Preseason Betting 101

Get ready; and welcome to my Preseason NBA betting extravaganza. I will be breaking down the bets of different areas in the NBA going into the regular season. The odds that I will be using are through oddshark.com, and I’m basing my picks on that. I will cover the title favorites, the MVP favorites, the Win/Loss over/unders, and much more in this blog. I’ll also throw in a few sleeper picks that I sort of love.

This NBA season will be all up in the air; especially with Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder and joining the Golden State Warriors. Will the Thunder reach 45 wins, or Russell Westbrook win MVP? Will Steph Curry and Kevin Durant take too much away from each others stock in the MVP voting and can they reach 67 wins? The Knicks, Pacers, Celtics and Bulls all improved, but can they give LeBron’s Cavs a run for their money in the East? Let’s get the ball rolling.

Title Favorites

via Opening/Bovada

Obviously when you look at this, the line on the left is the opening odds, and the line on the right is what it’s at on Bovada now. The first thing that pops out at you is that the Warriors have terrible betting odds–so even though they’re significantly favored, there’s no money to be made. There are a few teams that have more favorable betting odds that I’m about to get into, but don’t forget that the Warriors and the Cavs exist, and are still the odds on favorite.

Los Angeles Clippers (+2500)

You never know when the Clippers will break out and actually make a deep playoff run. Of all the times to do it, this might be the year for them to be a sleeper pick who could take down the dominant Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors will lack size and rebounding this year, but they will thrive through their offense. Their weak link will be against bigger teams, and there’s not many teams with better big men than the Clippers. DeAndre Jordan is one of, if not, the best center in the game. His rebounding partner, Blake Griffin, is also one of the best at his position. They have a top point guard in the game with Chris Paul, and an above average three-point shooter in J.J. Reddick. If they play at their best (at 25/1 odds) the Clips have the potential to take down the Warriors and make a run at the Cavs.

Indiana Pacers (+6600)

I sort of love this team…and at 66/1 odds, I love them even more. If there’s one thing I know about the Eastern Conference, it’s that it is wide open for who will meet the Cavs in the Conference Championship Game. The Indiana Pacers could be the second or third best team in the East this year, and they could meet the Cavs in the Conference Finals if they play up to their potential.

Paul George will be an MVP candidate, and when you surround him with the talents of Jeff Teague and Thad Young, in addition to guys like Myles Turner, Monta Ellis, and Al Jefferson to an already solid roster, those 66/1 odds look pretty good. If you want to take a team with a lot of potential who could be scary to play, the Indiana Pacers may just be that team you’re looking for this year.

New York Knicks (+6600)

The New York Knicks are identical to the Pacers with the odds at 66/1. The difference with this team is that you have basically no idea what you will get with them. If Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Cortney Lee and Joakim Noah can play up to their potential, and they get solid production out of bench guys like Brandon Jennings, then the Knicks can give the Cavs a run for their money. Rose considers them a “Super Team”, and they do have a chance to be just that. It’s just a matter of how they play with each other that will determine how deep in to the playoffs they will go. At +6600, it’s probably worth throwing something on them in hope that they max out their potential.

Portland Trail Blazers (+7500)

Damian Lillard is a stud and he definitely has a chance to win the MVP award this year. Adding Festus Ezeli for size and Evan Turner for offense will help boost guys like Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who bore so much of the workload last year.

The Blazers have the guard play to match up with the Warriors, and now have the size and length to stretch the floor and defend against elite scorers. Lillard can score with the best of them, and has just as much talent as almost any guard in the NBA. If you’re looking for a long shot with great odds and the potential to make some noise; the Blazers are your guys.

BIG BOOM PICK- Dallas Mavericks (+20000)

I know, a major long shot, but hear me out. The Mavericks added a few players who have a little extra incentive to go out and beat the Warriors with Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. Barnes will compliment Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams, and help to make up for the loss of Chandler Parsons, and Bogut is one of the better defending big men in the league. I think they would still need to add another guard or a shooter at some point during the season, but the Mavs and owner Mark Cuban are always perennial playoff contenders and aren’t scared to make deals and spend money.

Bonus Picks

Boston (+1800) Utah (+10000) Toronto (+4000) Oklahoma City (+4000)

Favorites

San Antonio (+900) Cleveland (+300) Golden State (-125)

 

Win/Loss Over/Unders

via Bovada

There’s a lot of question marks this year, there’s no doubt about that, but I’ll do my best. The lines are the way they are for a reason, after all. The favorites are especially tough, as you never know how hard or how long they will play all out for (ex. Warriors last year or LeBron every year). But let’s try to identify some of the better picks that are worth placing a bet or two on.

