The following are previews with betting tips for each Semifinal Game One of the 2021/22 NBL season.
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This past NBL season has been nothing short of incredible. From the ‘Jackies’ historic rise and Adelaide’s late campaign fighting spirit through to the scintillatingly brilliant playmaking and scoring of Jaylen Adams and Bryce Cotton. Whilst Matthew Dellavedova’s return to the league, a former Championship victor with the Cleveland Cavaliers, drew eyes from all over. New Zealand also competed hard, whilst Brian Goorjian was as entertaining and as animated as ever, pacing up and down the sidelines. Now the playoffs start however, with the might of the first-seeded Melbourne United playing the underdog and fourth-seeded Tasmania JackJumpers. While the second-placed Illawarra Hawks host rivals and the third-placed Sydney Kings in what is bound to be a testy finals series. In the words of the NBL, welcome to the final level, because it’s win or go home!
Melbourne United vs Tasmania JackJumpers
Thursday Apr 28, 7:30pm
John Cain Arena
To Melbourne United’s credit they overcame the rest of the top three to become top dog for the regular season under the watchful guidance of Dean Vickerman. And whilst Matthew ‘Delly’ Dellavedova’s arrival in Victoria certainly added a dynamic style of playing to the team, it’s in-fact Sudanese big-man Jo Lual-Acuil Jr who they can thank for a lot of their successes so far this season. The 2021 NBL Champion and current top three MVP candidate averaged 16.6PPG, 1.5APG, 9.2RPG, 0.5SPG and 2.1BPG over the course of the campaign. In particular, he was a menace close to the rim, shooting 56.4% from inside the arc. Meanwhile Chris Goulding and his 15.2PPG, alongside the emergence of stars such as Caleb Agada, the Nigerian/Canadian participating in his debut NBL season and others helped propel United forward as the season went along.
For Tasmania, it’s impossible to ignore head coach Scott Roth’s pure and unwavering passion on the sidelines. From the way in which he addressed the home crowd at MyState Bank Arena after his sides first ever game, which was an incredible 83-74 victory over the Brisbane Bullets, through to the present, the man is/has been symbolic of all that is great about Tasmania’s debut campaign. There’s also been the dynamic Guard duo of Josh Magette and Josh Adams too. Both men displayed Steph Curry-esque range throughout the regular season, with Alabama-born Magette averaging 12.2PPG, along with 5.9APG. Meanwhile for the Arizona-born Adams, he secured 16.6PPG and 2.1APG. With each of them having an incredibly influential on-court impact. However, the job wasn’t done alone, with the likes of experienced veterans such as Jarred Bairstow, Will Magnay, Jarrad Weeks, Clint Steindl and Jack McVeigh also fashioning meaningful contributors to the season in which absolutely no one saw coming.
In these two sides latest meeting in Tasmania, it was the ‘Jackies’ who got up 83-61, however Melbourne in preparation for the finals and possibly other reasons (if you know, you know), were resting several key players. However, that’s absolutely not to take away from the performance of MiKyle McIntosh off the bench as it was truly something to behold, as he shot 9/17 from the floor for 20PTS, 3REB, 2AST and 2STL. Meanwhile Caleb Agada had himself a day too, shooting 7/12 from two-point range and 5/5 from the FT line for 22PTS, alongside 8REB, 1AST and 2STL.
Prior to that clash however it was a different story, with United having won five straight matches and seven of nine overall. That doesn’t at all diminish however what Tasmania achieved, winning four straight and seven of nine. Meaning this match should be a hell of a lot closer than what most people think it will be. However, an All-Australian, silky backcourt duo of Matthew Dellavedova & Chris Goulding, along with the threating inside presence of Jo Lual-Acuil Jr means that they should take the cake in this encounter … just.
THE NBL FINALS ARE BACKKK!!!
