Wed, Jan 3, 11:43am by Staff Writer
Six matches across four nights headline week 13 of the 2017-18 NBL season.
The Perth Wildcats (11-5) continue to occupy top spot on the table, with Melbourne United (11-6) surging ahead of the New Zealand Breakers (11-6) due to points differential and four consecutive wins.
The Sydney King’s 2017-18 campaign is all but over after another big loss last weekend against United.
Adelaide, Illawarra, Cairns and Brisbane are all jostling for the final spot in the top four, with just six rounds remaining in the regular season.
Adelaide 36ers versus Perth Wildcats
Thursday, 4 January 2018 at 7.35pm AEDST
The Adelaide 36ers got back in the winners circle last weekend with a last gasp win against the New Zealand Breakers.
The 36ers have now beaten the Breakers three consecutive times and will go into this home game against the Perth Wildcats confident of another victory against a top four competitor.
The Wildcats travelled to Cairns on New Years Eve and easily dispatched the Taipans 83-68 at a venue where they were humbled earlier this season by 20 points.
The 36ers have welcomed back Boomer Mitch Creek into their lineup, with his presence sorely missed on both ends of the floor.
American import Shannon Shorter was immense late in the match against the Breakers on Friday night, in what was a break out game for the young point guard.
We expect the 36ers to build on the momentum they created last weekend and earn a very important victory on Thursday night.
Best bet- Adelaide 36ers to cover -1.5 point handicap at $1.90 at Sportsbet
Cairns Taipans versus Brisbane Bullets
Friday, 5 January 2018 at 7.35pm AEDST
The Cairns Taipans ended 2017 with two losses in round 12 against the Illawarra Hawks and Perth Wildcats.
In the most entertaining game of the season, the Hawks downed the Taipans 106-102, with 33 three-point baskets made during that match.
Against a rested Perth Wildcats team, the Taipans were no match, going down by 15 points.
The Brisbane Bullets have had the Taipans number this season, including beating them 75-74 in Cairns just three weeks ago.
On that night it was import and former Taipan Travis Trice who had the decisive bucket.
Brisbane are just hanging on to hope that they can sneak into the top four and with a record of 7-11, this win is essential.
The Taipans have played more matches than any other team in the league at the moment and are 8-11 through their 19 games.
The value is with the Bullets in a match that is sure to be close all the way to the final buzzer.
Best bet- Brisbane Bullets to win at $2.44 at Sportsbet
Illawarra Hawks versus Melbourne United
Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 7.35pm AEDST
The Illawarra Hawks are in the midst of a home stand that has revived their season. After wins against the Perth Wildcats and Cairns Taipans, the Hawks will hope to make it three in a row when they host Melbourne United on Saturday night.
At 8-9, the Hawks are amongst four teams vying for a spot in the playoffs, with Perth, New Zealand and Melbourne looking likely to occupy the first three spots on the table.
Illawarra lost to Melbourne a fortnight ago, in a match where United lost forward Casey Prather to an elbow injury.
While that injury threatened to derail United’s season, it has had the opposite effect and ignited them.
Four straight victories including that one against Illawarra has propelled Melbourne to second on the table, a game behind the Wildcats for top spot.
Illawarra have been shooting lights out from the perimeter in their past two matches against the Taipans and Bullets, but Melbourne United can challenge them behind the arc with sharp shooters Chris Goulding and Casper Ware.
At $2.05, Melbourne represents tremendous value as they are a cut above this Illawarra team.
Best bet- Melbourne United to win at $2.05
All odds provided by Sportsbet
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