It’s a short but sweet six-game slate of NBL action this weekend as we turn our attention towards one of the tightest final races in recent memory.
Saturday night’s game between the Taipans and the 36ers holds enormous importance as far as the top four is concerned, while there are also a number of other scenarios that could shift and shape the ladder.
Tipping this season has been tough, but we’re confident we’ve come up with some winners in our complete 2020 NBL Round 16 Preview below.
New Zealand Breakers
Friday, January, 17, TSB Stadium, 5:30pm
The Breakers came spiraling back down to earth last week as they saw their impressive five-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Taipans.
New Zealand also went on to lose to the Bullets on Sunday night, but that hasn’t stopped the bookmakers from setting a minor -1.5 line in favour of the Kings.
Sydney enjoyed a comfortable Round 15 last week also beating the Taipans by eight points. The Kings now sit a game clear of the second-place Wildcats on the ladder, but they do need to keep up the pace if they wish to stay on top.
The Breakers holding home-court advantage largely explains the short spread on offer as New Zealand looks to catch up to the Phoenix and the Bullets on the ladder. Unfortunately, home-court advantage hasn’t meant much against the Kings in recent years as Sydney has won seven straight games over the Kiwis dating back to February 2018.
The Kings are also 2-1 as the line favourite on the road against New Zealand, so with less than two-points to play with, it’s worth taking Sydney to make a big statement away from home.
Tip: Back the Kings to Cover the Line (-1.5 Points) @ $1.85
S.E. Melbourne Phoenix
Friday, January, 17, RAC Arena, 9:30pm
We say it every week, but this really could be a make-or-break game for the Phoenix.
South East Melbourne still sits seventh on the ladder behind a 9-11 record, and with only eight games remaining, it’s safe to say time is quickly running out.
The Phoenix looked good last week in a much-needed win over the Hawks, but considering the Wildcats also handed the cellar dwellers a loss in Round 15, it’s difficult to back any kind of upset in this one.
These two sides have met twice this year with Perth winning by double-digits on both occasions. The battle between Bryce Cotton and Mitch Creek should be a fascinating one, however it is worth keeping in mind that the Phoenix have won only three of their nine games on the road this season.
Tip: Back the Wildcats 11+ @ $2.85
Saturday, January, 18, Queensland State Netball Centre, 5:30pm
Don’t look now, but the Bullets can still sneak a finals spot if they play their cards right.
Brisbane sits sixth on the ladder at 10-11, but with only two games separating themselves and the third-place Taipans, you can’t discount the Bullets from making a late run at the top four.
The case for Andrej Lemanis’ side grows stronger when you factor in the Bullets take on the last-place Hawks at home this week. Brisbane has won six straight games against Illawarra dating back to 2018 and has also won five of the last eight as the favourite.
You’ll have to get a little creative in the market if you wish to find some value – especially with Brisbane sporting a less than convincing 11-10 record at the line this season.
Fortunately, three of the last five games between the Bullets and Hawks have been decided by 1-10 points, so play on the Margin.
Tip: Back the Bullets 1-10 @ $3.00
Saturday, January, 18, Cairns Convention Centre, 8pm
Third plays fifth on Saturday night in a game that could turn out to be the most exciting of the round.
The Taipans roll into this one fresh from a humbling loss against the Kings last week, while the 36ers find themselves in the midst of a purple patch following back-to-back wins over the Hawks and Melbourne.
Neither coach needs to rewind very far during their pre-game film study considering these two teams last got together on December 22. Cairns won that game 94-86, and it appears the bookies are all-in on the Snakes winning a second straight.
The Taipans are laying -3.5 with home-court advantage, a deciding factor that has seen Cairns lose only three games at the Convention Centre all season.
That said, the 36ers have covered the line in eight of their last 10-games as the away underdog, making Adelaide an enticing betting play.
Lastly, the 36ers also rank second in points-per-game this season. With some form and betting trends on their side, take Adelaide to at least keep this close.
