a whopping 205.7 points. Against an Illawarra team who won’t be making a heap of stops and who won’t be shy of pushing the ball themselves, the Bullets are in line to partake in another high scoring fixture.

The last four matches in Brisbane between these teams have hit the over with 185+ points being scored in all of which. Take the over here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 181.5 for 2 units.

Perth Wildcats v Adelaide 36ers

Sunday December 1st, 5:00pm

Perth fell short in Cairns last weekend but find themselves in a good spot to bounce back at home against a shaky Adelaide outfit.

The Sixers went 1-1 last week, falling short in Brisbane before dominating the Breakers at home. Many were impressed by what they did to the kiwi franchise but taking on the Wildcats in Perth is a massive step up.

Perth’s record against the spread has been well documented in this series of previews and here’s another update – they’re 7-4 ATS, 18-6 ATS in their last 24 games and 11-2 ATS in their last 13 home games.

They’re currently favoured by 6.5 points on Sunday but even at a relatively big line, I’m happy to side with Trevor Gleeson’s men. They’ve covered the line in six of their last nine games at home when favoured by 6+ and Adelaide have found life tough in Perth, failing to cover the spread in four of their last five visits there.

All of the data outlined above paints the picture for an easy Wildcats win and the likely return of Terrico White has me confident they can cover the spread again.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Perth -6.5 for 2 units.

NZ Breakers v Illawarra Hawks

Saturday November 30th, 5:35pm

I reckon the Hawks would’ve picked up a fair few fans in the last week after LaMelo Ball put on a show, leading them to victory in OT over the Taipans. Unfortunately, they’re about to crash back down to earth really quickly.

The Breakers are finally back at home for the first time in three weeks. Corey Webster is doubtful at the time of writing but Scotty Hopson is back, providing them with a big boost to their offence.

Both of these teams are pretty even for O and D metrics but the difference maker is the road factor. The Hawks have been terrible on the road this season and historically, have been even worse over the ditch, losing their last three in NZ by an average of 27 points.

The Breakers are a great bet here. With or without Webster, they’re far better than the Hawks who were bailed out by the brilliance of Ball to get their third win of the season.

Even though NZ is leaving their run late to push for the top 4, this will be the game to get them back on the right track.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – NZ Breakers -3.5 at anything above $1.70 for 3 units.

Illawarra Hawks v Cairns Taipans

Monday November 25th, 7:35pm

Illawarra have just two wins this season, though both of those wins have come against Cairns. That has the Hawks as favourites in this matchup but I’m really not sure that they deserve it.

Cairns do have to back-up from a Saturday night fixture with Perth but playing twice in one round hasn’t worried them much so far this season, covering the spread on both occasions and winning outright in one of them.

The advanced stats also suggest that there is quite the gap in quality between these two sides. Per SpatialJam, Illawarra are by far the worst team in the league with a -11.4 net rating, while Cairns sit comfortably above them at -1.4.

The Hawks are yet to cover the line at home this season and, in fact, have failed to do so in their last six home games. They’ve covered the spread just once in the last three games that they’ve hosted Cairns.

The Taipans, on the other hand, have gone 5-2 ATS in their last seven on the road and are a good shout to cover again. When the line is as small as 1.5 points, I’d generally be tipping the H2H market but with two of the last four games between these teams being decided by just one point, I’m going with Cairns +1.5.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Cairns +1.5 for 2 units.

SEM Phoenix v Sydney Kings

Saturday November 23rd, 5:35pm

Yet another home game for South East Melbourne but I can’t see this one being a win for them. The Exchange has this one as a tight affair, with Sydney as 2.5-point favourites, but Sydney are a far superior team in my eyes.

Per SpatialJam, the Kings own an 11.4 net rating – by far the best in the league – while SEM are just above average at 0.8. While things will balance out somewhat due to the Phoenix’s home advantage, I still can’t see SEM getting within three points of the table-topping Kings.

SEM have won just one of their last three at home, with those two losses both coming by 12 points. They failed to cover in those two losses and Sydney have been a good road team for quite some time, going 9-6 ATS in their last 15 games away from home.

Sydney have covered the spread in three of their last four games as road favourites and their defence could cause real issues for SEM. The Kings will keep on rolling, and they’ll do it with some style.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sydney -2.5 for 1 unit.

Melbourne United v Brisbane Bullets

Sunday November 24th, 3:00pm

Did anyone really doubt that Melbourne would eventually figure it out? United have won five in a row and the offence is absolutely humming, averaging 105 points in this current streak and I can’t see that being stopped here.

