The penultimate round of the NBL24 regular season begins on Friday night with the New Zealand Breakers hosting the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena. This is a huge game for both teams and as always, we have a full breakdown and best bet for you below!
Also, we’re providing previews and expert betting tips for every game of the NBL24 season, so make sure to head over to our NBL Tips page regularly to keep up to date with all of our content.
NBL24 Round 19 Preview & Betting Tips
New Zealand Breakers vs Illawarra Hawks
Friday 5:30pm AEDT, February 9th, Spark Arena
The New Zealand Breakers have been one of the best performing teams in the second half the season and a lot of that is simply due to them getting healthy. They’ve won seven of their 11 games from Round 11 onwards and come into Round 19 also having won three of their past four games. As a result, the Breakers are now in the box seat to secure what was once an unlikely finals berth in NBL24.
Most recently, the Breakers managed to pass arguably the toughest test in the competition in defeating the Wildcats in Perth. Impressively, they lead at the end of each quarter and never truly looked out of control of the game. Unfortunately, the win came at a big cost with star import Anthony Lamb rupturing his Achilles which will sideline him for the rest of the season.
Also in terrific form in the second half of the season are the Illawarra Hawks. They struck gold by making the coaching change that saw Justin Tatum takeover and haven’t looked back since. The Hawks have won 10/15 games under Tatum which includes wins in each of their past three outings. They’re now fourth in the standings and will need to win only one or two of their last four games to secure post-season action.
The Hawks had the homecourt advantage in their last two games and certainly made the most of it. Their most recent victim were the Bullets in Round 18 who they had to fight hard against for three-and-a-half quarters, but eventually pulled away from to win by 13 points on the back of some stifling defence down the stretch.
Match prediction: These clubs have met twice this season, once in Wollongong and once in Auckland and interestingly, the Hawks came out on top on both occasions. Their most recent encounter was less than two weeks ago in the ‘Gong, where the Hawks stormed home in the fourth quarter to win by four points (89-85).
Despite their lack of success in this matchup this season, the Breakers deserve to be priced as the favourites, particularly on their home deck. The loss of Lamb does hurt a touch, but the Breakers have a level of depth that only Melbourne United can match. And in a huge game for last season’s runners-up, I expect a big performance from the Breakers here.
New Zealand Breakers -2.5
$1.90 (2 Units)