The Mavericks and Suns will enter the season undervalued in some areas on NBA Odds. Here's why these two teams are worth picking in futures for the next NBA Season.
The NBA is a bettor's dream: both predictable and unpredictable at the same time. Barring injuries, super teams, and big-money spenders are going to push for the title. The Golden State Warriors (-125), Cleveland Cavaliers (+350) and San Antonio Spurs (+900) are favored to win the Championship for a reason, and can often be an easy postseason futures bet if willing to splash the cash. However, it is the unfolding of the league's rank and file where excitement and intrigue are highest, and investor value most volatile. Many teams here will fall flat or rise above oddsmakers' expectations. This year is no different. Record-setting contracts under the league's new salary cap this summer will make the 2016-17 forecasts incredibly challenging. With this in mind, two teams we believe the betting market will undervalue in certain exchanges are the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.
Only a trio of NBA teams has gone over the betting market's win total projections in each of the last three seasons: the Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, and Dallas Mavericks. Can the Mavs make it four in a row? We think so. Some experts are down on the aging team, including ESPN, which predicts a losing record (40-42) and a ninth-place finish in the Western Conference playoff race. News flash: Dallas has missed the playoffs just once since Mark Cuban purchased a majority stake in the team back in 2000, going 41-41 and finishing 10th in the 2012-13 campaign. In fact, the team has not recorded a regular-season winning percentage less than .500 during the stretch. He pays to win, and will pony up to see his team reach extra playing time again.
Cuban did not snag a franchise-altering player this summer but picked up some strong talent from Golden State in Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. Bogut, one of the game's elite rim-protecting centers, may really benefit from the move into head coach Rick Carlisle's self-sufficient system. Point guard Deron Williams signed a one-year deal over the summer to remain with the team, expecting a playoff run. Moreover, Dirk Nowitzki agreed to a new two-year offer. Although 38, he has averaged 31.5 minutes and played 75 games or more in each of the last three seasons, remarkably.
A large portion of Sportsbooks listed a 36.5 win-total mark for the Mavs last year and offered +240 to make the playoffs prior to tip-off. With the rise of middling teams in the West, like Minnesota and Utah, bettors can expect similar offerings in weeks ahead. As for an NBA pick, going over their regular-season wins, and backing another playoff spot at plus-money odds, may offer value. Cuban will see to it.
The Suns will not threaten for a playoff spot, heck they are the last choice at +25000 to win the Western Conference at most sportsbooks. Nonetheless, the rebuilding organization could surprise in the win totals market, depending on the number.
Do not think of this team as the new Seventysixers, resigned to winning less than 20 games for a few seasons and setting marks of futility. The Suns have something many projected bottom-dwellers do not: scorers. Point-guard combo Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight can put up more than 20 points on any given night, against any opponent. The gamble here is injuries. Bledsoe appeared in just 31 games last year, going down in December with a torn meniscus, and Knight played in just 52 contests.
Bledsoe is the key to any Suns wager, though. He can carry this young team on his back, and should get more rest with greater depth in the backcourt. The Suns are 79-76 in the regular season when Bledsoe logs minutes in his career, 31-60 when out, the team seeing slightly more than a 5-point drop in average scoring margin. Last season, Phoenix won 12 games through its first 31 with Bledsoe healthy, and only 11 in its final 51 contests without.
As the last choice to clinch a playoff spot in the West, the number of wins for the Suns will likely be set in the low 20s when oddsmakers solidify the market in September. Its doubtful top-10 draft picks Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss will make much headway this season, but the return of power forward Jared Dudley from the Wizards, and rapid improvement of Devin Booker, should add even more firepower to a lineup that will score in bunches. Lean on the Suns to go over their win total this year. Oh, and do so only if Bledsoe is still on the roster, as he is a hot topic of many trade rumors this summer.