Brisbane, on the other hand, continue to have the same struggles as last year. They can’t score and their defence isn’t good enough to keep them hanging around in games. They are just sitting one game outside the top four, but from four of their wins, three of them have come against the Hawks and Taipans.

The Bullets have performed well against Melbourne, winning their last three games against them but United just have far too much scoring power here. Their form just doesn’t hold up for the line to be what it is, especially on the road.

Off the short back up after a likely tough game against the 36ers, United at the line is the best play.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne United -7.5 for 2 units.

SE Melbourne Phoenix v Adelaide 36ers

Monday November 18th, 7:35pm

These two played three weeks ago in Melbourne. The Phoenix won by 10 and yet we get the same line with Adelaide coming off playing Perth and the Phoenix getting another big break?

It’s no secret that SE has had a very favourable draw to start the season, playing six of their first seven in Melbourne and we’ll learn more about them as the fixture starts to become more ruthless, more than likely betting against them.

Adelaide hasn’t been poor as of late but they’ve shown no sign they’ve got the talent to get over the top of the big teams and will hover around midtable all year. They haven’t covered in three of their last four. Coming off a battle against Perth on Friday, I don’t see them backing up well here.

Happy to stick with the Phoenix here to cover the line and to continue their good start to the season at home.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – SEM Phoenix -5.5 for 1 unit.

Perth Wildcats v NZ Breakers

Sunday November 17th, 5:05pm

It’s been a tough start to the season for the Breakers. They’ve played the Kings twice, United twice and for their ninth game of NBL 20, this will be the 2nd time they play Perth.

They’ve been competitive during games, especially to start them but how they’ve been finishing them has been the problem. Via NBL Facts, the stats are damning on the Breakers in second halves, just falling away when the opposition turns up the heat.

Glen Rice has been a terrific addition to the team with Hopson out with injury and they’ll turn it around in the wins column as the season goes on but I’m keen to take them on again here.

The Wildcats will be desperate to get back to Perth Arena for the first time in three weeks. They’ve been good without being great (i still don’t trust them in the title race) and their performance against the Kings probably showed the gap they need to make up.

However, Perth has covered 16 of their last 21 at home and they’re always a good bet when they’re playing at home. The inexperience of NZ and no matchup for Cotton should make this comfortable for the defending champs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Perth Wildcats -7.5 for 1 unit.

Melbourne United v SEM Phoenix

Saturday November 16th, 5:35pm

Melbourne have won four on the bounce and are finally living up to their preseason expectations. Their 109-90 demolition of Adelaide on Sunday sent a warning to the rest of the league and I fear South East will be in for a big loss on Saturday night.

The Phoenix put the sword to the Breakers last weekend but not much can be taken from that as the Breakers were without both of their point guards, RJ Hampton and Jarrad Weeks.

Melbourne beat the Phoenix by 12 points just two weeks ago and have covered the spread in four straight games. Tai Wesley is still absent for SEM, meaning the Phoenix will again have no answer for Shawn Long down low.

United are 3-0 ATS in their last three games at Melbourne Arena and with Casey Prather expected to be back playing more minutes, there’s a good chance we see another comfortable win for Dean Vickerman’s men.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne United -5.5 for 2 units.

Cairns Taipans v Brisbane Bullets

Saturday November 16th, 8:05pm

Brisbane are just one spot out of the top four but a loss here would be devastating as they take on the 2-6 Taipans.

Cairns, however, have been better than their record suggests with a -3.0 net rating, per SpatialJam, so a win at the Snake Pit is no guarantee for the Bullets.

The best bet in this one is the under. These sides own the second and third lowest pace in the NBL and also hold their opposition to the second and third lowest pace in the league. Tie that in with the fact that Brisbane are about average on offence and Cairns are below par, and the under looks enticing.

Three of the Taipans’ last four games at home have gone under the total, as have five of Brisbane’s last seven on the road. The last four games between these sides in North Queensland averaged just 162 points – well under what the line is currently at.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 175.5 for 1 unit.

SE Melbourne Phoenix v NZ Breakers

Saturday November 9th, 5:30pm

It doesn’t get any easier for the Breakers, taking on the Phoenix 48 hours after their clash with United and they look a good spot to take on again here.

The Phoenix have struggled this season against teams with a strong inside presence and the Breakers don’t have that. Brandon Ashley has been great for the Breakers but he’s not the dominant inside presence that could punish the Phoenix how Shawn Long did last week.

