I was having a look at the outright odds for the NBA season online when I realized that I could write a nice blog post about this. In fact, there are a few markets that are worth considering and even if the season will be long we already have an idea of what we can expect.
To quote Michael Jordan’s recent statement:
“I think it’s going to hurt the overall aspect of the league from a competitive standpoint. You’re going to have one or two teams that are going to be great, and another 28 teams that are going to be garbage. Or they’re going to have a tough time surviving in the business environment.”
I agree, it is very difficult to imagine someone else rather than the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. Well, to be honest with you, Michael Jordan also owns one of those 28 garbage teams (the Charlotte Hornets, so it’s technically his fault too), but that’s a whole different story…
Outright Champions Winner:
Well it looks like the bookmakers agree too (how could they not?). Incredibly shorts odds for the Warriors and Cleveland as a clear second favorite! From this image, it looks like they each have one serious contender only: Houston in the West and Boston in the East.
(scroll down to the bottom to see who we are picking to win it all)
Let’s have a look at the two conferences, Eastern Conference first:
Cleveland, Cleveland, Cleveland!
In my opinion, the Cavaliers to win the Easter Conference is a banker, the other teams are not even close. Lebron James has won the last 6 Eastern Conference titles and even if Cleveland changed a lot during the offseason the team is still very powerful. I personally think that they even got better with a better and deeper rotation now. For more impressive stuff about Lebron, check this Wikipedia link.
Boston is a good team (and have a very good coach) but I am not so sure they have improved: Irving is an amazing player, but can he be the real leader of a team who also changed a lot and lost a few important pieces (Thomas and Crowder about all)? Only future will tell, but if you ask me, the answer is no!
There are other good teams in the Eastern Conference, and I will tell you more about those when I take care of each division.
What about the Western Conference then?
Well betting-wise, not much to say here: The Golden State Warriors are strong, very strong! It is difficult to imagine a real contender for them. Don’t’ get me wrong, there are very good teams in the West; Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and LA Clippers… If you have a chance to watch them play, watch them, it will be fun! But are they ready to take over the Warriors? Most likely no. Houston and San Antonio are very strong and could eventually bring Golden State to game 6 or 7 but at that point Golden State, which will most likely have home court advantage, should prevail.
It gets interesting when it comes to divisions in the West, so let’s have a look at the divisions but starting with the Eastern Conference:
NBA Atlantic Division
One of the most interesting divisions for us. Despite the bookies having The Boston Celtics as a clear favorite, there is margin here. Personally, I do not agree with them. Boston had an incredible, incredible season last year ending up with East’s best record and guess what, Toronto was 2 games behind. Also, Toronto is pretty well known for being a regular season machine, while they struggle in the playoffs. Right, only two games behind! I consider Toronto’s odds extremely succulent and I will take that 7.00. Philadelphia is another good team, full of very talented youngsters and they will need to find the right balance and avoid injuries (which does not seem easy for them). It’s also worth to mention that Boston changed a lot (they kept something like only 4 players from the past season) and might struggle at the beginning.
Yes, you got it right, I don’t really believe in this Celtics team.
The two teams from New York are weak, very weak. The Knicks are surely better than the Nets, but despite Porzingis’ talent they will have another poor season.
The Nets? Forget about them! Prediction:
NBA Central Division
Not much to say here. Cleveland will win, and everyone knows that.
We also agree with the bookies on the order, with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons playing for the second spot. The Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls got much weaker during the offseason, it’s just a matter of who loses more games. Prediction:
NBA Southeast Division
A very interested bet here! We strongly believe that the Washington Wizards will win here and by a decent margin: they won last year and the main group of players has been the same for a few seasons now. Second place will be close as we think both Miami and Charlotte are just average teams and will most likely have a similar record in the regular season. The Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks are not really competitors here.
The Washington Wizards to win this division looks like a banker to me. Prediction:
NBA Northwest Division
Oklahoma is the fair favorite here, they have acquired Paul George and Carmelo Anthony during this last offseason and their attacking power is outstanding. I’m personally one of those who can’t wait to see them in action. As good as their offense is I still have a lot of doubts on their defense: Adams and the rest of the team will have a tough job covering up as the three superstars are not really solid defenders (Carmelo Anthony in particular). If OKC finds a good balance they can be dangerous for real. Minnesota is their number one rival here and this team is full of talent too. Wiggins, Teague, Crawford, Towns can be lethal and in a single match they can be very dangerous even for the top teams.
I think the Thunder and the Timberwolves will fight for the top position, with the other three teams a little behind. Prediction:
NBA Southwest Division
A very big rivalry here between the two Texan teams: Houston and San Antonio will battle till the last game to win the division. It is very difficult to predict who will get the top spot as they are two of the best teams in the league. If you ask me I would still pick San Antonio: they won 7 games more than Houston last season and if Leonard stays healthy they can do it again, despite the acquisition of Chris Paul (a superstar) by the Rockets.
Regarding the other three teams, The New Orleans Pelicans are worth a mention as if they find a good chemistry they can quickly become very dangerous (I wonder if they can be consistent).
