The NBA season starts on tonight. So should really have wrote about it before now. My pre-season bets have a good record, check out the previous 2 years:
Season Win Totals
Houston Rockets 40.5 games – Over
They’ll be amazing offensively, they’ll surely have a top 5 offence. But defensively er not so much. I’m sure they’ll get to .500 at least providing Harden stays healthy. They won 41 games last year and they’ve upgraded this off season and now have a coach that they know definitely won’t be leaving in the summer.
Utah 45.5 games – Over
Last season they won 40 games, which was below their points differential. They had a load of injuries last year too. They’re much deeper this year and reaching 50 games would not surprise me.
Golden State Warriors 70.5 games – Under
I bet this as soon as Durant signed there. With signing KD and letting a few guys go they aren’t quite as deep. They broke the record last season and with all the media scrutiny surrounding that they won’t be busting a gut to break it again. After last season, with the injuries they suffered in the playoffs their priority should be to rest players a lot more during the season, coast to the no.1 seed and make sure that their stars are healthy for the playoffs. Steve Kerr has recently said that he is going to rest more and experiment. They’ll be so good that they can rest players and coast to 65+ wins. Add in the chances that Curry will never have another season like his 15/16 self.
Charlotte Hornets 41.5 games – Over
I should have bet the Hornets over last season. As long as MKG stays healthy then they’ll get to above .500.
Memphis Grizzlies 45.5 games – Under
Their top players are all either old and or an injury concerns. Parsons hasn’t even been cleared to play. While Gasol is a 7 footer with major foot problems, which does not bode well. The coaching change is a red flag to me. Joerger did an amazing job last year considering the injuries and players he was left with. The big part of coaching is just getting your guys to play hard. DJ has left so we’ll see if that was down to him, or the team/players etc.
Sacramento Kings 31.5 games – Over
Related to the Memphis under, I’m a Dave Joerger fan. He’s got Boogie and enough sidekicks to get them above 31 games.
Brooklyn Nets 19.5 games – Over
They are going to be bad, but not under 20 wins bad. They don’t even own next year’s draft pick so there isn’t an incentive to tank. I am concerned that they might trade Brook Lopez away though.
The Warriors are the odds on favourites for the title. They’re the shortest price preseason since a bloke called Michael Jordan played in Chicago. GSW are so good that they’d be the favourites even if one of Durant or Curry was injured. The Warriors won 73 games last season and they’re going to be better this season, whilst their main rivals have all got worse:
- Cavs – Lebron is another year older in his 30s. Last playoffs is the best we may see of Irving. They don’t currently have a decent backup PG.
- Spurs – They’re really going to miss Duncan and I worry about their defence with Parker and Gasol.
- Thunder – Durant left them so they’re one large step closer to that irrelevance I spoke of last season. Westbrook may leave in 2 years’ time, but he’s the sort of player that won’t age well as he’s heavily reliant on his athleticism and is a poor shooter.
As long as Lebron is healthy then his team will win the East. His team has won the East the last 6 years which is incredible. So call me Mr Bold but I’m firmly expecting a Cavs Warriors Finals, and the Warriors to win it all.
Best player on a winning team (high seed) – that’s what you need to bear in mind. Which is why I think the odds on Westbrook are ridiculous. The Thunder won’t win enough games for him to be in contention.
KD and Curry may end up splitting votes as they’re on the same team. I think KD should be shorter odds than Curry though. KD will likely score more points, and I don’t think Curry will repeat his all-time great performance of last season.
Elsewhere, Lebron’s odds are too short. The Cavs will get the no.1 seed in the East but he’ll probably coast the regular season again and might have a 2 week break in Miami for some R&R… Kawhi is the best player on a top team but I expect the Spurs to take a step back and he’ll end up sharing the offensive load with LA and Gasol. Harden will put up a lot of points but will have the same issue as Westbrook as his team won’t win enough games.
To sum up: I haven’t put a bet on, as I don’t have any strong feelings.
Rookie of the Year
The ROY usually goes to whoever scores the most PPG.
I don’t watch college hoops as I think it’s a joke. The majority of players aren’t good enough to play professionally in Europe, and the games are boring IMO.
So I’ll probably do what I did last year: watch the first month and keep an eye on the odds.
Coach of the Year
Ok after last year’s travesty I have to adjust 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…unless he’s called Red Auerbach or the Warriors win a record number of games!
- And nobody wins back to back COY. NOBODY!
I’m still seething after Terry Stotts got screwed out of it. Steve Kerr won it with the black swan event of winning a record 73 games, despite not coaching for more than half the season! The charlatans in the media justified their vote with the narrative of “he set a winning culture there”. Yeah he did that the previous season when I actually backed Kerr at 20/1 and he came 2nd!
The Warriors will win the most games. For Kerr to be the first coach to repeat as COY they would have to win more than 73 games. Lue and Pop are too short for this as I think both teams won’t outperform expectations.
So I’m looking for underrated teams to outperform expectations, which has led me to the following bets:
- Stevens 16/1
- Synder 20/1
- Clifford 50/1
- Malone 150/1
- Joerger 250/1