With NZ coming off a short break, South East should be able to take care of business here at home with too much scoring power and cover the line.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – SEM Phoenix -4.5 for 1 unit.

Cairns Taipans v Illawarra Hawks

Saturday November 9th, 8:00pm

Since the Hawks defeated the Taipans to get their first win, it’s been a complete turnaround for Cairns.

They’ve won 2 of their last four but were very competitive in their two losses, finding a strong 8 man rotation that they’ve stuck with during games. It’s a credit to Mike Kelly for finding that balance in his lineup because early days, it looked very grim for the season ahead.

It’s been the opposite for the Hawks. A season filled with so much optimism has turned into a disaster which not even LaMelo Ball can salvage.

Illawarra has played three games on the road this season, losing by 27, 4 and 31. They still don’t have a replacement in site for Brooks and with rumours swirling LaMelo might be leaving sooner than expected, the mood isn’t good at Illawarra. I don’t see them turning things around here in the snakepit.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Taipans -6.5 for 2 units.

NZ Breakers v Melbourne United

Thursday November 7th, 5:30pm

Melbourne United reminded the NBL of their status as genuine title contenders with two big results last week, thrashing the Phoenix before recording a come-from-behind win against the previously unbeaten Kings.

It’s a quick turnaround for United before their next game, taking on the Breakers on Thursday night, but they receive one of the biggest boosts possible with Casey Prather set to make his season debut.

The Breakers may also be fielding a new import with Glen Rice a chance to suit up, though even if he does, the fact that he’s due to arrive in the country on Wednesday afternoon will likely lead to a lacklustre performance from the former NBA guard.

Neither side has a winning record going into this game but United are undeniably in better form with three wins from their last four games and their record in New Zealand speaks for itself. They have won four straight across the ditch by an average of almost 12 points.

The Breakers have lost their last four games as home underdogs and haven’t covered the spread in any of them which makes me pretty confident that Melbourne will get the job done to kick off round six.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne to Win at $1.77 for 2 units.

Melbourne United v Sydney Kings

Monday November 4th, 7:30pm

What has Melbourne United achieved so far this season to deserve favouritism in this game?

They’ve certainly been the surprise story so far this season, getting off to a poor 1-4 start. They’ve missed key players in those games but poor execution in 4th quarters with a stagnant offence has been their undoing.

Dean Vickerman has looked clueless as to how he can get them going again and they’re lucky to not be 0-5 after NZ threw their lead away last week at Melbourne Arena.

Defensively, the Kings are light years ahead here, allowing the lowest FG%, FTA and Points per game in the competition. They’re just as deep off the bench and they have great matchups for United’s key scoring trio of Long, Goulding and Trimble.

At this stage, it’s unclear whether Casey Prather will play which would significantly change the way this plays out but even if he does, he won’t be at his damaging best for his first game back and it makes the Kings the right play for this one.

The price available here on the Kings, regardless of whether Prather plays, is very surprising. Happy to side with the team who is undefeated and look together as a unit, compared to the one who is struggling in all areas of their game.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sydney to Win at $2.05 for 2 units.

Brisbane Bullets v Perth Wildcats

Friday November 1st, 7:30pm

For two teams both averaging over 90 points a game so far this season, the total looks a little low here.

The new age of the NBL has seen scoring up, 3PA up and every team wanting to play with pace if possible. For the number of offensive weapons both of these teams have, I’m surprised it sits at 173.

9 of the last 14 that the Bullets have played at home has gone over and the Wildcats this season have gone over in five of their six games.

The Bullets need to get their season back on track and Perth despite being 5-1, haven’t fully convinced me yet of their quality. The over looks a good play in a game I’m expecting to be close.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 173.5 for 2 units.

SEM Phoenix v Melbourne United

Saturday November 2nd, 5:35pm

Melbourne are desperate for a win after a 1-4 start to the season but they’ve got a tough task in front of them as they take on the Phoenix on Saturday. SEM toppled United 91-88 in the season opener and a similar result can’t be written off this weekend, as is the case for the over.

The aforementioned Round 1 clash went over the total and that’s been a common trend for Melbourne and SEM games this season, with the teams a combined 8-2 on the over thus far.

The Phoenix’ last four games have all seen totals of 189+ and Melbourne’s last four games are averaging a total of 188 points. SEM play at the third-highest pace in the league and the two sides are the top two in the league in eFG%.

Melbourne Arena will be seeing plenty of points on Saturday evening and the over is the bet here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 187.5 for 1 unit.