Tip: Back the 36ers to Cover the Line (+3.5 Points) @ $1.90
New Zealand Breakers
Sunday, January, 19, Spark Arena, 3pm
The stakes are high on Sunday afternoon as Melbourne travels across the ditch with only one thing in mind.
United’s loss last week to the 36ers threw the top four into chaos as another loss could potentially see Melbourne fall outside the top four.
The Breakers also have plenty to play for sitting second from the bottom. We’ll know a little more about the Kiwis following their Friday night game against the Kings, but at time of publish, New Zealand still sits only three games out of fourth place.
Melbourne has held the upper hand in this matchup though, which makes it almost impossible to back the Breakers outright. United has won five straight over New Zealand, while their last loss in Auckland came all the way back in January 2018.
The other trend worth paying attention to here is the Total. The last five games between these two sides have all gone Over, so this is the perfect opportunity for a Same Game Multi.
Tip: Back Melbourne to Win & Over the Points Total
S.E. Melbourne Phoenix
Sunday, January, 19, Qudos Bank Arena, 5pm
The first-place Kings will be hoping to end Round 16 on a high note as they battle the Phoenix at home on Sunday.
Sydney looked a class above when these two teams met in late December winning 110-98, making up for their inaugural meeting that saw the Kings win by a narrow four-point margin.
It’s always tough to get a feel for these late round games, especially with two teams playing on short rest. Therefore, it’s probably worth keeping this one simple by backing the Kings and their 9-2 home record.
Tip: Back the Kings to Win & Under the Points Total
The countdown to the finals is on, and with just three weeks remaining, it’s do-or-die time for the likes of the Bullets and 36ers.
With each team in action not once but twice, it’s also a huge weekend for the Top 3 sides. Melbourne sit just one-point clear of Perth on the ladder, while the Kings are desperate to bounce-back after slipping up against the Wildcats last week.
There’s only three-points separating first from third, so be sure to check out our entire 2018/19 NBL Round 16 Preview below for all of our top tips!
New Zealand Breakers
Friday February 1, 5:20pm, Spark Arena
It’s been tough to trust the Breakers during this up and down season. New Zealand recorded back-to-back wins over Cairns and Brisbane over the long weekend, but even with home-court advantage, the Breakers still find themselves as the underdog with Melbourne coming to town.
United also got their season back on track defeating Adelaide in a blowout 114-91 road win. Melbourne had won just two of their last five games coming in, but now find themselves atop the ladder after Sydney’s struggles against Perth.
Melbourne have won four of their last five meetings against New Zealand, although their two games this season were both been decided by as little as seven-points. Even worse, United are a miserable 5-8 as the favourite against New Zealand, while the Breakers are a much more impressive 9-1-3 as the underdog at the line.
Tip: Back the Breakers at the Line (+2.5 Points) @ $1.85
Friday February 1, 7:45pm, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Just when it looked as though the Bullets could make things interesting in the finals, they go and blow two huge opportunities against Sydney and New Zealand last week.
The good news is Brisbane will have a chance for revenge against the Kings on Friday, although it’s worth remembering Sydney have now won five straight over the Bullets dating back to 2017.
There’s a lot on the line for both of these sides, and while Brisbane will be hoping to cling to their Top 4 spot, the Kings will be hoping to inch closer to the top spot on the ladder. After defeating Brisbane on Friday night, Sydney went on to lose to Perth by 20-points two days later to surrender first-place to Melbourne.
Since three of the Kings’ last five meetings against Brisbane have been decided by eight points or less, it’s reasonable to assume this one might be close. Despite their losing streak against the Kings though, the Bullets still find themselves as favourites at home, a scenario they are 0-2 in against Sydney.
Keep in mind the Kings won in this very same building last week on 58% shooting, however. Brisbane’s defence struggled to keep up, making the Kings the safest play this week with so much on the line.
