The NBL Semi-Finals have reached fever pitch as both matchups head to a decisive Game 3 on Thursday night.
Following their meltdown in Melbourne on Monday night, the Kings will be hoping to get some revenge against their rivals on Thursday, while United is looking to return to the finals for the third year in a row.
The late time slot then sees the Wildcats and Taipans in action in what has fast become one of the most intriguing finals battles. Both teams have recorded victories on their home courts, leaving Perth as the heavy favourites in Game 3.
After a winning start to the finals, we’ve previewed both games in our NBL Semi-Finals Preview below.
Thursday March 5, 7:30pm Qudos Bank Arena
Another chapter in this epic rivalry will be written on Thursday night as the Kings and Melbourne United square off with a trip to the finals on the line.
There’s no two ways about it – Sydney were flat out embarrassed on Monday night in Melbourne losing 125-80 in their biggest loss of the season, but that hasn’t stopped the bookies from favouring the Kings by -2.5 ahead of the decider.
Melbourne’s performance in Game 2 was nothing short of exceptional as they continually drained long-range three’s and controlled the boards. Unfortunately, though, I’m having a tough time backing United to keep up the good work.
The Kings have been outstanding on the back of a loss all year going 6-3 straight up. Sydney has lost only twice at home all year, while they’ve also won two of their last three home games against Melbourne by double digits.
If you throw in Sydney’s 12-2 record at home and their 10-5 record as the line favourite, it becomes almost impossible to see this game going any other way. The Kings made history by becoming the only team to lead the ladder at the end of all 20 rounds, and I don’t expect them to throw all that hard work away in this winner takes all.
Tip: Back the Kings to Cover the Line (-2.5 Points) @ $1.90
Thursday March 5, 9:30pm RAC Arena
This series has been nothing short of phenomenal so far and we should be treated to a thrilling conclusion in Perth on Thursday.
The Wildcats opened their account with a narrow one-point win over the Taipans in Game 1, right before the Snakes got some revenge in Game 2 with a blowout 85-74 victory at home on Sunday night.
Considering how powerful home-court advantage has become for the Wildcats, it’s no surprise to find the bookmakers favouring Perth by -4.5. But if you’ve caught even a glimpse of the previous two meetings, you’ll know Cairns should relish the role of underdogs just like they did in Game 1.
I wrote in my Game 2 preview that the Taipans know how to beat the Wildcats at home after winning 99-76 in Perth back in Round 3. Cairns has played to a steady 10-8 record as the line underdog this season, but the real reason to back the Taipans is laid out plain and simple on the stat sheet.
Mike Kelly’s side shot 64% from the field in Game 1 whilst dominating the boards. The Taipans backed up that performance in Game 2 by holding the Wildcats to just 38% shooting from the field, which included a measly 15-point second quarter.
With the Taipans high on confidence (and momentum) following Sunday’s win, the +4.5 on Cairns is a nice piece of insurance to have.
Tip: Back the Taipans to Cover the Line (+4.5 Points) @ $1.90
Friday February 28, 9:30pm RAC Arena
Wildcats 108 - Taipans 107
The Wildcats will feel pretty good about themselves heading into Game 1 as they continue their title defence at home.
Perth is laying -6.0 at time of publish, but it appears the bookies haven’t factored in the Taipans’ strong record at RAC Arena over the last two seasons.
Cairns has won its last three trips to Perth, including an 88-84 victory over the defending champs back in December. The Taipans have also been a steady betting play at the line playing to a 15-12-1 record this year, making the underdogs a fairly worthwhile bet.
Cam Oliver has been outstanding against the Wildcats this year putting up two 20-point games, while the Taipans also held Perth to just 28% shooting from beyond the arc when they last met.
Considering this is the first time Cairns has featured in the finals since 2017, I expect this to be a very close and competitive game.
Tip: Back the Taipans to Cover the Line (+6.0 Points) @ $1.92
Saturday February 29, 7:30pm Qudos Bank Arena
Kings 86 - United 80
Another page in the Sydney and Melbourne rivalry will be written in the Semi’s as the Kings and United square off for the second year in a row.
Melbourne got the better of Sydney in this spot last year winning both games, but a lot has changed since then.
With their victory over the Hawks in Round 20, the Kings became the first team in the history of the competition to lead the ladder at the end of every round. Sydney has also been nearly untouchable at home this season losing only twice, which explains the short odds on offer.
The Kings have held Melbourne’s number for most of the season winning three of their four games, which includes a memorable 106-88 victory when these two sides got together last month.
Then again, United coach Dean Vickerman will be reminding his side of last years 14-point Semi-Final victory in Game 2 in Sydney, an effort Melbourne could easily repeat on plenty of rest.
