NBA Betting: Early 2013-14 NBA Futures value plays

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, June 21, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Friday, Jun. 21, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

The Heat just repeated as NBA Champions but it’s never too early to peak at 2014 NBA Futures. In fact, now may be the best time to speculate on them before the odds start tightening up.

Congratulations are in order for the Miami Heat for repeating as NBA Champions in 2013-14, but that is already ancient news with the 2013-14 NBA Future odds released by Bodog, and now may be the best time seek out value on teams that can potentially dethrone Miami next season before their odds drop, or at least search for live longshots that can present hedging opportunities when next year’s NBA Playoffs roll around.

It is not shocking that the Heat are favored for a three-peat at 2/1 odds while the Oklahoma City Thunder are the second choice at 11/2. We are looking elsewhere however as the odds on the Heat are just too low to tie up money on for so long, and while the Thunder probably deserve to be favored among the Western Conference teams with Russell Westbrook assumed back and healthy, they have too much competition to accept such a short price.

Incidentally, the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs are listed at 17/2 odds, which we will also pass on with a team that is not getting any younger while playing in a potentially stacked conference.

So where are we looking with our NBA Picks for next season? Well, with the exception of the first team that we are about to discuss, the other choices are all rather speculative as they incorporate some perceived changes in both personnel and in coaching, but the odds are big enough to make the risk worthwhile with just a minimal investment.

One last note before we begin is that if you can find a book that offers “Will Not Win Championship” odds anytime soon, the Los Angeles Lakers may be worth a play if the odds are reasonable.

So without further ado, here are five teams that we feel offer nice value on the 2013-14 NBA Championship Futures at Bodog at the present time.

Chicago Bulls (15/2): The Bulls had an injury depleted roster when they knocked off the Brooklyn Nets in the first round this season and they even stole Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals from the Heat in Miami with practically a D-League team. That speaks to the heart that this team has under Coach Tom Thibodeau, and now next season they will have former MVP Derrick Rose back after he missed the entire 2012-13 season after blowing out his ACL in the 2012 playoffs. Besides Rose, the Bulls were without Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng for much of the playoffs and Joakim Noah had an aggravating foot injury throughout the second half of the season. If the Bulls can avoid the abnormal injury bug they had all year this season and Rose comes back relatively close to what he was when he was one of the best clutch players in the league, Chicago might be the most likely team to challenge the Heat in an otherwise relatively weak Eastern Conference. Granted it is unlikely that playoff hero Nate Robinson will be back, but a healthy Rose and Hinrich at the point guard position would lessen that blow.

Los Angeles Clippers (18/1): The Clippers had the best regular season in franchise history while winning 56 games and taking home their first Pacific Division title ever, but that went all for naught when they failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs losing in six games to the Memphis Grizzlies. That marked the end of the Clipper coaching career of Vinny Del Negro, which we see as a positive given his seeming inability to get the most our of his personnel, and now the rumors are hot and heavy that Doc Rivers will be the new head coach and that Kevin Garnett is also coming over from the Boston Celtics. If both of those moves happen, then pending free agent Chris Paul will also likely resign with the Clippers, and having one of the best point guards in the NBA back in the fold, a competent head coach for a change and the presence of Garnett to open things up for Blake Griffin would make this an extremely dangerous basketball team. And that is not to mention that Garnett could make this one of the better defensive clubs in the league after they improved in that area this past season.

Houston Rockets (20/1): The Rockets ended their playoff drought this season as the acquisition of James Harden paid dividends in that regard, and they even extended the Western Conference’s top seeds the Oklahoma City Thunder to six games after falling behind 0-3 in that series. If Harden made such a big splash, just imagine what the Rockets would be capable of if they land Dwight Howard! At 20/1 odds, it seems prudent to lock up some money on the Rockets now because Howard going to Houston is a realistic possibility. There were even reports that Houston would be in the hunt for Chris Paul also, but that would seem less likely if Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett join the Clippers. If that does not happen though and the Rockets use their enormous salary cap space to land both Howard and Paul, they may immediately become the favorites to win the West! Just landing Howard would be enough for this price to hold value however, and “Superman” has already expressed interest in playing in Houston alongside fellow seven-footer in Omer Asik after what he described was one “nightmare” season with the Lakers.

Golden State Warriors (25/1): The Warriors had their best playoff run in many years this season as the six-seeds in the West first upset the third seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round and then gave the eventual Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs all that they can handle before succumbing in six games in the Western Conference Semifinals. Just imagine what might have happened if the Warriors did not blow a 13-point lead in the final three minutes of Game 1 vs. the Spurs, as they could he gone home to Oakland for Game 3 with a 2-0 series lead! Regardless, the future is as bright for the Warriors as it is for any team in the West, as the only key loss this off-season will probably be Carl Landry, and Golden State appears to already have his full-time replacement on board in Harrison Barnes, who blossomed in the playoffs in his rookie season out of North Carolina while filling in for an injured David Lee, averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds throughout the post-season and scoring 26 and 25 points in Game 4 and Game 5 respectively against San Antonio. Add in having Andrew Bogut for an entire season and about $24 million of cap room to add another part or two and the Warriors could conceivably win the Pacific Division, making these odds a bargain.

Brooklyn Nets (40/1): The Nets returned to the playoffs in their first season in Brooklyn, but they showed no heart while getting eliminated by a decimated Chicago Bulls’ team in the first round, especially while losing Game 7 at home. Brooklyn then made a curious coaching hire in Jason Kidd, who was immediately named head coach just two weeks after retiring as an active NBA player. While the hiring is certainly controversial, he may be just the infusion this team needs, just as he was as a player when he took the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in the 1990s. This team did go 49-33 this past regular season after all and Kidd could probably relate more to today’s players than P.J. Carlesimo did. At 40/1 odds, the Nets may only need to win one playoff series to set up some lovely hedge options, and that seems quite feasible for a team that finished fourth in the weak Eastern Conference this year.

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