After a week off for International qualification games the NBL returns this weekend for Round 8 action. We continued our terrific start to the 2018-19 season with four more winners from six games in Round 7, with the highlight being a $2.70 win on United 1-10. We’ll look to continue our hot form this weekend as we preview our best bet for the match of the round (Sydney Kings vs Perth Wildcats), as well as our top tip for all other games this weekend. Good luck to all following!
The first game of Round 8 features the Sydney Kings hosting the Perth Wildcats on Thursday night. The Kings come into this as one of the form teams in the competition, having won five of their last seven games, with their two losses both coming against the reigning champions in Melbourne United. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are the form team of the league and sit on top of the ladder with an incredible 10-1 record. These teams are yet to play each other this season, but will face off for the second time as early as next week.
In what we expect to be the match of the round, we see this one being extremely close from start to finish. The Wildcats have been the best team in the league this season at taking care of the ball, limiting their turnovers to an average of just 10 per game, while the Kings have been the best at shooting both field goals (49%) and three-pointer field goals (40%). On top of that, both teams are averaging over 90 points per game, which has them in the top half of the league. For these reasons, along with the fast pace we expect to see, we have this one going over the total points line.
The Taipans enter this game against the Hawks with a league worst 1-8 record. They’ve had so many opportunities to close out games when they’ve had a healthy lead but just continue to blow it. Meanwhile, the Hawks sit just one spot above them in second last, although they’re in much better shape with a 4-7 record.
We’re actually going to back in the Taipans at home here. The Hawks have been poor on the road this season at 1-5 and the Taipans have shown glimpses of improvement over the past couple of weeks. We feel they have a genuine opportunity to kickstart their season with a big win at home.
The Bullets come into their duel against United in reasonable touch after their 19 point win against the Hawks in their last outing. That win takes their season tally to 5-6, which at the moment is good enough for fourth position in the standings. Their opponents on Saturday afternoon are the defending champions, who strung together a four game winning streak and surged clear of the pack in second position.
Despite the fire power of United, we really like the Bullets at home. They’re extremely well coached and we expect them to be up for the fight here. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them get the win, so we’re more than happy to take the 3.5 point start on offer.
The Breakers will be looking to snap a four game losing streak when they host the Kings on Sunday. After a decent start, they’ve really fallen away and find themselves just percentage above the Hawks in second last. Meanwhile, the Kings will be playing their second game of the week after their blockbuster game against the Wildcats on Thursday night.
The Kings have been dealt a brutal draw here and we’re not sure they have the depth to overcome it. They’ll also be coming up against a salty Breakers outfit who will be desperate to get back on the winners list and back into finals contention. We have the Breakers getting the job done here.
We see the 36ers for the first time in Round 8 on Sunday when they host the Hawks in Adelaide. The 36ers have disappointed us so far this season, looking nothing like the team that pushed United to final moments of the 2017-18 Grand Final series. They’re currently in fifth place with a record of 5-7. The Hawks will be playing their second road game of the week here, continuing their brutal schedule to start the season.
We expect fatigue to be an issue for the Hawks in this one. The 36ers push the pace and play faster than any team in the league, which will be a huge advantage for them at home. If they can get their running game going early, we expect a big win for the 36ers.
The Wildcats will play their second game of Round 8 at home in what will be a top vs bottom of the ladder clash with the Taipans. The Wildcats will return home where they are 6-0 this season, while the Taipans will hit the road where they are 1-4.
There’s not too much to say about this one as it looks like one of the more one-sided contests we’ll see this season. Not terribly interested in recommending a play here, but if anything I’ll have a Wildcat double-digit win at near even odds.
The final match of the round features United and the Bullets for the second time this week, but in a reverse fixture. United have taken care of business at home really well in recent times and have put together an impressive 6-1 record there this season. On the other hand, the Bullets notoriously travel poorly and have managed two wins from six tries on the road this season.
Like the match prior, we expect home court advantage to be huge here. United always get a great crowd at Hisense, making it a nightmare for opposition teams to visit. We expect them to increase their home record to 7-1 with a comfortable win on Monday night.
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