Tip: Back the Kings To Win @ $2.00
Friday February 1, 9:55pm, RAC Arena
Make it three-straight for Perth. The Wildcats pulled off two huge victories last week over Adelaide and Sydney to keep themselves well in the hunt for first, and they’ll likely be looking at a fourth-straight win with home-court advantage this week against Illawarra.
The Hawks finished the long weekend 1-1, pulling off a nail-biting one-point victory over the Taipans after losing by plenty to Melbourne United three days prior. Illawarra have won just two of their last five-games against Perth, and not surprisingly, haven’t won in WA since 2016.
Considering the price, the bookies appear have this one right. It’s hard to disagree considering Perth are 19-1 as the home favourite against the Hawks, with their last meeting at RAC Arena finishing in a 101-61 blowout.
Tip: Back the Wildcats 11+ @ $2.85
Saturday February 2, 2:50pm, Cairns Convention Centre
The season was over a long, long time ago for the Taipans, but at least things can’t get any worse, right?
Cairns will fancy their chances this week at home against a 36ers side that were every bit disappointing last week. Adelaide had won two straight heading into their game against the Wildcats and looked a chance to make the finals, but a 19-point blowout followed by a 114-91 loss to Melbourne canceled those plans.
When these two last met it was the 36ers who walked away with a five-point win. Adelaide have also won four straight over Cairns, and are an impressive 12-9 as the favourite over the last 12-months.
Since both sides are showing plenty of inconsistencies however, this might be a market you’re better off staying away from considering neither side has shown trustworthy form.
Tip: No Bet
Sunday February 3, 2:50pm, Quodos Bank Arena
Sydney’s season took a slight turn for the worst last week thanks to a blowout loss against the Wildcats. The result has seen Sydney slip down to third on the NBL ladder, but with a double-header against Brisbane ahead this weekend, there’s plenty of opportunity for the Kings to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
We should learn a lot from Friday’s meeting between these two, only this time around, the Kings will hold home-court advantage. At home Sydney are 3-2 as the favourite against the Bullets, while the Kings have also lost just six-games at Quodos Bank Arena over the last 12-months.
Brisbane haven’t won in Sydney since 2016, so unless something drastic happens on Friday night, make sure you side with the Kings.
Tip: Back the Kings to Cover The Line (-3.5 Points) @ $1.85
New Zealand Breakers
Sunday February 3, 5:20pm, Melbourne Arena
It’s a repeat of Friday night’s match up between Melbourne and the Breakers, but with both sides weary from travel, are we in for a bit of an upset?
The last time the Breakers defeated United in Melbourne was last October in a narrow 88-81 win. Since then New Zealand have gone on to win six of their last 12-games, and as their 7-5 record as the away underdog against Melbourne suggests, you certainly can’t sleep on the Breakers.
Melbourne need to win this game if they wish to hold off Sydney atop the ladder. United are 9-2-7 at the line as the favourite at home this season, which looks to be the safest play in this one.
Tip: Back Melbourne to Cover The Line (-4.5 Points) @ $1.85
Monday February 4, 6:50pm, WIN Entertainment Centre
The Hawks host the Taipans to close out the round, a match up that has provided some real classics in recent memory.
These two sides played out a one-point nail-biter on Australia Day, a performance that saw the Hawks walk away with their fifth straight win over Cairns.
There’s not a lot of value in Illawarra straight-up, but the good news is the Hawks are 5-5 as the favourites at the line. Cairns shot just 29% from three last week, while the Hawks were lights out from the field.
With home-court advantage in their favour once again, it’s hard to look past the Hawks as they look to end their season on as many high-notes as possible.
Tip: Back the Hawks To Cover The Line (-3.5 Points) @ $1.90
We are treated to Wednesday Night action in the NBL this weekend before double-headers on both Saturday and Sunday.
A big weekend of upsets means that Melbourne United now sit on top of the NBL Ladder and it is the Perth Wildcats that have dropped back to fourth.
That could all change again this weekend and we have analysed all five games to help you find a winner – don’t miss out on our complete NBL Round 16 tips below.