NZ Breakers v Cairns Taipans

Thursday October 31st, 5:30pm

The Breakers return home after suffering their third loss of the season, going down 104-98 to Melbourne in a match they probably should have won. They take on a resurging Cairns side on Thursday night, with the Taipans having won two of their last three to improve their record to 2-4.

New Zealand will be pleased to return home where they have won and covered the spread in six of their last nine games. More impressively, they have covered the line in their last five home games when they have been favoured by more than four points.

Cairns have been a good betting side to start the season and impressed in their comeback win over Melbourne earlier this week, though I have my concerns with them after playing on Monday night, travelling to Auckland and then getting back on the court on Thursday evening.

They’ve lost their last three matches in NZ by an average of 14 points, failing to cover on all three occasions, and the Breakers thrive at home against the two Queensland franchises, going 6-1 ATS in their last seven matchups. I like the Breakers at a relatively low line.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – New Zealand -4.5 for 2 units.

Adelaide 36ers v Cairns Taipans

Friday October 26th, 7:30pm

Cairns got their first win of the season last week in style, knocking off the Wildcats on the road by 23 points but the market has overreacted off the back of that.

In that game, they shot 57% from the field and 50% from the three point line, blowing Perth away in the second half. That’s just not sustainable and I expect we’ll see something similar to their first three games.

The 36ers have found a groove after their first game against the Kings, winning their last two as underdogs. They’re very balanced with Daniel Johnson leading the way and having six players averaging 10 points or more so far this season.

Adelaide was a poor home team last year and they’ll be keen to make a statement here. This will be the 4th game in a row that the Taipans are playing on the road and I suspect fatigue will play its part trying to keep up with the 36ers. The line is the best play.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Adelaide -4.5 at $1.95 for 2 units.

Sydney Kings v Brisbane Bullets

Saturday October 26th, 8:00pm

Saturday’s NBL action wraps up with the unbeaten Kings hosting the Bullets. Brisbane have dropped two straight after beginning the season 2-0 while Sydney have got off to a league-best 4-0 start.

While Lamar Patterson is one of the best imports in the competition, the Bullets have been let down by their other two imports to start the season. Taylor Braun and EJ Singler are averaging just 5.5 and 6.8 points per game respectively which has led Brisbane to be rather shorthanded in their two losses and I expect that to be the case again in round four.

Sydney boasts one of the deepest rosters in the NBL and have won five straight at home by an average of 12 points, covering the line in three of which. They’ve also had plenty of success when hosting Brisbane, going 4-1 against the spread in their last five and 3-0 in their last three.

For Brisbane, they’ve failed to cover the line in their last two games and they’ve been dreadful on the road since the start of last season. They’ve won just six of 18 and, with a more recent focus, they’ve covered the spread in just one of their last seven away from home.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sydney -5.5 at $1.95 for 1 unit.

Melbourne United v Perth Wildcats

Sunday October 20th, 5:30pm

For the 2nd week in a row, I think the market has gotten it wrong here with the Perth Wildcats.

The Wildcats are 2-0 and looked impressive in patches against the struggling Illawarra Hawks but with United having plenty of players they can rotate to defend Cotton, White and Kay, they won’t be allowed the offensive freedom they’ve been used to the last few weeks.

Melbourne United are returning from their preseason hitout with the Clippers and the Kings but with Chris Goulding returning to the lineup along with Dave Barlow back on the bench, United should be too strong at home for Perth.

Including the playoffs last year, Perth has never been comfortable playing in Melbourne, losing four of their last 5 there, all by double digits.

Absolutely love the price we are getting on United. I have Perth way longer than their current price and I’m happy to be with the home side for a maximum selection.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne United to Win at $1.90 for 3 units.

Sydney Kings v New Zealand Breakers

Friday October 18th, 7:30pm

The Kings strengthened their claim as genuine title contenders last week with a dominant 102-80 win over Adelaide to move to 2-0.

The Breakers are yet to play a regular-season match but all signs from the preseason pointed towards a similar fast play style to last season, scoring 97 and 95 points in their two Blitz matches.

With two fast-paced offences squaring off on Friday night, the over is the play in this one. The Kings have averaged 99 points in their last four regular season home games and the over is 7-1 in their last eight regular season games at Qudos Bank Arena.

The Breakers also have a great overs strike rate, with the total going over the line in 12 of their last 14 NBL games and eight of their last 11 on the road.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 175.5 at $1.95 for 2 units.

