NBL 2019/20 Season Preview and Betting Tips
The 2019/20 season of NBL (National Basketball League), the men’s professional basketball league in Oceania, is set to kick off on October 3, 2019 and it will mark the 42nd instalment of the league, which saw its beginning in 1979.
Just like previous years, the NBL will be divided into the regular season (October-February), followed by post-season (March), featuring top four teams from the regular season fighting it out in the playoffs for a shot to appear in the grand finals and take home the title. That being said, the 2019/20 season will see one major change, and that is the addition of a new team South East Melbourne Phoenix, meaning, there will be nine teams competing for the title this year, for the first time since 2011/12 season. On top of the new team, the 2019/20 season will also see some high profile imports, including LaMelo Ball, who will return to Illawarra and the high school star RJ Hampton who will make his professional debut at New Zealand Breakers.
Fresh quality imports, a brand new franchise and the increased quality of Australian basketball talent, makes the upcoming 2019/20 season of NBL one of the most exciting the league has ever seen. And while a lot has changed ahead of this season, there is one age-old question that remains: Which team will rise above others and claim the title of NBL champions?
Melbourne United finished runner-up last season when they had to kneel down to Perth Wildcats, who bested them 3-1 in the grand finals, and they should be up there to contest the title once more. Looking at their roster, it’s no surprise Melbourne are considered the team to beat this year, considering they look stronger than ever. The acquisition of Melo Trimble and Shawn Long, and the return of Chris Goulding, David Barlow, Mitch McCarron and the three-time NBL champion Casey Prather makes Melbourne United a force to be reckoned with. All in all, if the acquired stars can learn to play together, the sky will be the limit for Melbourne United.
The reigning NBL champions will be on the hunt for their 10th title, which would cement them as the most successful team in NBL history. Having claimed four titles in the last six years, it would be hard to ignore Wildcats and their chances to produce a title-winning run. The team have re-added Bryce Cotton and Terrico White to the roster, who should be able to carry the team into playoffs. That being said, there are some concerns surrounding the quality of the team, which lost Greg Hire, Tom Jervis and Angus Brandt. In the end, a lot of their success will come down to how well Wildcats can fare without the mentioned players and how well will the newly added Dario Hunt fit in the team. On the other side, Wildcats are known to be extremely strong at home, which alone could be enough to push them into the playoffs.
Sydney Kings lost their chance to claim their fourth title last year, when they lost to Melbourne United in the semi-finals, yet they enter the 2019/20 season as third favourites to go all the way, which should not come off as a surprise to anyone. Kings have the needed quality, talent and firepower to claim the championship, however, with tough competition present in the NBL, they will need to be on top of their game to do so. That being said, Kings do look very solid, considering they can boast with having Andrew Bogut, Didi Louzada, Jae’Sean Tate and Casper Ware on their team, who should be the driving force behind the Sydney outfit. The team has also added Will Weaver as a new coach, who has plenty of experience coaching in G-league and is expected to be the final missing piece in Sydney Kings’ first title in 15 years.
Brisbane Bullets enter the 2019/20 season ranked the fourth favourite to claim the title, which might overrate them a bit. While they do have two great players on their roster in Nathan Sobey and Lamar Patterson, Bullets failed to convince us they can compete with the top three favourites, namely because they lack any real depth needed to claim the championship. We must also mention the imports E.J Singler and Taylor Braun, who are something of an enigma to us and we don’t see them as a huge upgrade for the team. At the end of the day, Nathan Sobey and Lamar Patterson could help Bullets win a few games, however, we would be ultimately surprised if Bullets even make it into the playoffs this season.
Fourth favourites to claim their second NBL title come off as a hit-or-miss team this season. A lot of their success will come down to how well will their young stars perform and how well can their veterans avoid injuries. Seeing how Illawarra heavily relies on their veterans to produce solid results, we could imagine seeing Hawks slow down significantly as the season progresses and their players start suffering from fatigue. Imports Aaron Brooks and Josh Boone will both play a crucial role for Hawks, meaning their stamina and ability to carry the team will be put to a test. That being said, Hawks will be an interesting team to watch, mostly due to the young talent they possess, including Dan Grida, Sam Froling, Sunday Dech and Lamelo Ball. All in all, they might not be among best teams this season, but should they young talent blossom, Illawarra Hawks could become a strong force in the future.
SE Melbourne Phoenix
The newcomers to the league found themselves ranked as sixth favourites to win the title and we can agree with that, mostly because they are a brand new team who we don’t know exactly what they can bring to the table. All in all, their roster looks very solid and well-rounded with a handful of proven talents on top of two promising imports in Terry Armstrong and John Roberson. Are they a team that can make it into the playoffs? Probably not. That being said, we do see SE Melbourne Phoenix capable of producing some solid results.
New Zealand Breakers
New Zealand Breakers won four NBL titles in the last nine years and while it’s safe to assume they will be looking to claim their fifth title, we are confident saying that won’t happen in 2019/20 season. There are probably some people that see Breakers as a team who could impress, and while they have added solid imports, we believe Breakers will rely too heavily on RJ Hampton to carry the team. And we don’t trust he will be able to live up to the expectations New Zealand outfit will put on him.
Adelaide 36ers are priced as high as New Zealand Breakers to win the title, which we believe underestimates them a bit. With Joey Wright as a head coach, Adelaide 36ers should be at least capable of upsetting some teams, and if we add the solid chemistry this team has, the 36ers could go much further than some people expect. Deshon Taylor and Eric Griffin are the two imports who should add some much-needed quality to the team, and if we add the return of Harry Froling to the mix, Adelaide come off as a solid team that will be a tough nut to crack, or at least much tougher than some people expect.
Widely considered as the weakest team in the league and we can’t argue with that logic. While they have added two promising imports in Scott Machado and Cameron Oliver who will join forces with Devonte Newbill, Taipans still lack any real depth that would make us believe they can make it deep this season. While they might produce better results compared to last season, playoffs are still out of reach for them.
Prediction: Sydney Kings to make grand finals
Odds: 2.75 Bet365
Prediction: Adelaide 36ers top 4 finish
Odds: 4.00 Bet365
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