Wednesday January 24, 7:30pm, Hisense Arena
Melbourne United had their winning streak ended last week, but they remain on top of the NBL Ladder.
They have won eight of their past nine games and their record at home this season has been outstanding – they have won eight of their 11 games as home favourites and they are 7-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Cairns Taipans beat the the New Zealand Breakers last weekend, but they continue to struggle for consistency this season.
Cairns have won only four of their past 14 games as away underdogs and their record against the line is no better.
Melbourne should win this game comfortably and the line of 8.5 points is not enough.
Back Melbourne United To Beat The Line (-8.5 Points)
Saturday January 27, 5:30pm, Brisbane Convention Centre
The Brisbane Bullets have lost seven games in a row and it is no surprise that the Adelaide 36ers will start this clash as favourites.
Brisbane have been a touch unlucky in the second half of the season, but their inability to close out games continues to be a big concern.
The Bullets have won two of their past five games as home underdogs and they are 3-2 against the line in this scenario.
Adelaide have climbed to second with seven straight wins and they have found form at the right time of the season.
The 36ers have won five of their past six games against the Bullets and winning away from home has not been an issue.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
New Zealand Breakers
Saturday January 27, 8:30pm, Perth Arena
The Perth Wildcats suffered two shock losses to the Sydney Kings last weekend and it is tough to know what to make of them ahead of this clash.
They will still start this clash as favourites and really need to win to build some momentum heading into the NBL Playoffs.
Perth have still won 12 of their past 16 games as home favourites and they are a most impressive 11-5 against the line in this scenario.
The New Zealand Breakers have struggled for consistency in the second half of the season and they head into this clash off the back of a poor effort against the Cairns Taipans.
New Zealand have won five of their past ten games as away underdogs and they are 6-3 on the back of a loss.
This is another game where there is not a great deal of value to be found.
Sunday January 28, 3:00pm, Qudos Bank Arena
The Sydney Kings beat the Perth Wildcats twice last weekend, but it is Melbourne United that will start this clash as favourites.
Sydney have won only one of their past five games as home underdogs and they are a middling 2-1-2 against the line in this scenario.
Melbourne have won their past six games against Sydney and the majority of those wins have been by big margins.
They have won five of their past seven games as away favourites and they are 4-3 against the line in this situation.
Melbourne just keep on winning and the line of 1.5 points is not enough in this game.
Back Melbourne United To Beat The Line (-1.5 Points)
Sunday January 28, 7:30pm, WIN Entertainment Centre
The Illawarra Hawks have won only one of their past four games, but they will still start this clash as favourites.
Illawarra suffered a pair of heavy defeats at the hands of the Adelaide 36ers and that effectively ended their Playoffs hopes, but there is no reason that they can’t return to winning form.
The Hawks have won eight of their past 12 games as home favourites and they are 7-5 against the line in this scenario.
Winning away from home continues to be an issue for the Cairns Taipans and the home side has won in 11 of the past 12 games played between these two sides.
Illawarra will be too strong for Cairns and they can cover the line in the process.
Back Illawarra To Beat The Line (-4.5 Points)
It is another very busy weekend of action in the NBL and there are double-headers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Illawarra Hawks should be able to secure a place in the NBL Playoffs with victories over both the New Zealand Breakers and Cairns Taipans, while the Brisbane Bullets need to win to remain in the hunt.
We continue to profit just about every week during the NBL season and you can find our recommended betting plays for every single game below.
Thursday January 19, 7:30pm, Titanium Security Arena
Adelaide 36ers 101 - Brisbane Bullets 68
The Adelaide 36ers continue to be the form team in the NBL and they recorded emphatic victories over the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United last weekend.
It is no surprise that Adelaide will go into this clash as clear favourites and they have won nine of their past 11 games as home favourites, while they are 7-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Brisbane Bullets suffered their third loss on the trot against the New Zealand Breakers last weekend and they have won just two of their past eight games.
Brisbane have won four of their past ten games as away underdogs for a narrow loss and they are a middling 5-5 against the line.
