The greatest season in the history of Australia’s number one basketball league has reached its pinnacle with the NBL Grand Final series set to begin very shortly. After a couple of semi-finals series that were nothing short of controversial, we can now strap ourselves in for what promises to be an epic best-of-five (BO5) series between the Sydney Kings and the Perth Wildcats. Below, we’ve provided our best bet for the series and we’ll also be adding our best bets for each game of the series as the odds become available. As always, we wish you all the best of luck if following. Now let’s get stuck into it!
The two best teams from the regular season have been able to negotiate their way through tough semi-finals series to give themselves a shot at the title. Due to their superior regular season record, the Kings have earned home court advantage in this BO5 series that will kick off on Sunday, 8th of March at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.
The Kings were less than convincing in their semi-final triumph over a spirited Melbourne United outfit that exposed a couple of the Kings weaknesses. In many respects, the Kings were extremely lucky to survive in Game 3 and arguably had the referees to thank for it, such was the foul count discrepancy. Meanwhile, the Wildcats experience in the playoffs was in full display in the deciding match of their semi-final tie against the Taipans. They upped the pressure on defence and kept the opposing stars quiet enough to get the job done despite a very poor shooting night from MVP Bryce Cotton (2-16 FG).
The home team usually gets the job done in the NBL finals, but the experience of the Wildcats in these conditions will give them every chance of taking it out. For us, we’re prepared to back in the Wildcats to go back to back and make it four championships from the past six years. They have the better team and have a roster that is suited for high pressure situations, so they’re the better value play in our opinion.
Sunday 5pm AEDT, Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
It’s a quick turnaround for both teams after playing their semi-finals decider on Thursday night, which at least means they’re on a level playing field ahead of Game 1 on Sunday night. The Kings certainly have the more pressure of the two sides after such a mediocre display in their tie against Melbourne, which they were extremely lucky to get out of. On the other hand, the Wildcats were dynamic in their most recent game and were able to get last year’s Grand Final MVP in Terrico White up and going with 26 points. We predict that White will put in another big performance in Game 1 of this year’s Grand Final series en route to a close win on the road for the Wildcats.
Friday 9:30pm AEDT, RAC Arena, Perth
The Wildcats were the deserving winners of Game 1 of this best-of-five (BO5) Grand Final series. Bryce Cotton came out of the blocks firing and put his team on his back with a huge 32 points on 50% shooting. Meanwhile, Cotton’s opposite number in Casper Ware was horrible… again. He’s had one of the poorest finals series of a superstar that we can remember and his five points on 1/14 shooting in Game 1 was a disgrace. On the flip side, a huge positive for the Kings was the play of Andrew Bogut who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Bogut was thoroughly outplayed in the semis by Shawn Long, so it was good to see him bounce back against a quality opponent in Miles Plumlee. Likewise, Kevin Lisch’s 17 points on 4/6 shooting from three was another welcome sign after what has been a really difficult campaign for the former MVP.
We now head to Perth for Game 2 of this BO5 series that the Wildcats now hold home court advantage in. We know what we’re going to get from the Wildcats on their home deck in a Grand Final, so for the most part the outcome of this game will be decided by what type of Kings outfit turns up to play, and, quite frankly, a lot of what the Kings produce relies on the form of Casper Ware. In our opinion, there’s obviously something wrong with Ware at the moment, whether it be physical or mental (or both), and if the Kings are any chance of winning this Grand Final series, then something needs to change ASAP. From what we’ve seen in the four finals games that these teams have played so far, anything other than a Wildcats win would be a big surprise in Game 2.
Sunday 5pm AEDT, Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
This best-of-five Grand Final series is now tied at 1-1 after the Kings bounced back from a disappointing home loss in Game 1 to defeat the Wildcats by a convincing 14 points in Game 2. It was a really weird atmosphere with no one from the general public allowed to watch on at RAC Arena and it will be the same for Game 3 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. While no ‘Red Army’ in the stands would’ve clearly helped the Kings in their Game 2 road win, we believe it was the adjustments they made from their loss that was the biggest factor. Led by Andrew Bogut (19 points, 13 rebounds), the Kings relentlessly attacked the basket and not even Bryce Cotton (27 points) could stop the Kings on their way to a rather comfortable wire-to-wire win on the road.
We’re back in Sydney for Game 3 of this BO5 series and the Kings will start as the firm favourites on the back of their success on Friday night. They were impressive in the way they were able to get it done despite another really quiet performance from Casper Ware (eight points) who led them in scoring in the regular season. Like the Kings did in Game 2, we expect the Wildcats to make some adjustments in Game 3. Expect Trevor Gleeson to throw some different looks at Andrew Bogut early to mess with a bit of their rhythm and for the Wildcats to come out of the blocks firing to give themselves a good chance of regaining the lead in the series.
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