With the NBL possessing the most talent it ever has entering a new season, the 2018-19 season is set to be an exciting one. It all tips off this Thursday night and it promises plenty – and should deliver even more. The first round is always a tough one for punters, but our experts think they’ve found some winners.
Final Thoughts: Week One of the NBL season kicks off with the Breakers at home to the Bullets, with the home side heading in strong favourites. The Breakers welcome back club legend Mika Vukona who shifted to the Bullets in the off season, but it looks unlikely this will be a happy home coming. The Bullets have managed just one win in their last seven including all four in Auckland. Brisbane finished last season at the bottom of the table and had very little positive news on the recruitment front, so expect this one to go with the home team.
Final Thoughts: The 36er & Wildcats games were the highlight of last season, with plenty of spice, plenty of ejections and a couple of blow outs as both sides fought for finals. The 36ers looked pretty good in their friendly against the Utah Jazz until they fell away in the last quarter. The loss of Mitch Creek to the NBA will leave a big hole for the 36ers and the likes of Nathan Sobey must step up. The Wildcats slow start cost them a friendly win against the Denver Nuggets in a typically dire Wildcats outing this week. Unfortunately their form against the Jazz was nothing short of horrendous (a 58 point loss). This one could be a question of who recovers better after a short turnaround and long travel.
Tip: Under 183.5 @ $1.84
Final Thoughts: The reigning premiers visit the Hawks and will look to start their season off against a Hawks line up they’ve taken care of 8 of the last 11. Without Casey Prather, United are unlikely to be the dominant team of last year, but they still have class in Casper Ware, Chris Goulding and company. The Hawks have been busy beavers over the break, but we’re not sure its enough to get the to the top of the tree. Expect a pretty uninspiring one to start the season.
Tip: United – WIN @ $1.60
Final Thoughts: The biggest recruit in NBL history has to have a positive effect on a side that started last season 15 weeks late right? Andrew Bogut should play a big part in turning around a Kings outfit who were the form team of the back third of last season. Adelaide will be back up after a two day turnaround, on the back of a trip back from the USA and will be missing Mitch Creek to match up with Bogut. Expect a dominant display from the big man who looks fit and ready to go.
Tip: Kings -6.5 @ $1.86
Final Thoughts: The Bullets and Taipans games are not what you’d call inspiring basketball with their last four games producing less than 161 points each time, but wholesale changes could change all of that. A revolving door seems to have been installed on each locker room and will take some time to bed down, but the Bullets tend to have the advantage, winning their last three at home to the snakes. Not an easy one to tip, so we’re headed for the home court advantage.
Final Thoughts: United welcome the Breakers to Melbourne after running a 4 and 1 tab against the NZ side in 2018. Expected to fill one of the finalist position by season end, they should take care of the Breakers. United strength on the outside will have to overcome the Breakers inside strength so expect Ware & Goulding to score heavily, while big Josh Boone will have to work hard against former team mate Tai Wesley. This will be closer than we think but we’ll just take the WIN bet.
Tip: United – Win @ $1.35
Final Thoughts: We’re skeptical on what the Hawks can produce this year, let alone in the fortress that is RAC Arena in Perth. The Hawks high roster turnover against the Wildcats consistent core and last seasons MVP Bryce Cotton will make this a trip for the frequent flyer points. Add in that the Hawks haven’t won in Perth since 2016, as well as a suspect decision for the Hawks pre-season to take on sub par competitors compared to the Wildcats and all championship points look headed to Perth.