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NBL 2021 season preview – Can anyone stop Melbourne United?

NBL betting preview for the 2021 season - All teams

We welcome the NBL back with open arms as the Australian basketball league makes its long-awaited return following its most successful year in history.

The NBL will finally start this week after being pushed back from it’s usual starting date in October, as NBL owner and executive chairman, Larry Kestelman, wanted as many fans as possible to attend matches.

Following the popular season where NBA draftees LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton stole the show, the NBL has built an even bigger fanbase, with more NBA draft hopefuls taking their talents down under.

With multiple hubs and a covid-safe environment put in place, the league is ready to go for the 43rd NBL season.

Our NBL betting expert has examined the teams and give insight into each ahead of the first game of the season on Sunday, January 10.


Adelaide 36ers


Coach: Conner Henry

Captain: TBA

NBL title odds: $26 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Josh Giddey

Starting as the biggest outsiders in the outright title winner market, the Adelaide 36ers haven’t garnered much attention from online bookmakers.

A lack of depth will hurt the 36ers as the season goes on, but there’s still plenty to like about the South Australian franchise, especially two of their younger stars.

Working under the tutorage of NBL veteran, Daniel Johnson, Isaac Humphries will develop into a very strong centre, already showing he has what it takes in a preseason contest with 12 rebounds.

Josh Giddey is one of the most exciting Australian basketball prospect in the world right now, as the 202cm point guard averages good numbers in points, rebounds and assists, while being similar to LaMelo Ball in size.



Brisbane Bullets


Coach: Andrej Lemanis

Captain: TBA

NBL title odds: $19 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Nathan Sobey

Brisbane Bullets fans will be highly disappointed in the franchise for not holding on to Lamar Patterson, who carried the team during the 2019/20 season.

Patterson will join the New Zealand Breakers this season, leaving a massive void at the Bullets, as he led the team in assists and nearly lead the league in points.

The silver lining of the situation will be the extended minutes for other players, especially Nathan Sobey who will get a chance to run the floor.

Sobey averaged 3.4 assists per game last season in a productive Brisbane team, which should rise drastically as he becomes the first option on offense.


Cairns Taipans


Coach: Mike Kelly

Captain: Scott Machado

NBL title odds: $3.75 with Sportsbet 

Player to watch: Scott Machado

After getting knocked out by the eventual winners in the 2019-20 finals, the Taipans are looking for redemption this season, starting off as the second shortest favourite to win the championship.

Scott Machado is an obvious star that stood out amongst his peers and was awarded the fan’s MVP, averaging a league-high 7.9 assists, he led the way on offence and made the Taipans relevant.

Opposition clubs struggled to knock off Cairns on their home deck, as coach of the year Mike Kelly implemented a very strong strategy.

Cameron Oliver had a brilliant first season at ‘The Snake Pit’, where the 24-year-old is set to expand his game even further.


The Hawks


Coach: Brian Goorjian

Captain: Andrew Ogilvy

NBL title odds: $17 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Justinian Jessup

A lot has changed in last year for The Hawks, as they changed from the Illawarra Hawks to just The Hawks, expanding beyond the Illawarra area.

LaMelo Ball gave Hawks’ fans plenty to cheer for last season, winning the Rookie-of-the-Year award with his flair and natural talent.

As we said, a lot has changed now as the Hawks obviously lose Ball and the club has changed its brand slightly.

Look out for Justinian Jessup who has already been drafted by NBA team the Golden State Warriors. The shooting guard is looking to impress this season before transitioning into the NBA.


Melbourne United


Coach: Dean Vickerman

Captain: Chris Goulding

NBL title odds: $3.25 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Jack White

Every season the Melbourne United squad manages to stay together and push for the finals, and maybe 2021 will be their year.

Chris Goulding has led from the forefront for years now, with his international experience and skill allowing him to dominate the Australian competition.

After floating around the NBA scene for multiple years, Scotty Hopson will accept his place in United’s rotation, where the shooting guard will be an interesting import to follow.

Jack White will join the squad after finishing his stint at Duke. The former teammate of Zion Williamson was a very sound college player in America and should thrive for United.


New Zealand Breakers


Coach: Dan Shamir

Captain: Thomas Abercrombie

NBL title odds: $5 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Lamar Patterson

We love the look of the New Zealand Breakers this season after the acquisition of Lamar Patterson, who brings a brilliant all-round game to any side.

The Breakers’ skipper Abercrombie can match anyone when it comes to experience, with more than 10 years of basketball under his belt, he’s a good calm head to have leading the side.

Despite not making the finals last year, the Breakers stormed home with pace, winning their last four matches of the season.
Any side with Lamar Patterson instantly becomes a threat, and since the Breakers already established a strong platform, he only adds to their impressive list.


Perth Wildcats


Coach: Trevor Gleeson

Captain: TBA

NBL title odds: $10 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Bryce Cotton

You cannot ignore the Perth Wildcats when it comes to the NBL, as they won last season’s championship and are in the frame again this year with the top betting sites.

The best player in the NBL last season was the illusive Bryce Cotton, who led the league in points scored and steals per game.

Winning the league MVP award, Cotton took the Wildcats all the way to the finals, where he also took home the finals MVP trophy.
John Mooney has looked good in the preseason matches and should translate that effort into the regular season, providing another option besides Cotton.


South East Melbourne Phoenix


Coach: Simon Mitchell

Captain: Adam Gibson, Kyle Adnam, Mitch Creek

NBL title odds: $10 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Reuben Te Rangi

Most teams are yet to announce their captains, but the SEM Phoenix already have three men sharing the load this season.

Mitch Creek is one of the premier players in the competition and should not be underestimated, since he has matched it with many players on the international stage.

Reuben Te Rangi is an interesting acquisition after moving from the Brisbane Bullets, as his numbers have been solid when he gets good minutes.


Sydney Kings


Coach: Adam Forde

Captain: Daniel Kickert

NBL title odds: $10 with Sportsbet

Player to watch: Marcos Louzada Silva (Didi)

The retirement of Andrew Bogut and moving of head coach Andrew Gaze opens up a new era for the Sydney Kings.

Casper Ware and Craig Moller are genuine veterans of the league now and excellent contributors, but the new addition of Marcos Louzada Silva is the most exciting aspect.

Known as Didi, Louzada Silva is currently listed by the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA, but will play out this season for the Kings, looking to make a big impact before transitioning into the big league.

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