It’s hard to see Melbourne winning this game in a tough road environment, but their 6-2 record as the line underdog against the Kings is worth paying attention to. After a pair of blowout victories in Round 20 to sneak into the finals, back United to keep momentum rolling.
Tip: Back Melbourne to Cover the Line (+6.0 Points) @ $1.92
Sunday March 1, 5:00pm Cairns Convention Centre
Taipans 85 - Wildcats 74
The Snakes get a second crack at the Wildcats on Sunday after a very close one-point shave on Friday night.
Cairns now find themselves in a must-win scenario, but they do have plenty to feel good about after taking Perth to the brink on their home court.
It’s always difficult to line up teams playing on such short rest, especially when it involves the reigning premiers. The Taipans do, however, own a pair of wins both at home and on the road against the Wildcats this year, so they’ll know this is a team they can beat.
The -3.5 about Cairns might seem a little risky, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the Wildcats haven’t played on the road since January 29.
Perth also finished the season just 8-6 away from home this year, so with some momentum to build on, take Cairns to get the job done.
Tip: Back the Taipans to Cover the Line (-3.5 Points) @ $1.90
The Top 4 is locked and loaded meaning we’re officially on the home-stretch as we look ahead to what should be a scintillating Semi-Finals round.
Perth finished the home/away season atop the NBL ladder, but can they stave off a fiery Brisbane Bullets side at home on Thursday night?
Meanwhile, Melbourne United hope to make it through to a second-straight Grand Final as they square off against the Sydney Kings.
So who’s worth your money ahead of the Grand Final? We’ve previewed all six games and our complete 2019 NBL Semi-Finals Preview can be found below.
Thursday February 28, 7:50pm Melbourne Arena
Bad news Kings fans – Melbourne United kick off their finals campaign at home on Thursday night.
Sydney haven’t defeated United in Melbourne since 2016, and to make matters worse, they’ve won just twice in their last 12 encounters.
As the home favourite Melbourne are 14-4 over the last 12 months, while the Kings own a less than favourable 5-11 record as the away underdog vs. Melbourne. Fortunately for the Kings, they roll into this game with some form on their side having defeated the Taipans by five-points last week, but it’s still tough to back against a Melbourne side that completely destroyed the Wildcats by 11-points.
The last time these sides met Sydney walked away with a blowout 97-85 win over United at home, while their last visit to Melbourne earlier in November resulted in a narrow two-point loss. If the Kings are to cause an upset they’ll need a big game from the league’s leading rebounder Andrew Bogut, but since Sydney have lost two of their last three home games, your best off sticking with Melbourne at home.
Tip: Back Melbourne United 1-10 @ $2.65
Thursday February 28, 10:20pm RAC Arena
An 11-point loss to Melbourne last week is hardly how you’d like to enter the finals, but the Wildcats have a huge chance to get things off on the right foot against the Bullets at home.
Perth have won their last four home games, three of which have been by eight-points or more. Brisbane, meanwhile, have lost their last three away games including a less than impressive 11-point loss to the lowly Taipans two weeks ago.
Brisbane snuck into the finals with a handy 36ers loss and a win over the Breakers last week, but are they contenders or pretenders in this semi-final round?
As the away underdog the Bullets are 2-4 against Perth, while the Wildcats hold a sturdy 11-3 record as the home favourite over the last 12-months. Brisbane haven’t won in Perth since 2017, and after showing so many inconsistencies over the last month, it’s difficult to see them pulling off an upset against a Perth side that has arguably been the best team all season.
Tip: Back the Wildcats to Cover The Line (-6.5 Points) @ $1.90
Saturday March 2nd, 2:50pm Brisbane Convention Center
Sunday March 3rd, 2:20pm Qudos Bank Arena
Monday March 4th, 9:50pm RAC Arena
Tuesday March 5th, 7:50pm Melbourne Arena
The 2018 NBL Semi-Finals and there are now only four teams left in contention for the NBL Championship.
Melbourne United finished on top of the NBL Ladder and they head into the Semi-Finals as favourites to win the title, but the Adelaide 36ers, Perth Wildcats and New Zealand Breakers have all played some excellent basketball at times this season.
We have had plenty of success with our NBL tips during the regular-season and we are confident that can continue with our 2018 NBL Semi-Finals tips.
New Zealand Breakers
Saturday March 3, 5:30pm, Hisense Arena
Melbourne United have been simply outstanding in the second half of the season ans they will start this clash with the New Zealand Breakers as dominant favourites.
Melbourne have won ten of their past 12 games and they have proven to be a highly profitable betting play in the NBL this season.
They have won 11 of their past 14 games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are 8-1-5 against the line in this scenario.
