Basketball is finally back. Although, with all of the chatter surrounding player movement in the NBA this summer, did basketball ever really leave?
One of the biggest chess pieces that was moved was Gordon Hayward being the one All-Star to transition from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference when he signed as a free agent to the Boston Celtics. Six minutes into his debut, Hayward found himself being surrounded by teammates and opponents alike as he suffered one of the more gruesome injuries one can see at a sporting event.
That moment changes the season for the Celtics and pretty much every other team in the Eastern Conference because it now gives a few teams hope in being next in line to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals. The second tier of the Eastern Conference should now be viewed as an open race consisting of the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, and Milwaukee Bucks. Let’s take a look at each one of these teams and how they can possibly be impact NBA sports betting this season.
This Hayward injury could have a potential domino effect that smart bettors will be able to take advantage of trends ahead of the curve, and I’m going to try to point you in the right direction and which trends to look for.
The Hayward injury makes it extremely difficult for the Celtics to hit the over on the wins total prop bet for the season, which was set at 56.5. Head coach Brad Stevens will have his hands full trying to replace Haywards minutes in his starting lineup, but there is a silver lining here in terms of development for his young wings.
Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum will pretty much be thrown into the fire as a rookie/sophomore wing combo who will now be relied on to be playmakers when neither one of them has that experience. Brown is more of a 3-and-D player who will score on hustle plays, tip-ins, and open looks from behind the arc. Tatum is a smooth scorer who will undoubtedly need to gain a lot more strength in order to dominate on this level, but he will have no shortage of opportunity.
Tatum’s newfound opportunity puts him squarely in the discussion for rookie of the year and his +1000 NBA odds seems mighty appealing at this point. A mere $100 could yield you 1,000 dollars if you believe in the former Duke sensation.
Our neighbors to the North can’t help but have the idea wheels turning in there head of another trip to the conference finals as they saw their divisional rival lose their most versatile player. The Raptors have been extremely consistent over the last few seasons which have included 50 wins the last two seasons and the Atlantic Division title three of the last four seasons. The Raptors odds to reclaim the division title from the Boston Celtics is coming in at +500 and should be a good value bet for anyone looking for an alternative team in that division. The Celtics losing Hayward makes them much less likely to be able to hold off a Raptors team that boasts a certain level of continuity after bringing back their key players. Dwane Casey should be able to get more out of Serge Ibaka in his second year in the system and look for the athletic Norman Powell to breakout as a player on the wing.
There may not have been a team who benefits more from the Celtics current circumstance than the team in the nation's capital. The Wizards lost a grueling Game 7 to the Celtics last season, mostly due to their poor bench play and lack of depth than an overall talent gap. The Wizards have seemingly fixed their bench issues by bringing in veterans Tim Frazier, Jodie Meeks, and Mike Scott to supplement an already strong starting 5.
Last year’s Wizards bench was one of the worst in the entire association, so hopefully having a group of role players who are able to move the needle from far below average to somewhere around competent, should be enough to get the Wizards over the hump.
Making the Wizards at +1200 to win the Eastern Conference an intriguing bet option. Since the Wizards were already thinking internally that they were ready to compete with Cleveland, pre Hayward’s injury, this probably only gives, even more, confidence at being able to get over the hum and into the conference finals.
The Bucks were one of the more surprising teams last season and could be positioned for a big leap this year based on the development of their super-star play Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak has already established himself as one of the game’s rising stars, but with all of the All-Star player movement from East to West (specifically at the small forward position (Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Jimmy Butler), it leads a bit of a vacancy for Giannis to fill. Hayward's injury takes that void and makes it a black hole.
If the Bucks can somehow find themselves as a 50 win team and competing for one of the top spots in the East, Giannis could find himself nicely positioned for the MVP conversation. Making Giannis’ 8-1 odds to win the NBA MVP a little bit tastier today than they were this time yesterday.
That +1600 number for the Bucks to win the Eastern Conference doesn't look too shabby either, and could be worth a potential lottery ticket type of small wager.
The NBA is a very tight-knit community and I’m positive that all of Gordon Hayward’s brothers throughout the league wish him nothing but the best and hope that he has a full recovery, but the games must go on because after all, this is a business. The NBA will continue to go on with their slated games and bettors will continue to bet, hopefully, the information you have gathered here helps you make more informed decisions for NBA future bets in light of the horrific injury that Hayward suffered yesterday