Warriors (66.5): 

This will be one of the toughest picks and one of the most frequently bet-on picks of all preseason betting. No one knows how well this team will mesh, and how many games they will all be healthy for and on the floor. I don’t see them trying to make a regular season push like they did last year–though in my preview I still had them at 68 wins, so.

Verdict: Over

Cavaliers (56.5):

I never see LeBron go all-out in the regular season. He always (wisely) saves his juice for the playoffs, but this is still tough at 56 and the hook. The Eastern Conference did get a lot better, and with the combination of the Cavs doing a little coasting in the regular season and other teams in the East having a lot to prove, I don’t think they will quite make the 57 win mark.

Verdict: Under

Overs

New York Knicks (38.5) Boston Celtics (52.5) Oklahoma City Thunder (43.5) Indiana Pacers (44.5) Minnesota Timberwolves (40.5) Atlanta Hawks (43.5)

Unders

Brooklyn Nets (20.5) Philadelphia 76ers (24.5) Toronto Raptors (50.5) Detroit Pistons (44.5) Charlotte Hornets (42.5) Denver Nuggets (37.0) Washington Wizards (42.5)

Favorites

Celtics OVER, Timberwolves OVER, Bulls OVER, 76ers UNDER, Pistons UNDER

MVP Favorites

This is arguably  the most up in the air of all preseason betting categories. Multiple players will be in the MVP running depending on how well their team does. Russell Westbrook is the favorite at +200, but if they fail to reach the 45 win mark can you really give Russ the MVP still? Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are both so valuable that they may take away each other’s stock, but still either could easily win MVP since they are projected to win the most games this year. Lastly, will LeBron be the dominant player that he can be all year long to make a statement to the rest of the league?

Kawhi Leonard (+1600)

I know he doesn’t have the best payout at 16/1, but that’s pretty decent for a guy who is sure to finish in the top 5 in MVP voting this year. The guy is a freak who can give you 20 points and 10 rebounds or assists while defending the opposing teams best player (LeBron, Durant, Melo etc.) at an elite level. The Spurs should finish in the top 3 in the league this year, so Leonard’s name should be right around the top of the MVP voting with everyone else.

Paul George (+2200)

Like I mentioned earlier, healthy Paul George is always an MVP candidate. His stock only goes as far as his team goes, which I guess makes sense in terms of the “Most Valuable Player” award. This year, the Pacers have the ability and talent to finish in the top 3 in the Eastern Conference, and they could make a real push at nearly any opponent they face. George see an improvement in his stats with the additions of Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young’s. 22/1 is pretty good odds for PG.

Blake Griffin and Damian Lillard (+2800)

I put them both in the same category because they’re both at 28/1, though they would become MVP in completely different areas of the game. Blake would have to post a lot of crazy, packed stat lines and the Clippers need to win a lot of games. On the other hand, Lillard would have to score a ton of points from the perimeter and would need some help from his Blazers teammates in order to win MVP. It certainly helps that they are both on some of the better teams in the league, and should both still be in the picture come playoff time.

 

Carmelo Anthony (+3300)

Again, Carmelo only goes as far as the Knicks do. If they turn out to be the “Super Team” that we have heard about, then Melo could find himself right in the mix. Many people are saying the team will only go as far as Derrick Rose allows them, but I think there is more pressure on Anthony than Rose. If you’re a betting man and you can buy in to some of the “Super Team” hype, than the 33/1 odds are pretty enticing.

Isaiah Thomas (+6600)

Probably my favorite pick. IT is one of the most valuable players in the league to his team; but the MVP voting is more of a popularity contest, so Isaiah won’t get as many looks as he deserves. The Celtics are projected to be a top-5 team in the league this year, and IT is a huge part of that. He should be right in the middle of all of the MVP race from almost certainly leading his team in scoring. If the Boston Celtics make a run, it will be because IT is the team’s anchor; and he should be getting some help with the addition of Al Horford.

Bonus Picks

Kevin Durant (+1200) James Harden (+1600) Chris Paul (+3300) Kyle Lowry (+6600)

Big Boom Pick

Andrew Wiggins (+12500)

Favorites:

Russell Westbrook (+200) Steph Curry (+400) LeBron James (+500)

Rookie of the Year Favorites

via 5Dimes

Obviously with Ben Simmons being out, the ROY odds are now wide open. The favorite is now Kris Dunn of the Minnesota Timberwolves, though there could be a number of breakout guys this year. There’s no clear cut favorite like Karl-Anthony Towns last year. It really could be anyone’s title to win, and there are a few odds that are better than others here. Keep in mind that Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield will get more opportunities than any of these guys.

Brandon Ingram (+550)

The Lakers will struggle this year, there’s no question about that. But Ingram has a chance to get a good amount of opportunities per game and can become one of the frontrunners for ROTY early on. He’s a very raw player, however, and has a ton of room to improve (what rookie doesn’t?). I suspect he will finish top 3 in voting–and I know his odds aren’t that good–but Ingram has a serious case to win ROY this year.