Betting tips: Pick United to win this clash at $1.38 (Bet365)
Also look for them to start off strongly and win Q1 at $1.57 (Bet365)
Also don’t be afraid to back United to fashion over 84.5PTS at $1.52 (Bet365)
Whilst for Tasmania you can pick them to score over 74.5PTS at $1.26 (Bet365)
Illawarra Hawks vs Sydney Kings
Friday Apr 29, 7:30pm
WIN Entertainment Centre
Illawarra don’t have the biggest cheque book in the NBL, in-fact far from it, but their passion, their play and their skills were evidently nothing to be scoffed at, finishing behind only Melbourne as they locked down 19/28 wins on the regular season. Electric PG Tyler Harvey was a major key to it all, as he usually is, averaging 16.1PPG, 3.1RPG, 3.3APG and 1.7SPG. His on-court demeanour meaning the opposition could never take a night off. Whilst in their most recent clash, their season defining 87-84 win over Sydney at Qudos Bank Arena, he had 15PTS, four threes and 3STL to his name. Fellow Guard Justinian Jessup also backed up this campaign with 13.5PPG and 1.6APG. Tennessee-born Antonius Cleveland also caused headaches for Brian Goorjian, with the Guard securing 14.1PPG, 2.3APG and a humungous 6.4RPG. Duop Reath isn’t to be forgotten either, amongst a host of other players who have thus far helped make Illawarra’s season a fairy tale one to remember.
For the Kings, their historic thirteen-match winning streak will long live on as one of their greatest moments in regular season history. They toppled the Hawks during that run, via a huge 33PTS from Dejan Vasiljevic, whilst also beating the dreaded, or not so much anymore Wildcats twice. Chase Buford has worked wonders with this team, and it shows, as last season they missed the final four entirely. Jaylen Adams has been a crucial part of the project, as he put up 20.1PPG, 6.1APG, 5.1RPG and 1.2SPG. Meanwhile NBL-experienced stars such as Xavier Cooks, 15.3PPG and 9.8RPG or Jarell Martin, 16.0PPG and 8.0RPG weren’t afraid to get down and dirty. The emergence of the Maker’s, Makur & Matur was also something to behold, as their length and athleticism had the opposition in stitches whenever they featured on the court. Despite ceding home court advantage to their rivals, the pesky Hawks, things are far from over for Sydney yet.
In Illawarra’s latest victory over Sydney, they etched out the encounter by just three-points in Homebush. And as per usual, the match wasn’t without its drama either, as a late Ian Clarke three-pointer was ruled out as his foot was on the line. If ruled as in, the game would’ve been sent into ET (insert staring eyes emoji here). Justinian Jessup ruled the roost hitting some big shots en route to 24PTS, 3REB, 2AST and 2BLK. Whilst Antonius Cleveland poured in 18PTS + 6REB, 2AST and 3STL. Tyler Harvey also had 15PTS and Duop Reath 12PTS. Meanwhile the Kings were led by Xavier Cooks, who produced a simply ruthless performance with 20PTS, 14REB, 3AST, 1STL and 1BLK.
From the after mentioned Ian Clarke three-point blunder, to the all-in brawl that occurred earlier on in the season featuring former Hawk and current King Angus Glover, it’s pretty safe to say there’s a strong hatred between these two teams. Only further pinpointed by a certain Hawks comments post game, addressing a predominantly Kings-supporting crowd, noting that he didn’t really care what their supporter base thought about the matchup. And with Jaylen Adams highly likely returning to the starting five for Sydney, we’re in for one bountiful affair, for better or for worse.
THE NBL FINALS ARE BACKKK!!!
Betting tips: Look for the Kings to take out G1 at $2.05 (Bet365)
Also look for them to steal Q1 and win it at $1.95 (Bet365)
Also within H1, pick Sydney to reach 25 and 30PTS first at $1.87 and $1.90 (Bet365)
Also back both sides to each score 40+ PTS in H1 at $1.80 (Bet365)
Best bets of Game One:
Melbourne vs Tasmania – Pick United to win this clash at $1.38 (Bet365)
Illawarra vs Sydney – Back both sides to each score 40+ PTS in H1 at $1.80 (Bet365)