Wed, Mar 14, 1:58pm by Staff Writer
Melbourne United and the Adelaide 36ers will both be in pursuit of their fifth NBL championship when the best-of-five game Grand Final series begins in Melbourne on Friday night.
United are $1.57 favourites at Sportsbet to win the series, with Adelaide $2.42 underdogs.
Both teams enjoyed 2-0 semi-final series sweeps, with Melbourne accounting for New Zealand and Adelaide defeating Perth.
After both teams registered dominant double digit wins at home in game one, game two was much closer for both.
Melbourne required overtime to topple the Breakers by two points, and the 36ers held on at the death to record a narrow one point against Perth.
For game one in Melbourne on Friday night, United start as $1.48 favourites at Sportsbet. Adelaide are $2.67 underdogs.
United are 4.5 point favourites at $1.90, with the high scoring 36ers value with the points start.
Adelaide have played inspired basketball since the turn of the New Year, as have United as both teams have been the best teams in the competition in 2018.
All four of their meetings during the 2017-18 season took place in 2017, with Melbourne winning the season series 4-0.
With an average margin of nearly 12 points in those four matches, it is unsurprising that Melbourne are big favourites to claim the title.
Adelaide have been a different team from those early season matches in recent weeks however, with incredible play for their entire roster, including Mitch Creek, Daniel Johnson and Nathan Sobey.
For United, Josh Boone, Casper Ware and Chris Goulding have been highlights, with Casey Prather returning from injury providing another dimension to the side.
Recent import Carrick Felix has added further athleticism to an already stacked roster, with the veteran leadership of captain David Andersen set to be pivotal in the finals series.
For Adelaide, a lot rests on the shoulders of their imports Shannon Shorter and Josh Childress, with the 36ers roster inexperienced in big games.
Both teams have been dominant in recent times, with Adelaide winning eight of their past nine first halves, scoring an average of 102 points per game.
United are less prolific scorers, scoring only 90 points per game in their last 10.
There are sure to be some nerves at the start of this match, but if Adelaide can get going offensively, they will silence the parochial Melbourne crowd.
Casper Ware leads the way in the series MVP market at a very short $3 at Sportsbet.
We prefer to back Mitch Creek or Josh Boone at $6, as both have shown to be unstoppable at stages during the season.
The series betting odds favour United to win the series 3-1 at $4 at Sportsbet.
With the series set to be tense, we are backing United to come out on top 3-2 at $5 at Sportsbet.
Both teams play strongly on their home court, and the lopsided 4-0 season head-to-head series doesn’t deter us from backing the 36ers to win two games, especially at home.
With game two set for Adelaide on Sunday night and game three in Melbourne next Friday night, all eyes will turn to the NBL as it crowns the 2017-18 championship winner in its 40th season.
NBL Grand Final series odds
Melbourne United $1.57 Adelaide 36ers $2.42
NBL Grand Final series MVP odds
Casper Ware $3
Mitch Creek $6
Josh Boone $6
Casey Prather $10
Chris Goulding $10
Josh Childress $10
Daniel Johnson $13
Shannon Shorter #15
NBL Grand Final series correct score odds
Melbourne United 3-0 $4.33
Melbourne United 3-1 $4
Melbourne United 3-2 $5
Adelaide 36ers 3-0 $11
Adelaide 36ers 3-1 $6
Adelaide 36ers 3-2 $6
NBL Grand Final game one odds
Melbourne United $1.48 Adelaide 36ers $2.67
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