The 2021 NBL Grand Final series between Melbourne United and the Perth Wildcats continues on Frida night with Game 3. Catch our match prediction and best player prop bet for this huge clash right here!
John Cain Arena, Friday 7:30pm (AEST)
After two gritty and determined wins on the road, Melbourne United now get to return home for Game 3 up 2-0 in this best-of-five series with one hand already on the championship trophy. One thing you can guarantee however, is that the Perth Wildcats won’t go down without a fight.
The defending champions took the initiative early in Game 1 to lead by four points at the main break, but it was all United after halftime, particularly in the third quarter where they outscored the Wildcats 29-18 to set up the win. Game 2 followed a similar path with the home side going up by double-digits early, but again United gained control as the game progressed and were able to run home pretty comfortable winners to take both games on the road and a stranglehold on the Grand Final series.
The Perth Wildcats were always going to find it tough to match it with United with all their injury problems they’re facing. MVP Bryce Cotton was ruled out with a leg injury prior to the start of the finals, while Mitch Norton, Clint Steindl and Luke Travers are all also banged up and all three are questionable for Game 3. On a positive note, John Mooney (17 points, 8-15 FG) found his stroke in Game 2 and Kevin White has been great off the bench.
Melbourne United only scraped through their semi-finals series with the Phoenix despite being a dominant force throughout the entire regular season; however, they’ve looked more like themselves in the Grand Final series to date and have been getting fantastic contributions from their key guys, particularly Jock Landale and Chris Goulding who have been carrying the scoring load between them for the most part.
It’s clear for everyone to see that Melbourne United are by the more talented team in this series, especially with Bryce Cotton ruled out. The Wildcats offence has struggled mightily through two games with scores of just 70 and 74 points. With all of that said, the Wildcats got within nine points in Game 2 despite their best scorer in Todd Blanchfield shooting a despicable 3-19 from the floor and 0-10 on his three-point attempts. With some natural improvement from him and the season on the line for his team as a whole, we expect to see a big fight from the underdogs that will have them cover this large 8.5-point spread on the road and potentially extend this series.
Todd Blanchfield exploded in Game 1 of this series with 27 points on 7-15 shooting, but as we mentioned above, he really struggled in Game 2 with just 13 points. As disappointing as his performance in the second game was, Blanchfield still put up 19 shots and is their only reliable option on offence with all of their injuries. Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson mentioned after Game 2 that Blanchfield was constantly getting fouled without getting any whistles from the referees, so we expect a few more calls to go his way in Game 3, which will certainly help his and his team’s cause. As a result, we’re happy to back him in to score 20+ points on Friday at nice odds.
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