The NBA season starts on tonight. So it’s only right that I write some words about it. Pre-season bets for the last season were pretty good so hopefully we’ll have some more winners below.
Season Win Totals
The majority of season win totals for the 30 teams are fair. Obviously you’re not going to find amazing value on every team in the league but there are a handful where the line is off by a considerable number of games.
Boston Celtics 42.5 games – Over
This for me is the best Season Win Totals bet. This line is too low. Last year Boston won 40 games and consider this:
- They’ve added Amir Johnson and David Lee in the off-season.
- They’re getting a full season from Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.
- After getting rid of Rondo and getting the 2 players above in, they went 20-10 after the ASB last season.
- I’m expecting their younger players such as Marcus Smart and Olynyk to improve.
- Also if you’re a loyal Winners Win reader since day one you’ll know that I rate their coach Brad Stevens very highly (more on him later).
- They have the easiest schedule, mainly due to having the Nets, Philly and New York in their division.
This is my biggest preseason bet.
Charlotte Hornets 32.5 games – Over
I would have bet the shit out of the over. But then MKG got injured, he’s out for the season so I ‘m avoiding this one now. He’s their best player, great defender and underrated. With him they would have certainly won more than 32 games. They could probably still do it.
Minnesota Timberwolves 25.5 games – Over
Last season Minny won 16 games, so to win an extra 10 games is a seemingly tall order. But they can do it, I’ll tell you why:
- Expect their younger players such as Wiggins to improve…and hopefully LaVine will suck less.
- Expect their stars to play more than last season. Rubio only played in 22 games, Pekovic 29 games and Garnett 5 games.
- They’ve added Bjelica who’s the reigning Euroleague MVP. He can have the impact that Mirotic had. Also added the number 1 draft pick in Karl Anthony Towns.
I had concerns that they were going to tank this season but Kevin Garnett won’t be having any of that:
“Here’s what KG told our players: If you’re coming to camp on September 29, and you’re coming with the idea that we’re not going to make the playoffs, don’t even bother coming in. That’s all that needs to be said.”
LA Lakers 29.5 games – Under
Every season, just bet the Lakers under. Even when they’re good, or like this season again; piss poor. Just look at their roster, it stinks. They only have one plus defender and that’s Hibbert. Kobe has only played a total of 41 games the last 2 seasons not that he’s any good anyway. And their coach is obviously terrible too. I just can’t see them getting to 30 games.
Portland Trailblazers 26.5 games – Over
Portland have lost 4 starters from last season in Aldridge, Lopez, Matthews and Batum. So they won’t be winning 51 games and going to the playoffs again this season. But 26.5 games is such an overreaction.
Look at the lines for the last 2 teams. Does anyone who isn’t a rabid Lakers fan think that Kobe & co will win more games than Portland?
Another way to frame it is that the line for Philly is 21.5 wins. So are Portland only 5 wins better than them, or Minny are only 4 wins better than Philly?
There’s no way Portland are going to be a team that wins less than 27 games.
Miami Heat 46.5 games – Under
During the off season, after free agency had finished I made some quick notes on which teams I thought would be under/overrated coming into this season. Miami was the main team who I thought was going to be overrated. Sure on paper their starting 5 looks strong but there’s a number of red flags:
- Bosh coming back from blood clots on his lungs
- Wade has played 59 games on average the last 4 seasons
- Whiteside is mental
- Amar’e Stoudemire is slightly less mental
- 3 of their stars are the wrong side of 30
I don’t think they can win more than 10 more than last season.
Oklahoma City Thunder 57.5 games – Under
KD only played 27 games last season, and had 3 foot surgeries. Westbrook also had surgery this off-season. They’ve decided to pay Kanter a load of money so he’ll have to get a load of minutes. He’s a horrendous defender but he’s quite good offensively. But when you have KD and Westbrook he is not the player that you need.
So I think the under, not by much though.
One final thought about the Thunder: When KD and Westbrook have left because they don’t want to be in a tiny market anymore or they want to win a championship, the Thunder will be left with Dion Waiter and Enes Kantor. They will be a bad team in a bad market, so they’ll be irrelevant. When they traded away James Harden for nothing; that will be referred to as the moment that it all went wrong for the Thunder.
As long as Lebron is healthy Cleveland will win the East. Which makes them the rightful favourites to win it all. Looking at the odds for the teams in the West I think Golden State should be the favourites there, rather than the Spurs. There’s been some chat about “luck” recently, here’s my 2 pennies’/cents’ worth:
GSW – “Lucky”
- No injuries.
- Didn’t have to play their 2 biggest rivals in the West: Spurs or Clippers.
- Played Cleveland in the Finals with Love and Irving both out.
(Also) Spurs– “Unlucky”
- Kawhi was injured at the start of the season.
- In the games that went to overtime, the Spurs had a record of 1-6. They even lost 2 double overtime games in a row.
- They needed to beat New Orleans in the final game of the regular season to clinch the 2 seed. They lost, and ended up with the 6 seed and had didn’t have home advantage and had to play the Clippers. They lost in 7 games.
