The NBA Regular Season tips off in a couple of weeks and Ladbrokes has released a fun ‘To Make The Playoffs’ Prop bet with ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ prices for all 30 teams. Let’s take a look at the NBA odds.
Introduction and It’s Almost NBA Basketball Season Already?
Ladbrokes has released its NBA Championship, Eastern and Western Conference odds, all divisional—Atlantic, Central, Southeast, Northwest, Pacific and Southwest—and various Futures Book prop odds like 2015/16 Regular Season Team Win Totals and even some fun niche markets like ‘To Make The Playoffs’ for all 30 of the league’s professional basketball teams. This unique Futures Book marketplace is a good exercise, for the most part—of trying to determine which of the 15 teams in each conference will (probably) finish 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and maybe 12th, and then trying to work backward and see if there is any value in the teams you think will finish 7th or 8th (for the ‘Yes’) or 9th or 10th (or worse for the ‘No’). Or something to that effect. For example, it’s pretty obvious that Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs (Yes -4100, Ladbrokes; meaning you’d have to bet $4,100 to win $100 if/when the Spurs make the Playoffs). And LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (Yes -10,000, Ladbrokes) are going to make the NBA Postseason, but there is little value in those bets—unless you’re gambling on a LeBron injury, a Cavs collapse beyond 8th place and/or like the (undervalued) +1600 ‘No’ odds—and probably few people who actually make them on teams with a high probability to make the NBA Playoffs. This market is for taking a chance on a team that is not expected to make the Playoffs actually making the Playoffs or taking a chance on teams expected to make the Playoffs (by oddsmakers) that fall short. Value is the key, and this is a tough marketplace and maybe one best left for the Cynical (‘No’) types.
Let’s look at the opening NBA odds, talk about some of them and then make a couple of NBA picks from a Cynical Roundball standpoint knowing that only 8 teams make the Postseason (in each Conference) and that a couple of hopefuls mathematically have to be left out. But remember: This bet may come down to the last night of the NBA Regular Season as it did last year for several of the teams. And often, these bets are determined not just by the result of the last game, but by the last half or even the last quarter. Betting was invented by the sacred Aztec God of Gambling Macuilxochitl to both entertain and enrage and so far so good.
2015/16 NBA Teams Will They Make the Playoffs Odds
Atlanta Hawks Yes -1,600 No +800
Boston Celtics Yes -137, No +110
Brooklyn Nets Yes +600, No -900
Charlotte Hornets Yes +400, No -550
Chicago Bulls Yes -1600, No +800
Cleveland Cavaliers Yes -10,000, No +1600
Dallas Mavericks Yes +190, No -223
Denver Nuggets Yes +1200, No -3300
Detroit Pistons Yes +200, No -250
Golden State Warriors Yes +400, No -550
Houston Rockets Yes -4100, No +1400
Indiana Pacers Yes +110, No -137
Los Angeles Clippers Yes -3300, No +1200
Los Angeles Lakers Yes +1000, No -1900
Memphis Grizzlies Yes -600, No +400
Miami Heat Yes -850, No +550
Milwaukee Bucks Yes -350, No +275
Minnesota Timberwolves Yes +1200, No -3300
New Orleans Pelicans Yes -350, No +275
New York Knicks Yes +600, No -900
Oklahoma City Thunder Yes -4100, No +1400
Orlando Magic Yes +400, No -550
Philadelphia 76ers Yes +1600, No -10,000
Phoenix Suns Yes +225, No -275
Portland Trail Blazers No Line
Sacramento Kings Yes +550, No -850
San Antonio Spurs Yes -4100, No +1400
Toronto Raptors Yes -1200, No +750
Utah Jazz Yes -137, No +115
Washington Wizards Yes -550, No +400
Conclusions and Application of Said Cynicism—Eastern Conference Version
The Cynical play here is to take a chance fading the Miami Heat (‘No’ +550, Ladbrokes) to make the NBA Playoffs (finish top 8 in Eastern Conference), even though this team has theoretically reloaded and looks like they will be better on paper (or on computer or your mobile device). Last season, the Heat finished in 5th place in the Southeast Division with a 37-45 record—8 games under .500—and in 10th place overall in the Eastern Conference, 1 game back of 8th place and a Playoff spot. The Heat were without star PG Dwyane Wade for 20 games, and the return of he and PF Chris Bosh (Blood Clots in Lung) seems like immediate buzz and probably a good part of the reason oddsmakers have made Miami (‘Yes’) -850 to make the NBA Playoffs and finish in the top 8 in the East. And it’s this perceived lopsidedness of the odds where attention is drawn to this as there is definitely a chance the heat won’t make the Playoffs. Why? The (likely) Starting 5. Both Bosh and Wade are big name players, but both are aging (31 and 33 respectively) and coming off the Injuries both of these guys are coming off can’t be easy. At Center, the Heat have Hassan Whiteside (11.8 pg, 10.8 rpg, 2.6 bpg), an exciting young player out of Marshall while at SF, another aging player, Luol Deng (30), looks to be in the Heat’s starting lineup in the frontcourt next to PF Bosh. And next to PG Wade in the Heat backcourt, is a very nice player in SG Goran Dragic (16.3 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.2 rpg). So maybe the two best players in Miami and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra’s starting unit are Dragic and Whiteside, with veterans Wade, Bosh and Deng all possibly on the real downswing. They are all good basketball players, but the NBA is increasingly becoming a Young Man’s game.
The Miami (20-21 at Home in 2014) bench looks pretty darn strong though and could be the thing that hamstrings this bet which is dependent on that Starting 5 floundering combined with the high ‘No’ price (+550). One Heat substitute to watch here is Rookie SF Justise Winslow (Duke) who may actually make a run at NBA Rookie of the Year. Miami also features colorful C Chris Andersen, another Old Man, C Amar’e Stoudamire (32), SF Josh McRoberts, another Old Man PF Udonis Haslem (35), SF James Ennis, SG Gerald Green, PG Mario Chalmers (29), SG Josh Richardson, PG Tyler Johnson and PG John Lucas III. So, a nice Roster and a nice mix of Young and Old and maybe Winslow explodes onto the scene right away? The key here though is for Miami to finish 9th or worse. The assumption in the Eastern Conference is that the first 5 teams (all 10 games over .500) last year—the Hawks, Cavs, Bulls, Raptors and Wizards will probably make it back again. So that leaves is with the 6th-place Milwaukee Bucks (41-41), the 7th-place Boston Celtics (40-42), the 8th-place Brooklyn Nets (38-44), 9th-place Indiana Pacers (38-44), these 10th-place Miami Heat (37-45), the 11th-place Charlotte Hornets (33-49) and the 12th-place Detroit Pistons (32-50)—all possibly playing for three spots, brother. So, quite possibly 7 teams maybe vying for 3 spots....and Miami trying to make the Playoffs with a fickle fan base and maybe three guys (Wade, Bosh, Deng) who are now past their prime in the Heat’s starting 5. Head Coach Spoelstra is smart enough to adjust, but asking some of these other players to assume starting roles after the season has already started may be a stretch and this team could definitely finish at or under .500 again. The Eastern Conference is slowly getting better, specifically with some mid-level teams (Raptors, Wizards, Bucks, Celtics) and these younger, fresher teams may end up squeezing Miami out...again.
NBA Prop Pick: Heat not to make playoffs +550 at Ladbrokes