Backing Adelaide continues to be a profitable play in the NBL and I will not be stopping this weekend.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-8.5 Points)
New Zealand Breakers
Friday January 20, 7:30pm, Win Entertainment Centre
Illawarra Hawks 86 - New Zealand Breakers 95
Both these teams are coming off back-to-back wins, but it is the Illawarra Hawks that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Illawarra have won eight of their past 13 games as home favourites for a narrow loss and their record against the line in this scenario is a poor 5-8.
The New Zealand Breakers trailed for their entire clash with the Brisbane Bullers before getting the job done in the final seconds and they have played some quality basketball in recent weeks.
New Zealand have won only six of their past 17 games as away underdogs for a clear loss, but they are 9-1-7 against the line in this scenario and rarely get beaten by ig margins.
This will be a close clash and I am keen to back the New Zealand Breakers with a start of 3.5 points.
Friday January 20, 9:30pm, Perth Arena
Perth Wildcats 84 - Cairns Taipans 78
The Cairns Taipans and Perth Wildcats are locked in the battle for a position in the NBL Playoffs and this is a crucial clash for both sides.
Perth will start this clash as favourites – despite having been beaten by the Taipans last weekend – and they have lost two games on the trot.
Perth Arena has not been the fortress that it once was and the Wildcats are 12-5 as home favourites this season for a loss, while they are 7-1-9 against the line in this scenario.
Cairns have struggled to string together back-to-back wins this season and they have won only three of their past 12 games as away underdogs.
Both these teams are tough to trust from a betting perspective and I am happy to stay out of this clash.
Saturday January 21, 5:30pm, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Brisbane Bullets 88 - Melbourne United 71
The Brisbane Bullets have the home-court advantage, but it is Melbourne United that will start this clash as favourites.
Melbourne United returned to winning form with a victory over Cairns last weekend, but their record as away favourites is still extremely poor.
They have won just one of their past six games as away favourites for a clear loss and I am always keen to take them on in this scenario.
Brisbane have struggled in recent weeks, but one position in which they have thrived is as home underdogs.
They have won all three of their games as home underdogs for a clear profit and they are capable of coming away with the upset win.
Back Brisbane To Win @ $2.15
Saturday January 21, 7:30pm, Titanium Security Arena
Adelaide 36ers - Sydney Kings 73
The Adelaide 36ers are in action again following their Thursday night clash with the Brisbane Bullets.
As we said above, Adelaide have an excellent record as home favourites and they have won their past four meetings with the Sydney Kings.
Sydney have won just one of their past seven games in the NBL and they have been very tough to trust from a betting standpoint in recent weeks.
The Kings have won four of their past ten games as away underdogs for a narrow loss, but they are 7-3 against the line in this scenario.
I have well and truly hitched myself to the 36ers bandwagon and they should be able to cover the line of 3.5 points.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
Sunday January 22, 3:00pm, Cairns Convention Arena
Cairns Taipans 85 - Illawarra Hawks 79
Both these teams are on the quick back-up after playing earlier in the week.
Cairns will start this clash as narrow favourites and they have won six of their past nine games as home favourites, but are 4-5 against the line in this scenario.
Winning away from home has been easier said than done for Illawarra this season.
They have won five of their past 14 games as away underdogs for a loss and their record against the line in the same in this scenario.
Cairns are always tough to beat in front of their home fans and they should be able to get the job done.
Back Cairns To Win @ $1.80
New Zealand Breakers
Sunday January 22, 1:00pm, Vector Arena
New Zealand Breakers 86 - Perth Wildcats 82
This is a crucial game for both sides in the race to the NBL Playoffs.
It is New Zealand that will start this clash as clear favourites and they have won 11 of their past 15 games as home favourites, while they are 9-6 against the line in this scenario.
Perth have improved slightly away from home this season, but they have still won only four of their past 12 games as away underdogs.
Their record is now 7-5 against the line as away underdogs and they have generally been far more competitive away from home this season.
This is a clash that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.