Adelaide 36ers vs. Melbourne United. Friday, January 22, 7:30pm
MELBOURNE United have played some big games this season, but none more important than this Saturday’s clash against the Adelaide 36ers.
Melbourne sit atop of the NBL ladder on 16 wins from 23 games and they have put their mid-season struggles well behind them. The road hasn’t been as easy for Adelaide, which has been outside the top four for most of the season.
Thanks to four consecutive losses from the New Zealand Breakers, the 36ers now sit in fourth place having played only 20 games this season. Their nail-biting win against the Sydney Kings on Wednesday solidified their position and the only thing standing in their way of making the playoffs is a daunting upcoming schedule.
Their schedule is so tough that bookmakers still have Adelaide at $13 to win the premiership, predicting they will lose the majority of their upcoming games. We think that’s a harsh assessment seeing as likely MVP winner Jerome Randle is lighting up the court.
Randle has taken over from Corey Webster as the game’s highest scorer after dropping 41 points on the Kings. The small-framed point guard is devastating from behind the three-point line and his pick and roll ability is carving defenses.
Melbourne United have their fair share of superstar power as well. Former Dallas Maverick Chris Goulding is averaging only 18.7 points per game after starting the season like a house on fire, but he still has that one-shot ability that can change the momentum of a game.
Couple that with the likes of Daniel Kickert and Stephen Holt, Melbourne are formidable foes and this game should be as close as they come.
Odds and tips for United vs. 36ers
Bookmakers can barely split the two sides but they have favoured Melbourne by the smallest of margins despite being the away team.
Adelaide 36ers – $1.94
Melbourne United – $1.86
United have been the favourites for the majority of their 2015/2016 season, but we’re predicting punters will back Adelaide into favouritism come game time.
They are currently riding a wave of momentum which was evident in their win against the Sydney Kings on Wednesday night. The 36ers were trailing by eight points in the third quarter, but some timely three-pointers from Ebi Ere switched the flow of the game in favour of the home side.
With Jerome Randle playing lights out and his teammates stepping up to the plate, the Adelaide 36ers can push through the upcoming tough stretch with a win or two.
Take the home side at $1.94 with Sportsbet.com.au in what should be a high scoring spectacle in Adelaide. For some value, take Adelaide in a multi-bet with the New Zealand Breakers which play on Saturday night.
The Breakers are looking to come off a losing streak and what better way to breakthrough than winning in a tough Cairns environment. The Breakers are $1.78 at Sportsbet.com.au.
Updated 2015/2016 NBL championship odds
Perth have firmed into $2.75 on the back of a strong performance. The big mover has been the Illawarra Hawks which have a formidable home record, but will be concerned by the possible calf injury of superstar Kirk Penny.
The interesting battle involves Adelaide and New Zealand which are fighting for the fourth place on the ladder. Bookmakers have the Breakers at $7 which have the easier schedule in the run to the finals.
Perth – $2.75
Illawarra – $3.00
Melbourne – $4.00
New Zealand – $7.00
Adelaide – $13
Cairns – $101
Townsville – $501
Sydney – $1001