Sydney Kings v Adelaide 36ers

Saturday October 12th, 5:30pm

Adelaide returns from their 133-81 drubbing at the hands of the Utah Jazz to take on title contenders, the Sydney Kings. After playing on Sunday (Aus time) and making the long trek back to Australia, the Sixers will not be feeling fresh for their NBL season opener.

That will likely lead to easy buckets for Sydney and with Jerome Randle at the point, Adelaide is likely to run a fast-paced offence again this season, making the over a great shout here. The over has cashed in nine of Adelaide’s last 13 games and nine of their last 11 on the road.

From a Kings perspective, the over is 9-5 in their last 14 games and is 6-2 in their last eight at Qudos Bank Arena. The total has gone over the line in 10 of the last 12 clashes between these teams in Sydney and it looks the best play in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 176.5 for 1 unit at $1.95

Brisbane Bullets v Cairns Taipans

Friday October 11th, 7:30pm

Brisbane impressed in their season opener over the Hawks and find themselves in a good spot to make it a 2-0 start. Cairns scored just eight points in the fourth quarter as they fell by eight at home to Sydney last week and they won’t be high on confidence this Friday, having lost 11 of their last 13 road games.

The Bullets covered five of their last eight home games last season and have covered four of their last five at home against the Taipans. Additionally, Cairns’ last five road losses have come by an average of almost 12 points and we could well be seeing another loss by a similar margin on Friday.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Brisbane -6.5 for 2 units at $1.95

Perth Wildcats v Illawarra Hawks

Friday October 11th, 9:30pm

The market has reacted a little over the top to Perth not being at their best in Week 1.

At first look, it was a bad performance from the Wildcats. United was severely short-handed and needed until the very last 10 seconds on the clock to hit the front.

However, when you dive deeper into the numbers, United shot 64% from the field and 50% from the three-point line. You don’t win many games giving up those numbers but they pulled through and they’ll tighten up defensively for this one.

Signs were a little concerning for the Hawks in their first game. They seem unsure of their rotation, who closes for them at the end of the game and how to take advantage of their size.

Perth has covered 14 of their last 17 ATS at home. Illawarra won’t be afforded the same chances they had in Week 1 on the glass against the Wildcats and in the toughest building in the competition, they’ll struggle in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Perth -6.5 for 1 unit at $1.95

Illawarra Hawks v Brisbane Bullets

Sunday October 6th, 3:00pm

The Hawks are in a great spot to get their NBL campaign off to a winning start, hosting the Bullets on Sunday.

Illawarra will play bigger and better games than the one on Sunday but all eyes will be on LaMelo Ball in his first game in his quest to boost his NBA Draft stocks.

The Bullets leadup to this game has been not ideal with average performances in the preseason and players only rejoining the team after the FIBA World Cup, along with coach Lemanis.

We got a taste of the way the Hawks want to play at the end of the last season with 8 of their last 10 games going over the total. With Brooks and Ball at the helm who will only play downhill, in front of their packed home crowd, the Hawks should be able to blow away the Bullets here as they shake off some cobwebs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Illawarra Hawks to win for 2 units at $1.71

Melbourne United v South East Melbourne Phoenix

Thursday October 3rd, 7:30pm

The season-opener pits the competition favourites against the NBL’s new franchise as Melbourne United host South East Melbourne Phoenix.

The Phoenix have done well to build a competitive roster in their debut season and their 2-0 record at the NBL Blitz shows that they have the goods to be competitive in their infancy.

In terms of opening games, however, things don’t get much harder than taking on last season’s losing Grand Finalists at Melbourne Arena. Melbourne went 12-7 at home last season and covered five of their last seven games there to end the season. It wasn’t just at home that Melbourne impressed at the end of last season though, with nine of their last 10 wins coming by more than seven points.

Over the last three seasons Melbourne are 31-18 ATS at home (including finals) and taking on a new team with very little competitive basketball together under their belts, it’s hard to see the score being all that close on Thursday night.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne United -5.5 for 1u at $1.90

Adelaide 36ers

2018/19 Record: 14-14.

Ins: Jerome Randle, Eric Griffin (I), Deshon Taylor (I), Daniel Dillon, Obi Kyei, Kevin White.

Outs: Demetrius Conger, Nathan Sobey, Majok Deng, Adam Doyle.

Joey Wright again steers the ship for a reasonably settled Adelaide team. That is said since they lost just four players in the offseason but it’s important to note that two of which were arguably their two best players in Demetrius Conger and Nathan Sobey.

With Conger now out of the NBL and Sobey at Brisbane, Eric Griffin and Jerome Randle have been brought in to fill the gaps. Randle played his best basketball with the 36ers so getting him back is a good win for them heading into the season.

