It’s officially basketball season with the NBL starting up this Thursday night. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out our season preview and futures bets here.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new NBL team based in Melbourne this year (South East Melbourne Phoenix), and they’ll be taking on Melbourne United first up in what the league hopes will be the start of an exciting new rivalry. We preview that game and all the others taking place in Round 1 below and provide our best betting tips.
Good luck to everyone following us for the 2019-20 NBL season!
Melbourne United were last year’s runners-up and will kick off their new NBL campaign in the season-opening fixture. They made quite a few big changes to their roster in the off-season - losing Casper Ware and Josh Boone but picking up Melo Trimble and Shawn Long. Once again, United are expected to be competing at the business end of the season.
South East Melbourne Phoenix will make their debut in the NBL with a huge fixture against United. Led by Mitch Creek and Tai Wesley, Phoenix are expected by many to be a competitive outfit from the get-go, but it’s hard to know for sure until we see them in action on the big stage.
The new Phoenix roster will take a while to build chemistry, but United’s roster will also need time after their big shake up. It’s hard to know what to expect from the new kids on the block, but we're thinking Phoenix will be competitive and go down to their new rivals in a close one.
The Taipans will be hoping for a huge improvement this season after their tumultuous 2018-19 campaign. They went 6-22 last season to finish six wins clear at the bottom of the ladder. They’ll only bring back three players from last year’s roster, but a lack of star power is once again expected to be present.
The Kings were one of three teams to finish with a league-best 18-10 record last season and will be looking for more of the same this time around. They’ll be led by last season’s MVP in Andrew Bogut in the front court, while Casper Ware comes over from Melbourne United to lead the back court. The Kings are expected to go deep into the finals this year and anything less would be a disaster.
The Kings are the far more talented outfit here but will be on the road first up. The Taipans don’t have any big-name signings to suggest they’ll be super competitive this year, but we do expect them to put up a good fight in their opening game.
The Wildcats are the reigning champions and will be running it back with a similar core again this season. Led by Bryce Cotton and Terrico White, you can expect the Wildcats to feature in the finals again and should have every chance of repeating last season’s heroics.
United will be the first team to double up this season when they travel to Perth on Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see how they back up the quick turnaround, whether it be off a win or a loss. At the time of writing, we’re still yet to find out.
The Wildcats get a great opportunity to get their season underway with a win when they take on a new-look United side that will be playing their second game in three days. We have the Wildcats taking care of business in our value bet of the week.
The Hawks have probably the most intriguing roster of all nine teams. They boast plenty of young talent with the likes of Sam Froling and Lamelo Ball, and a few talented veterans in Josh Boone and Aaron Brooks. Lack of team chemistry may bite them early in the piece.
The Bullets are another interesting team that no one is quite sure what to expect from. Their roster isn’t the sexiest on paper, but they do have a superstar of the competition in Lamar Patterson who will dominant the highlight reel each and every week, as will new recruit and proven NBL talent, Nathan Sobey.
Another tough one to pick, although we do lean towards the Bullets. Patterson can lead his team to a win on his own, while the Hawks will be relying on a bunch of kids to produce in a grown man’s league.
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