Jaylen Brown (+3000)

This is an odds pick, and the #3 Overall pick of this years draft has the potential to become dominant with the Boston Celtics. If he can take smart shots and improve his shooting, then Jaylen can really give all these guys a push for ROY as his team will be extremely competitive. This can either help or hurt Brown, as he may not see enough time on the floor to match the stats of players like Hield or Dunn. He has the talent to be a star, and he has awesome payout odds at 30/1 if he does make that push.

Damontas Sabonis (+3500)

This is also my BIG BOOM pick, as Sabonis has a lot of potential but won’t get as many opportunities per game as some of the frontrunners will. At 35/1 odds, he’s got the best chance out of the long shot guys if you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck. I still think if you’re going with a value pick that Jaylen Brown is the one; but Sabonis will surely have a good year.

SLEEPERS:

Denzel Valentine (+1600) Thon Maker (+2000) Marquese Chriss (+2500) Joel Embiid (+600)

FAVORITES:

Kris Dunn (+350) Buddy Hield (+375) Ben Simmons (+400) -if he plays

Coach of the Year Favorites



via Sports Interaction

This is another one of those popularity contests most of the time. This shows, as Steve Kerr is the favorite and Tyronn Lue is the second favorite. Almost any coach can go out there with those lineups and produce a winning season. But sometimes there’s a coach that stands out because they get the most out of what they have to work with, and that’s where the odds come in.

Brad Stevens (+700)

I know, I know; not the best odds at only 7/1. But Brad Stevens really is one of the best coaches in the league, even though his playoff track record so far isn’t that good. However, this award is about the regular season, and I don’t see the Warriors winning as many games as they did last year to have to automatically give it to Kerr. The Celtics are projected to finish as a top 5 team this year and Brad Stevens is a big part of that. If no team stands out with a crazy win mark, then Stevens should be right up there in Coach of the Year voting.

Doc Rivers (+1000)

Again, not the best odds at only 10/1, but there are very few coaches that really have a chance at this and Doc is one of them. The Clips have one of the best teams in the Western Conference and if they can make a statement and keep winning games to hold pace with the Warriors, then Doc has a real chance of earning the Coach of the Year title. The problem is that they are one of those teams that can sometimes do some coasting during the doldrums of the NBA season.

Quin Snyder (+1400)

The Jazz will be that team this year that a lot of casual NBA fans will be surprised with. After adding George Hill, the Jazz head coach has a lot to work with on top of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, and company. I could even see the Jazz finishing as high as a 4 seed in the West, which, after being a non-playoff team last year, would surely put Snyder in the top 5 for the Coach of the Year category.

Billy Donovan (+3300)

If the Thunder can win more than 50 games this year without Durant, then Donovan has a good shot at finishing high in the Coach of the Year voting. It’s going to be tough, sure, as the Western Conference is stacked and he just lost a top-3 player in the NBA, but if Russell Westbrook can carry this team to a top-half playoff seed then Donovan could find himself in the conversation here.

Nate McMillan (+2000)

Paul George has some weapons around him now, and McMillan can show that he knows how to utilize them. The Pacers are one of those teams that can bounce back big time this year, after just barely squeaking in to the playoffs last year. If the Pacers finish in the top 3 in the East, then Nate McMillan has a solid chance of finishing in the top 5 for Coach of the Year voting.

BIG BOOM Pick: Steve Clifford (+5000)

There isn’t a great chance of this, but at 50/1 odds and a possible playoff team with a potential ROY candidate, Clifford’s long shot could payout if they finish as a top 4 playoff team this year.

FAVORITES: Steve Kerr (+300) Tyronn Lue (+400) Greg Popovich (+400) Tom Thibodeau (+750)

My Favorite Picks:

Boston Celtics (OVER 52.5 Wins)

Minnesota Timberwolves (OVER 40.5 Wins)

Philadelphia 76ers (UNDER 24.5 Wins)

Kawhi Leonard (+1600 MVP Voting)

Quin Snyder or Brad Stevens (Snyder +1400, Stevens +700 Coach of the Year)

My Favorite Long Shots:

Los Angeles Clippers (+2500 NBA Finals Champions)

Paul George (+2200 MVP Voting)

Isaiah Thomas (+6600 MVP Voting)

Billy Donovan (+3300 Coach of the Year Award)

Jaylen Brown or Domantas Sabonis (Brown +3000, Sabonis +3500 ROTY Voting)

Well that’s all for me guys, stay tuned for my Nightly/Weekly Draftkings and Fanduel picks for Daily Fantasy Basketball. Hopefully you all do well with your betting, and I wish the best of luck to you all.

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