It was a poor end to the regular season for the New Zealand Breakers and they will go into this clash on the back of four straight losses.
New Zealand have won five of their past 12 games as away underdogs for a profit, but they are only 5-1-6 against the line in this scenario and they have been very tough to trust in recent weeks.
Melbourne United are the team to beat in the NBL Finals and they should prove too strong for the New Zealand Breakers.
Back Melbourne United To Beat The Line (-6.5 Points)
Saturday March 3, 7:30pm, Titanium Security Arena
The home side has won nine of the past ten games played between these two sides, so it is no real surprise that the Adelaide 36ers will start this clash as favourite.
Adelaide recorded a comfortable win over the Perth Wildcats the last time that these two teams did battle and they have won ten of their past 12 games.
The 36ers have won nine of their past 11 games as home favourites for clear profit and they are 8-3 against the line in this scenario.
Perth have won only one of their past four games and they have been a tough team to trust from a betting perspective in the second half of the season.
The Wildcats have won only two of their past five games as away underdogs and their record against the line isn’t any better.
Adelaide should win this clash and the line of 3.5 points will not be enough.
Back Adelaide United To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
Friday March 9, 9:30pm, Perth Arena
The Adelaide 36ers were nothing short of dominant against the Perth Wildcats in the opening game of this Semi-Final Series, but it is Perth that will start this clash as favourites.
Perth are always tough to beat in front of their home fans at Perth Arena and it is always tough to bet against them in this scenario.
The Wildcats have won nine of their past 14 games as home favourites and they have covered the line in each of these wins.
Adelaide could hardly have been more impressive last weekend and they head into this clash on the back of four massive wins.
The 36ers have now won six of their past 11 games as away underdogs for a profit, but winning in Perth has still proven tough for them.
The home side has now won ten of the past 11 fixtures played between these two outfits and Perth should be able to take this Series to a deciding clash.
Back Perth Wildcats To Beat The Line (-2.5 Points)
The 2017 NBL Semi-Finals are here and we are set for outstanding basketball over the next few years.
The Adelaide 36ers have been easily the best team in the NBL this season, but that counts for nothing once the NBL Finals hit and that face a tricky series against the Illawarra Hawks.
The Perth Wildcats kept their historic record of qualifying for NBL Finals Series’ alive and that will take on a Cairns Taipans outfit that has flown under the radar throughout the season!
Thursday February 23, 7:30pm, Titanium Security Arena
This is it – the winner of this clash will qualify for the 2017 NBL Grand Final Series, while the loser will be left to rue what is a missed opportunity.
The Adelaide 36ers have been the form team in the NBL throughout this season and it is no surprise that they will start this clash with the Illawarra Hawks as clear favourites.
Adelaide beat Illawarra by 15 points when they met at this very same venue a week ago and they have won nine of their past 12 games as home favourites for a big profit.
The Illawarra Hawks kept their Grand Final hopes alive with a fighting six point victory over the 36ers in front of their home fans at WIN Entertainment Centre, but their record away from home has not been as strong.
The Hawks have won only five of their past 15 games as away underdogs and they have an identical record against the line in this scenario.
Adelaide deserve to qualify for the NBL Grand Final and they should be able to keep their Championship hopes alive with an emphatic victory.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-4.5 Points)
Thursday February 16, 7:30pm, WIN Entertainment Centre
The Adelaide 36ers go into the NBL Finals on the back of four straight defeats, but they will still start this clash with the Illawarra Hawks as clear favourites.
Despite their recent struggles, the 36ers still have an excellent record in front of their home fans and they have won eight of their past 11 games as home favourites this season for a clear profit, while they are 7-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Hawks cemented their position in the NBL Finals with a dominant victory over the Brisbane Bullets and they will take confidence from the fact that they beat Adelaide just over a fortnight ago.
Illawarra have won only five of their past 15 games as away underdogs for a clear loss and their record against the line in this scenario is very poor.
Adelaide should be able to return to winning form in comfortable fashion and can cover the line of 4.5 points.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-4.5 Points)
Friday February 17, 7:30pm, Cairns Convention Centre
This is a very intriguing clash between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats.
Cairns head into the NBL Finals in excellent form having won six of their past seven clashes and they will start this clash as favourites.
The Taipans have won six of their past nine games as home favourites for a clear profit and their record in front of their home fans this season has been excellent.
Perth scored a thrilling victory over Melbourne United to cement their place in the NBL Finals and they are easily the teams with the most finals experience.
The Wildcats have won five of their past 14 games as away underdogs for a clear loss, but their record against the line in this scenario is excellent.
There has been very little between these two teams when they have squared off this season and I am happy to back the Wildcats with a start of 2.5 points.
Back Perth To Beat The Line (+2.5 Points)