The following are previews with betting tips for selected fixtures in Round 21 of the 2021/22 NBL season.
Cairns Taipans vs Sydney Kings
Thursday Apr 21, 7:30pm
With the regular season drawing to a close, it’s the Taipans taking on the Kings, in what promises to be an extremely freezing battle at the Cairns Convention Centre. Not only is recent 20-piece PG Ben Ayre going head-to-head against the might of sure-fire top three MVP pick Jaylen Adams, but ex-Sydney head coach turned top Snake Adam Forde will be facing his former employers from the sidelines. The 4X NBL Champion assistant coach was a part of the Homebush-based organisation from 2019-2021 and ever so nearly led an injury ravaged Kings squad to a Top Four berth during his lone campaign as their head coach. Now at the Taipans the budget is tighter, but the spirit is still the same, as 3X Premier League Champion and 13.7PPG on the season scorer Majok Deng and the in-form Keanu Pinder attempt to rattle this seasons NBL championship-winning favourites. Despite it being second-last vs second on the ladder, it’s still guaranteed to be one hell of a battle.
Playing away at the John Cain Arena, the Taipans were relentless last round, but fell down just at the end, losing to Melbourne 92-80. Despite that Cairns still won Q4, 27-24 and lost Q1 by just one-point, 19-18, as they weren’t afraid to really give it to the hosts early on. Outside of Ben Ayre’s 20PTS, he also secured 4REB, 10AST and 3STL. While for Majok Deng he shot 6/10 from the floor, contributing strongly to his 16PTS, to go along with 4REB and 1BLK. Keanu Pinder meanwhile also shot 6/10 en route to 15PTS, 9REB, 2AST and 1STL.
As for Sydney they just weren’t good enough as their twelve-match winning streak was snapped by Adelaide, 90-82 at Qudos Bank Arena. A 28-21 Q4 effort from Adelaide was enough to see them through, as Jaylen Adams posted a massive 28PTS and Xavier Cooks, 21PTS. Cooks also had a cool fourteen-boards to add to his collection, while Makur Maker, starting in the absence of Jarell Martin, collected 15PTS, 7REB and 1BLK. In what was ultimately a solid, but not good enough effort from the Kings.
Betting tips: Back the Kings to claim a ‘royal’ victory at $1.35 (Bet365)
However you can also look for Ian Clark to score under 14.5PTS at $1.80 and for Dejan Vasiljevic to score over 15.5PTS at $2.05 (Bet365)
Also look to Sydney to fashion the games highest scoring quarter at $1.65 (Bet365)
South East Melbourne Phoenix vs Adelaide 36ers
Friday Apr 22, 7:30pm
South East Melbourne currently have a 13-13 record this season, while Adelaide, despite their surprisingly electric back-to-back victories over Sydney and Perth, each away from home, still are at just 9-17. So, with Playoffs Basketball virtually a non-guarantee for the Phoenix and having completely vanished for the 36ers, hopefully we should play witness to a more free-flowing and enjoyable type of affair right here, with no constraints being placed on either team. 216cm tall Centre Zhou Qi and potent Forward Daniel Johnson could be the prime benefactors of that ‘loose’ gameplan. Expect the two vastly different, yet crazily talented big men to gobble up the loose boards in this match, whilst 10PTS+ from each man wouldn’t be the most obscure thing to happen either. With South East Melbourne’s chances dashed, Qi should perhaps see more ball if the likes of Mitch Creek takes a rest, while Johnson as always will be out there providing valuable leadership to his somewhat inexperienced team. That battle alone makes this encounter worth tuning into.
There’s a strong argument to be made that the 36ers should deservedly start as favourites for this clash, given their hot streak as of late. In their late surge over the Kings, they eventually saw out the clash via an eight-point win, something that not even the most loyal of Adelaide supporters would’ve predicted pre-match.
Dusty Hannahs had what was perhaps his best game in an Adelaide uniform yet, shooting 9/17 off the bench for 22PTS. While he also bagged 2REBS and 4AST in just under 27-minutes of playing time. Outside of him and also coming off the pine, Isaac Gattorna posted 10PTS, Tad Dufelmeier 8PTS and Kai Sotto 7PTS. Mitch McCarron also had 7PTS and 7REB, while Daniel Johnson locked down 16PTS and 12REB. And Sunday Dech got 11PTS and four-boards. Another team-orientated performance such as this one and there’s no reason that they can’t add the Phoenix to their recent win streak victims too.
Betting tips: Back the Phoenix to edge this one out at $1.58 (Bet365)
Also back them to come out triumphant come the end of Q1 at $1.68 (Bet365)
Also look for South East Melbourne to reach 20PTS and 40PTS first (each within H1) at $1.67 and $1.77 respectively (Bet365)
Perth Wildcats vs Illawarra Hawks
Friday Apr 22, 9:30pm
A win for Perth would keep their historical post season run alive for yet another campaign, while a triumph for Illawarra would see them go on equal wins with the 2nd placed Kings, so suffice to say there’s a lot to play for here. This affair could throw up anything as the Wildcats have been silenced lately at the RAC Arena, having been defeated in four of their past six outings there. Whilst the Hawks have won just three of their last fifteen head-to-heads against the Wildcats, as they’ve constantly been pulled down instead of flying away.
However, this is the sort of game where the stars stand up and show what type of mettle they have, so expect the likes of Bryce Cotton & Vic Law and Tyler Harvey & Duop Reath to ball out in this feisty matchup. All the stars are present for this ballistic game of NBL Basketball, and it simply cannot be missed. Cotton in his last clash came up with five threes and 22PTS in what was a 19-point win over Cairns. While he also produced 1REB, 10AST and 2STL. Whilst Law was similarly damaging with three threes + 17PTS, 3REB, 2AST and 1BLK. Meanwhile for the Hawks, despite being edged by five-points to Sydney at the WIN Entertainment Centre, Harvey still exploded for 35PTS on 16/26 shooting! To go along with 6REB, 5AST and 2STL. And Reath shot 6/8 from the floor, which was good for 17PTS + 4REB and three-dimes.
This matchup will have it all, the talent, the aggression, the sweat of desperation and the pure and undying will to be victorious. MARK IT DOWN! This will be one of the GAMES OF THE SEASON!
Betting tips: Pick Illawarra to prevail at $1.91 (Bet365)
However, look to the Wildcats to have the games highest scoring quarter at $2.10 (Bet365)
And also look for each team to reach over 81.5PTS throughout the course of the game at $1.31 respectively (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round:
Look for Tasmania to cause a ruckus in their all-crucial game against Melbourne with a vital win at $1.47 (Sportsbet)
Additionally, pick the total combined points scored within Cairns vs Sydney to be odd at $1.91 (Sportsbet)
Also look for the Kings to win Q4 at $1.66 (Sportsbet)