I do not trust the Grizzlies and the Mavericks as I think that Memphis is much weaker than last season while Dallas seems too weak for this division. Prediction:
NBA Pacific Division
Well not much to say here; the Golden State Warriors will win by far. They outscored the Clippers by 16 games last year, and that probably was a better Clippers team. The Clippers have talent but their players have been hit by injuries over the past years, and I’m referring in particular to Griffin and the newly acquired Gallinari. Can’t wait to see how Teodosic adapts to the NBA, but they can’t go too far I think. Among the other three teams we can just wait and see what Lonzo Ball can bring to the Lakers, but overall the team seems weak. Last mention is for Sacramento, not easy to understand what they can do this year. The team isn’t particularly good but it can also be tough to beat them (in a single game) if Carter, Randolph and Hill play well together. I think the Lakers and the Kings will end up being pretty close in the standings, and Sacramento could also finish ahead. Prediction:
This is it for all the divisions, let’s have a quick look at each team’s under/over (in terms of regular season wins) and our relative pick:
- Atlanta Hawks: over 25.5 (pretty easily achievable).
- Brooklyn Nets: under 26.5 (the line is low but this should be under).
- Boston Celtic: under 54.5 (last season was amazing end they ended with 52 wins).
- Charlotte Hornets: over 42.5 (this is tough to call, line seems fair).
- Chicago Bulls: over 22.5 (the line is so low that I can only say over. Very difficult to call).
- Cleveland Cavaliers: over 54.5 (I think Cleveland can do better than last season’s 50 wins).
- Dallas Mavericks: over 35.5 (this will be very close).
- Denver Nuggets: under 46.5 (the line seems too high for this team in the West).
- Detroit Pistons: under 39.5 (they have the potential to go over, but I do not trust them).
- Golden State Warriors: over 67.5 (I think over but no bets here on this high line).
- Houston Rockets: over 56.5 (close line, they can beat it).
- Indiana Pacers: under 31.5 (the Pacers are weak).
- Los Angeles Clippers: over 44.5 (the line is fair, if no injuries they can beat it).
- Los Angeles Lakers: under 33.5 (it is pretty difficult to decrypt their real value).
- Memphis Grizzlies: over 37.5 (I am relying on their great home attitude).
- Miami Heat: under 43.5 (I think everyone is over evaluating Miami).
- Milwaukee Bucks: under 46.5 (the Bucks have talent, but this line is very high).
- Minnesota Timberwolves: under 48.5 (49 wins seem too many).
- New Orleans Pelicans: over 40.5 (very difficult to predict).
- New York Knicks: under 30.5 (they seem worse than past season when they had 30 wins).
- Oklahoma City Thunder: under 52.5 (they had 47 last season, 53 seems too high).
- Orlando Magic: under 32.5 (an over here would really surprise me).
- Philadelphia 76ers: under 40.5 (fair line, I take the under).
- Phoenix Suns: under 28.5 (the line is low, but the suns are weak and could tank).
- Portland Trailblazers: over 42.5 (this will be right on the line, stay away).
- San Antonio Spurs: over 54.5 (high line but the Spurs can beat it if they stay healthy).
- Sacramento Kings: over 27.5 (I believe they have the potential to beat this line).
- Toronto Raptors: over 48.5 (50 wins last year, they can repeat).
- Utah Jazz: under 40.5 (they are normally good at home, but also much weaker this year).
Washington Wizards: over 48.5 (high line, 49 wins last season, it will be close).
This is all for the teams, let’s end up with a quick look at players’ props, Regular Season Most Valuable Player and Rookie of The Year.
NBA Regular Season MVP
If you have a clear clue here, you are better than I am at this. There are 3 clear favorites and among those I would probably still pick Lebron James, but with a deeper roster, his numbers could go down a little bit (as they will try to preserve him a little more). Harden had an amazing season last year but his numbers will most likely go down too with the acquisition of Chris Paul.
Anthony Davis, currently priced at 19, could be a good try in my opinion but the Pelicans were far from being a solid team last season. Antentokounmpo could also be an option, but odds are not high enough (in my opinion).
Leonard and Durant could both win (especially Leonard), but I don’t like their respective odds).
OKC’s trio (Westbrook, George, Anthony) can probably be excluded as they will split shots, isolations and assists among themselves.
NBA Rookie of the Year
All eyes on Lonzo Ball and Ben Simmons. I do not like the favorite’s odds (Ball’s), he could become a very good player, no doubt about this, but his team will penalize him I think, the Lakers are very weak. Ben Simmons could be a good choice; he missed the entire past season due to injury, but don’t forget he was that draft’s first overall pick. He has a very complete all-around game and should probably be the favorite.
If Philadelphia keeps up with expectations, Markelle Fultz could also be a nice bet.
I think that in general, when it comes to these two awards (MVP and Rookie of the Year), it is very difficult to even understand how things can evolve before at the very least 3/4 weeks of regular season. The way teams play, the number of minutes that coaches give to their players, together with the plays they call, are too important.
For example, let’s not forget that Kawhi Leonard was picked at number 15 in 2011 and is now one of the top favorite to win this regular season most valuable player trophy.
Last thing I need to tell you is who I am picking to win it all:
The Cleveland Cavaliers @ 6.00 (but I would not go too crazy with the stake here). I do think Golden State’s odds are too low, I agree that they are the favorites, no doubts, but Cleveland will be in the finals and then anything can happen. Also, the Western Conference is much more competitive than then East, and even if the Warriors were unbeaten in the playoffs last year, they might get to the finals more tired than the Cavaliers.