They can lean on Ramone Moore for another season of somewhere around 10/4/5, and the likes of Daniel Johnson, Harry Froling and Daniel Dillon are all capable NBL players, but Adelaide lack the star quality that many of the top teams in the league possess.

That spells trouble for the Sixers. They have one of the thinnest squads in the NBL and the Exchange has correctly placed them as wooden spoon runner ups. They are very light in the paint and their depth at guard is another reason to be concerned. We agree with the market’s assessment and we find it hard to see them getting near the 14 wins that they picked up last year.

Brisbane Bullets

2019/19 Record: 14-14.

Ins: EJ Singler (I), Taylor Braun (I), Nathan Sobey.

Outs: Cam Bairstow, Adam Gibson, Jeremy Kendle.

The Bullets were better than expected last season, falling short to eventual champions Perth in the playoffs when injury troubles had them shorthanded. Strong recruitment through the offseason has signalled that Brisbane believe they’re in the window to win a title.

Nathan Sobey was the number one man on the list of coach Andre Lemanis and he got him. Sobey was one of the most valuable free agents available and gives them one of the top back courts in the league alongside Cam Gliddon.

The biggest move was securing Lamar Patterson for another year. Coming in early last season, he lit up the league and changed the entire dynamic of the Bullets. They suddenly looked dangerous on both ends of the court with him, averaging 18/6/4 and one steal per game.

Taylor Braun, who was recommended to the Bullets by Joe Ingles, and EJ Singler fill up the other two import slots. They’ll be joining a returning core which sets the Bullets up to be one of the leading title-winning chances this season.

Brisbane were the equal-best three-point shooting team in the league last season which is a credit to their system. The big area of improvement needed is their rebounding, in which they were last in the league last season.

Their front court depth is thin so Lemanis will need to make sure they don’t get exposed and have a plan when they square off with the likes of Shawn Long, Josh Boone, Andrew Bogut, and Dario Hunt across the season.

Chemistry and continuity will be the Bullets’ biggest strength early in the season while other teams adjust to cater for their new stars. They’re a wait-and-see betting option for the season but, for now, they look a very good price.

Cairns Taipans

2018/19 Record: 6-22.

Ins: Cameron Oliver (I), Scott Machado (I), Mirko Deric, George Blagojevic, Kouat Noi, Majok Deng, Anthony Fisher.

Outs: Melo Trimble, Devon Hall, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Kuany Kuany, Rob Loe, Alex Loughton, Lucas Walker, Mitchell Young.

Last season was meant to be the one where the Taipans bounced back. Unfortunately, they fell further behind from the rest of the pack. They only won six games last season and were largely uncompetitive in most areas under new head coach Mike Kelly.

What made matters worse was the Brisbane Bullets jumping ahead of them and making the playoffs when, a season ago, the Taipans looked well ahead of them in their quest to win their first NBL Title.

The obvious hole in the roster is the loss of Melo Trimble, their leading scorer last year at 22.5 PPG. The Taipans were also the lowest-scoring team in the 2018/19 season, so losing Melo is not ideal.

However, with two brand new imports in Scott Machado and Cameron Oliver along with the returning DJ Newbill, the talent is certainly there for them to be competitive in most games throughout the season.

Their willingness to push the pace during preseason games could signal the way they want to play this season. Majok Deng and Nate Jawai will ensure that they will be a decent rebounding team and Oliver’s interior presence will ensure their frontcourt rotation will always be good during games.

That said, The Taipans, unfortunately, do not look like they can conjure that little bit extra to make the playoffs but week to week, they will have potential to be value against teams on their home court.

Illawarra Hawks

2018/19 Record: 12-16.

Ins: Aaron Brooks (I), Josh Boone (I), LaMelo Ball (NS), Angus Glover, Sunday Dech, Sam Froling, Matt Flinn (coach).

Outs: Brian Conklin, Cedric Jackson, Jordair Jett, Marshall Nelson, Nic Pozoglou, Kevin White, Rob Beveridge (coach).

Finishing at 12-16 for the second straight season last year, Illawarra have taken up a fair share of the offseason discussion after adding NBA prospect LaMalo Ball and former NBA player Aaron Brooks to their team. Josh Boone also joins the squad from Melbourne as their second import, but equally as important is the departure of championship-winning coach Rob Beveridge.

