Match Details: Saturday, January, 4, Win Entertainment Centre, 6:30 UTC
This has all the makings of being a one-sided contest as the 9th placed Illawarra Hawks take on the 3rd placed Melbourne United. The Hawks are having the worst season as they refuse to budge from the last position on the table with only 5 wins along with 13 losses. The United, despite suffering a hiccup in the last round, are well placed in the top half of the table with 10 wins and 9 losses.
The two teams have faced-off once in this season where Melbourne United secured a comfortable 94:73 win on the road. Will things be different this time when the Hawks host United again? That looks unlikely.
Illawarra Hawks Match Form
The Illawarra Hawks produced a sensational performance in their last game as they toppled the No.1 team of the season, Sydney Kings, 85:80 at home. It was an unexpected result and upset all the predictions for the game. Despite being the bottom-placed team and despite having lost two games in a row before that match, the Hawks performed as a unit and didn’t let the strong Sydney side overwhelm them. Josh Boone was the highest-scorer of the match with 21 points followed by Emmett Naar. This victory was special as Illawarra were without injured star LaMelo Ball.
With Todd Blanchfield and Tim Coenraad also doing well, the Hawks can take on the best if they perform like this.
Melbourne United Match Form
Melbourne United should be a little wary as they lost both their games in Round 13 and both of them were at home. They are coming off a 96:102 loss at home against Brisbane Bullets in their last match and it should have certainly jarred the team. The only shining light for the team in the last game was Shawn Long who scored 25 points.
United have to be careful in Round 14 and ensure there are no more slips. They would be confident of taking down the Hawks but would be well-advised to not take them lightly as the Kings did.
Illiwarra Hawks vs Melbourne United: NBL Betting Tips
Melbourne United enjoys a 20-13 win: loss ratio against Illawarra Hawks in the NBL. In fact, in the last 5 games between these two sides, United has won 4 times. They would thus have an edge in this game even though they are on the road.
The only interesting thing to note would be to see if the victory against Sydney transforms the Hawks or will that remain an aberration. They are certainly dented heavily without LaMelo Ball and it would take something special to take down another top side. But the promise they showed in the last game means the Hawks can upset any big team on their day and another one cannot be ruled out against United.
That being said, considering the overall strength of the two squads and the form that Melbourne United has enjoyed over the Hawks, it would be prudent to back them as the winners of this contest.