Get your NBA bets in, ladies & gentleman. It's that time of year when Stephen A. Smith starts showering Kobe Bryant with endless praise, Miami Heat fans stop attending games and NBA futures close.
Toronto Raptors Win The Atlantic Division
NBA Odds: -104
Most of the other divisions seem messy. There’s the Central, which will be a two-horse race between the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. There’s the Pacific, which is probably similar but you have to lay a little too much juice with the Los Angeles Clippers (-240). There’s the Southwest, which is loaded with Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, there’s also the Northwest, where again you have to lay too much juice with Oklahoma City.
However, Toronto seems to offer some good value. The division should be a breeze. Brooklyn might be the only contender as Boston, Philadelphia and New York rebuild. However, the Nets lost Paul Pierce and already have Brook Lopez injury concerns. As for the Raps, they’re a team on the rise. They managed to keep their backcourt with Kyle Lowry and Grivis Vasquez re-signing. Then they also picked up Lou Williams, which should help their bench. Then you’ve got to expect guys like DeMar Derozan, Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunus improve. In the East, this could be a 50-win team and at -104 NBA odds, they’re a good bet to win the division.
Oklahoma City Thunder Win The NBA Championship
NBA Odds: 5/1
Even with early-season injury concerns, the Thunder are my choice to win it all. Let’s face it: without the Russell Westbrook injury in the playoffs two years ago or Serge Ibaka’s injury last season, they probably would have gotten further – if not won it all. This year, they upgraded a couple of positions as Steven Adams will take over for Kendrick Perkins up front and give the team much more energy. Also, Thabo Sefolosha is gone and swapped out for Anthony Morrow, who is a three-point specialist. On top of that, you’ve got potential growth from Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones and Andre Roberson, all former first-round picks. And then of course, don’t forget that this team – had they stayed healthy – could have won the title last year. They’re as complete as they’ve ever been and likely as hungry. They’re my NBA pick to win it all.
Dallas Mavericks Over 49 Regular Season Wins
NBA Odds: -170
Of all of the NBA regular season win totals, the Dallas Mavericks over seems to be the one that makes the most sense to me. We’re talking about a team that won 49 games last season and then in the offseason, added Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson. That’s excellent starters and one quality bench guy.
Chandler is going to help this team with its defense. They allowed 102.4 points per game last season, which was tied for 16th in the NBA. Opponents shot 51.5% from the field against them, which was the fourth-worst number in the NBA. As for rebounding, the Mavericks averaged 40.9 last season, which was 26th in the NBA. Even with all of that, they still won 49 games. Chandler will help in all of those categories and boost this team. And don’t forget about Parsons, who will improve an already dangerous offense.
With Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler, this will be a 50-win team this year.