In Beveridge’s place is long-time Hawks assistant Matt Flinn, and he’ll be leading a largely familiar playing group with the likes of AJ Ogilvy, Todd Blanchfield, David Andersen and Emmett Naar all returning for another year. This makes us less nervous about Flinn’s first year as head coach given his 10-plus years of experience around that setup.

While this core has produced sub-par records in the past couple of seasons, there is a significant step up in the standard of imports this year, with NBA veteran Aaron Brooks joining the ranks and established NBL big Josh Boone improving the frontcourt.

LaMelo Ball looked as good as anyone could have hoped in the preseason and, importantly for Illawarra, doesn’t count as an import, meaning there’s the potential for the Hawks to add to another international to their team midway through the season.

10 of Illawarra’s first 13 games come against teams outside of last season’s top four and there’s every chance they get off to a strong start. Currently at $9.80, they should be shortening early in the season but, realistically, are a very slim chance of winning the title. A good trading selection.

Betting Strategy

  BACK to LAY – 3u on Illawarra at $9.80 (trade out at $7.00 or better).

Melbourne United

2018/19 Record: 18-10.

Ins: Melo Trimble (I), Shawn Long (I), Casey Prather (I), Shea Ili, Jo Lual-Acuil.

Outs: Casper Ware, Josh Boone, DJ Kennedy, Craig Moller, Dan Trist, Venky Jois, Peter Hooley.

After falling 3-1 in last year’s Grand Finals series, Melbourne United have strengthened their squad and go into the 2019/20 seasons as favourites. While they did lose key pieces Casper Ware, Josh Boone and DJ Kennedy, they’ve more than made up for those losses through signing Melo Trimble, Shawn Long and Casey Prather.

Shea Ili also joins the team, further bolstering their backcourt and their frontcourt isn’t far behind in terms of quality. Shawn Long didn’t take long to find his feet in New Zealand last year and with the playmakers present at Melbourne, expect it to be a seamless transition for the American and his teammates.

The import trio of Trimble, Long and Prather is second-to-none. Prather was instrumental in Melbourne’s 2018 title and has won a title in all three seasons he’s played in the league, Trimble averaged 22/5/4 in his first season in the NBL with Cairns last year and Long put forward a legitimate case for best centre in the league in the 2018/19 season.

On paper, it is hard to see who can top this United squad. They have great depth behind their star imports while Dean Vickerman has already won a championship with the club and took them to the Grand Finals last year. Their roster has only improved and we have them as clear favourites to claim their sixth title.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 4u on Melbourne United at $3.50.

New Zealand Breakers

2018/19 Record: 12-16.

Ins: RJ Hampton (NS), Sek Henry (I), Scotty Hopson (I), Brandon Ashley (I), Rob Loe, Ater Majok, Dan Shamir (coach).

Outs: Shea Ili, Shawn Long, Majok Majok, Armani Moore, Patrick Richard, Tai Wesley, Kevin Braswell (coach).

After a disappointing 2018/19 season, especially for the Breakers’ lofty standards, a revamped New Zealand outfit has arrived for the upcoming season. Last year’s coach, Kevin Braswell, is gone after just one season at the club and he’s been replaced by the esteemed Dan Shamir who brings a wealth of experience from top European leagues.

On the court, big changes have been made too. The most talked about of which has been the signing of Next Star player and top NBA draft prospect RJ Hampton. One of the top-ranked high school point guards in the USA in 2019, Hampton comes into the league with a tonne of hype and expectation on his shoulders and he’ll have to carry a bulk of the playmaking duties for his team after Shea Ili’s departure.

Joining him as Breakers newbies are swingman Sek Henry, big man Brandon Ashley and former NBA forward Scotty Hopson. It’s a huge overhaul of players and their imports look like an improvement on last year’s bunch but losing All-NBL 2nd Team centre Shawn Long is a massive blow.

Coupling that with a new coach and an 18-year-old set to play major minutes with major responsibilities, we see another season of struggles coming up the Breakers.

Perth Wildcats

2018/19 Record: 18-10.

Ins: Dario Hunt (I), Majok Majok.

Outs: Angus Brandt, Greg Hire, Sunday Dech, Tom Jervis.

The reigning champions. It felt like the Wildcats weren’t discussed all season long until the playoffs arrived and even then, weren’t given the respect they deserved compared to the Kings and United.

This season, the Wildcats have a new look. For the first time in a while, they underwent significant turnover with their roster. Angus Brandt and Tom Jervis are gone while Greg Hire has retired.

They’ll have a brand new front court this year. New import Dario Hunt will give them a new look at centre along with signing the experienced Majok Majok. Hunt has played with Bryce Cotton in Europe before so there shouldn’t be any major chemistry issues to start the season.