GSW were definitely “lucky”. But they were still clearly the best team in the NBA last season and deserved to win the title. They should be favoured to win the West again. Their stars are all young and in their prime, and they have a deep bench. The Spurs have added LaMarcus Aldridge but have lost of little of their depth. They main concern is around the age of their previous big 3. Tim Duncan’s not going to be awesome forever, more pressingly Tony Parker was just terrible in Eurobasket over the summer.
Last season I thought the title was going to one of Cleveland, GSW or the Spurs, and I think the same for this season. I’m positive that the Warriors should be favoured over the Spurs for the title or the West. I’ve haven’t put a bet on anything yet.
Best player on a winning team (high seed) – that’s what you need to bear in mind. Plus it’s hard for multiple stars on same team where those votes are split like Paul and Griffin. Although KD did manage to win it 2 years ago with Westbrook on his team. If Westbrook was ever going to win it, it would have been last year with KD out. KD’s coming back from 3 foot surgeries. 7 footers with severe foot problems don’t have a great history, so it’s hard to envisage KD coming back and having a MVP season again straight away. His odds are way too low. If you’re backing KD to win MVP at 6.5/1 after a season of foot surgeries then I think you’re crazy.
I also think you have cognitive problems if you’re backing Lebron for MVP at 3/1. I think this will be the last season that Lebron is the consensus best player in the league. There is going to be voter fatigue around someone who’s won it so many times (he’s won it 4 times but it does seem like he’s won it more). Also I expect the Cavs to coast for much of the season as the East is so bad. They just need to make sure they have a top 4 seed and that everyone is healthy for the playoffs. Lebron will probably have another 2 week break around Christmas to visit Miami to get what Miami has to offer…
Anthony Davis is almost certain to win a future MVP. He problem again this year is that the Pelicans won’t be a top seed. The best they could hope for is a 6th seed, but I think they’ll be 7th. AD’s odds are too low considering.
Steph Curry is the current MVP. Not like we were going to see 33/1 on him being MVP again. This season he’s a 6.5/1 shot. He’s the best player on the best team. I could frame it like this; I think he’s got a better chance than KD, AD or Harden.
Looking at the outsiders, Kawhi is best priced at 50/1 to win, he doesn’t usually play enough games though or score enough points. But if the Spurs do go on the win 60+ games and LMA is scoring 25 PPG then he would be in the running at 40/1.
To sum up: I think it’ll be between Curry and Harden again, with Curry winning. But I haven’t put a bet on.
Defensive Player of the Year
Last season DeAndre Jordan was the favourite to win, but he ended up 3rd. Kawhi was the surprise winner. A surprise as he didn’t play that many games and everyone thought Draymond Green was going to win it in the end.
Looking back at past winners…Marc Gasol in 2013, Joakim Noah in 2014…This is such a crap shoot market. Nothing appeals to me. I pencilled in Rudy Gobert pre-season as a contender but I’m not backing him at a 4/1 favourite. None of the long shots appeal either. If I was forced to put a bet on it would be AD at 9/1.
Rookie of the Year
The ROY usually goes to whoever scores the most PPG
I don’t watch college hoops so I don’t have an edge here. The edge I do have in watching eurohoops isn’t really an edge at all as Pau Gasol is the only overseas player to win the award. I thought Mirotic should have won it last last but it went to Wiggins, who is Canadian but played in a US college prior. Porzingis has potential but I don’t think he’ll have that immediate impact. Hezonja’s problem is that he thinks he is much better than what he actually is.
If I had to make a bet I would go with Karl Anthony Towns. He’s the no.1 pick so will automatically receive a lot of attention and votes but looking at his stats I don’t think he’ll score enough.
Coach of the Year
Ok here we have a bet.
“Oh he’s not gonna go on about Brad Stevens again?”
Yes. I am.
First up I’m gonna get all like Randy from Scream and recount the rules to the COY:
- It usually goes to the coach of the team that has won the most games.
- or the coach of the team with the most “unexpected” wins (Actual wins – expected wins)
- It does not go to the coach of the defending champs*
- And nobody wins back to back COY. NOBODY!
So lets rule some people out:
The only coach of Lebron’s team to win COY is Mike Brown in 2008/09 when the Cavs won 66 games. I doubt the Cavs will be winning 60+ games this season, so that rules out Blatt.
*The only coach of the reigning NBA champions to win COY was Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics back in 1964/65. So we can rule out Steve Kerr.
COY winners never repeat so Mike Budenholzer of Atlanta can be ruled out too.
Popovich has won it 3 times, and 2 in the last 4 seasons. I can’t see him winning it 3 out of 5 especially with my slight concerns over the Spurs. I think the GSW will win the most games again so I think we need the coach of a team that will have the most unexpected wins: I think the Boston will go over their win total comfortably. They could get to 50+ wins and a highish seed in the East, and then Brad Stevens is right in the running for COY and anyone will look at Boston’s squad and ask where are the stars?! He’s already recognised as a top coach. I’m sure Bill Simmons will be flying the flag for him and drumming up support.
Brad Stevens COY 12/1. Have it.
Honourable mentions to Quin Synder & Kevin McHale 20/1. Utah could have a good season and Houston could win a load of games and snag the 2 seed. If you’re worried that McHale is considering a “dummy”, it didn’t stop Mike Brown, Scott Brooks & Byron Scott winning COY!
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