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Melbourne United vs Illawarra Hawks Game 1 Tips - United light up Melbourne

jeremy-darke
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Last updated: 05 Mar 2024
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Jeremy Darke 05 Mar 2024
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  • Melbourne United at Illawarra Hawks Tips
  • Fans can expect an intense match with the total points likely to exceed the expected 177.5.
  • Illawarra Hawks have had an exceptional season but have an uphill battle ahead.
  • Preview, stats, head-to-head, team news & more
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Melbourne United NBL
Melbourne United on the quest for the NBL24 Championship (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Melbourne United vs Illawarra Hawks Game 1 Tips


Melbourne United will not disappoint their home fans and will put on a show and take a 1-0 series lead against the Illawarra Hawks on Thursday night.

Melbourne United will have fond memories of their 92-87 win against the Hawks in their final game of the NBL24 regular season, despite it being 18 days since they last played a game of basketball. United have been able to train at home and enjoy the luxury of staying in Melbourne where they are at their best.

The Hawks have had a miraculous season but it will be put on the edge after game 1 of this series, as Melbourne will prove to be the better team by a long margin and cover the 6.5-point line as favourites at John Cain Arena. 

United hasn’t scored less than 92 points at home since the first month of the season, so expect them to come out and put on a show in Melbourne to open the NBL24 playoffs. I expect that the Hawks will come alive in patches throughout this game which will help the total go over the expected points of 177.5.

  • Melbourne won all 3 games against Illawarra this season, beating them by double-digits twice.
  • Illawarra has lost 3 of their last 4 games away from home.
  • All 3 games between Melbourne and Illawarra this season ended with a game result over 177.5 points.
  • 4 of the last 5 games involving Melbourne United have had a game result over 177.5 points.

Head to Head 


2023/24 Match Results

Feb 18, 2024: Melbourne 92-87 Illawarra
Oct 29, 2023: Melbourne 96-84 Illawarra
Oct 20, 2023: Illawarra 91-101 Melbourne

2022/23 Season Series

Melbourne won the series 2-1.

Melbourne United Form & Team News


Melbourne’s form shouldn’t be questioned with them winning the minor premiership comfortably and in the end, 3 wins clear of Perth with 20 wins and just 8 losses. 

Maybe I will regret doing this once the finals are over, but I am not sold on Melbourne. United have become a team of location, especially in the backend of the season. All of their 5 away losses came from the 31st of December, losing 5 of 6 away games in the final month and a half of the regular season, during a span when they had 7 road games in a row due to the Australian Open.

John Cain Arena may be their saving grace, however, Melbourne did not play well in a stretches travelling in and out of their home city and that may come to haunt them, maybe not in this series, but the next.

Illawarra Hawks Form & Team News


Illawarra has had a miraculous transformation since Justin Tatum took over at the helm leading the Hawks to a 13-8 record under his watch, including their play-in win against New Zealand on Monday.

The Hawks were much more refined defensively when they faced the Breakers compared to their performance against the JackJumpers. Illawarra closed the door to the paint and forced New Zealand to work from the outside, taking 54 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.

Offensively they will need to improve against Melbourne and find their own range, shooting well under their season averages from both the field and from the three-point line in their two finals games. The Hawks averaged a field goal percentage of 0.421 and three-point percentage of 0.285 in both of their play-in games. 

Verdict

Melbourne won’t disappoint their home fans and will put on a show ensuring the game total hits the over and they cover the line as 6.5- point favourites.
Best Bet1: Melbourne -6.5 Handicap/Line @6/7 at Betr - 2 Units
Best Bet2: Over 177.5 Game Total @11/12 at Topsport - 2 Units
Melbourne -6.5
Handicap/Line
@6/7 - 2 Units
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@11/12 - 2 Units
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Melbourne United v Illawarra Hawks