Bryce Cotton will once again lead the way on both ends of the court. Re-signing Terrico White was a great result after his tremendous Grand Final performance against United last season.

Nick Kay looks to be primed for a huge season after a terrific campaign with the Boomers in the FIBA World Cup. I expect we will hear some MVP Chatter around him as the season goes on and a much bigger role in the offence.

It would take a catastrophe for the Wildcats to not finish in the Top 4 again this season and if they have home-court advantage, they’ll be heavily favoured.

Perth is a wait-and-see in the market. They’re likely to trade shorter than the current $5 but with an early stretch of four road games in a row, we’ll learn more about them as the season goes on.

South East Melbourne Phoenix

2018/19 Record: N/A.

Ins: John Roberson (I), Ben Madgen, Mitch Creek, Tai Wesley (I), Keith Benson (I), Kyle Adnam, Adam Gibson, Kendall Stephens, Dane Pineau, Daniel Trist, Terry Armstrong (NS), Deng Acouth, Simon Mitchell (coach).

Outs: N/A.

New to the NBL in 2020, South East Melbourne has assembled a roster that’s set to cause a bit of a stir. General Manager and former NBL veteran Tommy Greer has assigned Simon Mitchell, who’s assisted at Melbourne United for the past four years, as the team’s head coach and they were quick to assemble a competitive squad.

American point guard John Roberson looks to be the big import signing. Having played his last eight seasons in Europe and most recently averaging 14/2/5 in his 2018-19 season in Russia, Roberson will be a reliable ball-handler and shooter for the Phoenix but expect Mitch Creek to be their main man. Formerly of the Nets and Timberwolves, Creek has proved that he has the goods to be an NBA player and will be responsible for much of SEM’s offence as long as he doesn’t hop on a plane back to the states.

Other significant players on their roster will be the other two imports, centre Keith Benson and forward Tai Wesley, while proven NBL players, such as Kyle Adnam, Ben Madgen and Adam Gibson round out what is a well-assembled roster.

Of some concern is their lack of defensive talent and their lack of size in the backcourt. Ben Madgen, at 6’4”, is likely to be their tallest guard, unless Next Star Terry Armstrong plays significant minutes, which may see them struggle against the lengthier teams in the competition, such as Brisbane.

Also worth taking into consideration is the fact that they are a completely new team with almost all of the players having never played competitive basketball together. With a rookie head coach at the helm, we don’t see them causing too many upsets this season, but they should be competitive among the bottom five teams on the ladder.

Betting Strategy

 LAY – 2u on South East Melbourne Phoenix at $13.50.

Sydney Kings

2018/19 Record: 18-10.

Ins: Casper Ware (I), Jae’Sean Tate (I), Didi Louzada (NS), Shaun Bruce, Craig Moller, Lucas Walker, Will Weaver (coach).

Outs: Jerome Randle, Brian Bowen, Kyle Adnam, Dane Pineau, Andrew Gaze (coach).

The Sydney Kings would say themselves that they underachieved last season. Equaling Perth and Melbourne on 18 wins for the year, they were decisively swept by United in the playoffs and looked completely out of rhythm when it mattered most.

There were plenty of positives for them, none more than Andrew Bogut winning the MVP in his first season for the Kings and with new coach Will Weaver replacing Andrew Gaze who looked out of his depth through his tenure, they’ll be eager to go one step further.

The biggest addition for the Kings, however, is not their new coach, but their brand-new point guard Casper Ware, who made the switch from Melbourne United.

The Kings were the second-lowest scoring team last season and struggled plenty of times to maintain a good flow to their offence with their former PG Jerome Randle. With Casper, they’ll not only have a better facilitator but also a better clutch shooter late in the shot clock.

The excitement doesn’t end there though for the Kings. Next Star signing Didi Louzada, who will probably start at SF in Week 1, has been lighting up teams in the preseason from the perimeter and looks to elevate their offence to a new level.

On paper, the Kings look better than the Wildcats and barely behind United, so finishing outside the top two is not an option. Their record on the road was the best in the league last year so any improvement to their record at home will see them be very hard to beat all season.

Sydney’s depth this season looks so much better while also improving their starting five. At their current price of $5.20 on the Exchange and they look a great trading prospect throughout the year.

Betting Strategy

  BACK to LAY – 3u on Sydney at $5.20 (trade out at $3.50 or better).

Current Results

Total Units Staked: 100.00

Total Units Returned: 98.28

ROI: -1.72%

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