The best bets in the BetDeluxe NBL preview are underway tonight when United takes on the Phoenix.
Illawarra versus Cairns followed up by Sydney versus Perth is where the rest of the best bets lie for a big week of NBL.
melbourne united vs. south east melbourne phoenix
february 17th 7:30pm
Expect the blood to boil and no love to be lost when rivals Melbourne United and South East Melbourne Phoenix contest The Throwdown at John Cain Arena on Thursday night.
With only one game separating the two teams up the top of the NBL table, a win for the Phoenix would see them close in on top spot.
South East Melbourne already has a win over United this season, which dates back to the first and only time they have met in this current campaign.
In what was a fiery clash that saw a brawl erupt, it was the Phoenix who drew first blood with a 94-86 victory.
Since then, it has pretty much been even keel with regards to how the season has gone for both teams.
But one thing that stands out for United is the return of Chris Goulding.
The star United guard missed the clash against Phoenix back in December last year, but he will be on the court for this one.
A championship-winning season is definitely on the cards and this has the makings of a grand-final dress rehearsal.
United have the edge with Goulding getting back into the swing of things.
Suggested Bets: Melbourne United -2.5 at $1.90
illawarra hawks vs. cairns taipans
february 18th 7:30pm
The Illawarra Hawks (7-6) take on the Cairns Taipans (3-6) come Friday night at Win Sports and Entertainment Centres.
The Taipans have four games in hand on the Hawks, so the gap on the table is probably not indicative of how similar the form is between the two teams.
However, we do have a direct guide and form line with the Hawks and Taipans have already played each other twice this season.
Illawarra has come away with the victory on both occasions and deserve to be the favourite.
It was only last week that the Hawks defeated the Taipans for the second time this season.
Cairns has now lost its past two fixtures with the most recent being a very jaded performance against bottom-of-the-table New Zealand following their 87-81 defeat against Illawarra.
The Taipans really need to start getting more out of its offence if it wishes to make up ground with its games in and hand and if it wants to be a serious finals threat.
Hard to see there being a reverse in results here.
Suggested Bets: Illawarra Hawks -6.5 at $1.90
sydney kings vs. perth wildcats
february 19th 8:00pm
The Sydney Kings are the -1.5 favourites when they meet with the Perth Wildcats on Saturday night at Qudos Bank Arena.
Despite fixture interruptions, the Kings have been on a roll of late.
Sydney has won three games in a row and will carry supreme confidence into this clash against a Wildcats team looking to bounce back off defeat.
Perth was humbled by Melbourne United 93-87 after poor second period effectively cost it the contest.
Lapses throughout periods have been a bit of an issue for Perth this season and it something coach Scott Morrison needs to iron out.
The Kings have defensive aptitude to really make things difficult for Perth in this game.
Sydney has only allowed its opponents to score an average of 73 points in the last three fixtures and if that defensive form continues here, it is going to make the Kings very hard to beat.
Suggested Bets: Sydney Kings head to head at $1.86