Welcome to the 2018/9 NBA – Roundtable Discussion on the Upcoming Season

By Kory Walker
Published on September 20, 2018
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It may still be September, but the NBA preseason is just around the corner. It’s actually beginning at the end of this month, and the appropriate time to start talking about basketball is right now!

We have a trio of men who are eager to discuss a variety of topics pertinent to the state of the NBA, and I have gathered them in a room for it all to be broken down. Just as our resident NBA experts went into great detail dissecting what happened during NBA free agency, they will leave no stones unturned here today.

In fact, there is so much juicy goodness to get to that we had to divide it up into two posts!

We’ll start by jumping into some of the hot topics that will give you some insight into some preseason wagers. For example…

Who is the best bet to take home the MVP award? Are there any potential trade rumors out there?

What about the NBA Finals? What’s the best approach to make some money?

These are fantastic questions, so let’s see what our NBA enthusiasts have to say!

Looking at the NBA MVP Odds, Which Player (And Price) Is Piquing Your Interest?

Noah Davis

There is a lot to like. LeBron James leads the way (+300) at NBA betting sites like SportsBetting.ag, but he hasn’t won in five years. He could win if he gets the Lakers back to the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lock.

From a pure value perspective, Russell Westbrook (+1200) probably stands out the most. The guy won two seasons ago and got glossed over despite posting a triple-double average for the second year in a row.

There are safer plays, but if Russ can average a triple-double again and somehow get OKC back into the top three in the Western Conference, NBA MVP voters need to take notice.

Michael Wynn

As far as the value, Noah makes a great point with Russ. The fact that he puts up such gaudy numbers makes him a candidate to win this award each and every season.

But I’ll go with Pelicans star Anthony Davis.

The fact that he’s right behind LeBron on the betting sheet at +450 tells you this guy has everything it takes to be an MVP, especially now that Boogie Cousins has bolted to Golden State. This just leaves the door open for “The Brow” to be showcased even more.

I know his stats will be there (28.1 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and 2.4 BPGover the past two seasons), but it will likely come down to if the Pelicans can win games. Should they win 48 regular-season contests as they did a year ago, expect AD’s name to be squarely in the MVP debate.

Jerry Summer

Fair points from both of you, but I will have to go with Davis as well. Last season, he showed that he can lead this team to a lot of wins, even when Boogie was injured. He was even better in the playoffs, which is another hint that he is ready.

I expect an insane season for Anthony from an individual standpoint and a solid performance for the Pelicans. This should be enough for Davis to be among the top contenders.

I also like Russ as an option, but I have a feeling that we will see a different, more mature Westbrook who will lean more on Paul George and his teammates. This will make the team better, but his stats will see a decline.

How About Rookie of the Year? Any Serious Value on the Board?

Michael Wynn

Yes, I see tons of value.

I’ll go with Trae Young, not because I think he’s the best rookie in his class, but because I see him getting the most opportunities to shine. With Dennis Schroder gone and the keys of this offense handed over to the former Oklahoma Sooner PG, the +1000 price is pretty appealing.

I could see Young averaging close to 20 points and dishing out around 7 assists per game, remarkable numbers for a first-year player. I’m a bit concerned about Young’s defensive liabilities, and I don’t expect him to be a high-percentage shooter.

But this is the NBA, and people love stats. Young should have plenty of them.

Jerry Summer

The number-one pick of the draft has won the Rookie of the Year award six times in the past ten years, and three times in the past four. It’s hard to argue with such stats, especially if you see the odds for Ayton.

The big man can be backed at a price of +400 or so. This looks solid enough to me, especially since he will have the chance to play a lot this year.

Noah Davis

I can’t disagree with either of these picks. Trae Young is unproven and on a terrible Hawks team, but that’s absolutely going to give way to a bunch of eye-popping stats. At +1000, he’s a fine wager at SportsBetting.ag.

Ayton is also a solid pick. He could dominate right away as a 20-and-10 guy, and his +400 price really isn’t that bad.

Luka Doncic (+375) is the understandable favorite, but I’d be chasing value here much like Michael did with Trae Young.

Why not dig even deeper and roll with Marvin Bagley? The Kings are not good, so he should play a ton right out of the gates. If he can put up the same kind of numbers he did at Duke and somehow lift the Kings to playoff relevancy, it’d be awful hard to ignore him.

I do like the value there, but my favorite value pick is actually Kevin Knox. He was amazing during summer league and has the versatility to be an impact player right away.

With star forward Kristaps Porzingis on the shelf for most (if not all) of next season, Knox (+700) looks pretty appealing.

Who Wins Each Division?

Jerry Summer

I will start with the Atlantic Division, which is one of the hardest to predict. The 76ers have a strong young team that has a lot of potential. The likes of Simmons and Embiid should be even better than last year, which makes the franchise a dangerous opponent.

Another organization that should be better, at least on paper, is Toronto. The Raptors got the best two-way player in the entire league. Kawhi will certainly be eager to prove that he is the same player he was before his health problems.

And yet, both teams should be no match for the Celtics in the regular season. The franchise was strong last season, but the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward should boost their ranks significantly.

This is the obvious favorite for the Atlantic Division, but the price of -120 is simply not good enough for me.

Next in line is the Central Division, which seems easier to predict. It should be a close call between the Bucks and the Pacers. I think Yannis and company should be better this year, so I will back them to win the division. The price of +125 is probably worth a shot, too.

I think the Southeast Division is one where we could see a surprise. The Wizards are the clear favorite of the bookies, but Miami Heat managed to steal the show last year, and I think they could do it again. The price of +200 is worth a shot, in my opinion.

I don’t think there’s any point in discussing the Pacific Division. The Warriors will win it, as simple as that. LeBron can’t beat them, at least in the regular season.

There is a clear favorite in the Southwest Division, too, as the Rockets are expected to be on top. This is only natural after last year’s performance. And yet, Chris Paul will be one year older, and I’m not sure if Carmelo Anthony will actually help the team become better.

Carmelo Anthony - Houston Rockets
Carmelo Anthony – Houston Rockets

This is why the price of -450 seems way too low for my taste. At the same time, the Pelicans are +800, and the Spurs are +700 to win the division. Both teams lost some of their stars but have the potential to surprise.

The Pelicans have an MVP candidate in Anthony Davis, while the Spurs are the Spurs. They almost managed 50 wins without their best player last year, and now they have another superstar on the team. The value lies in the odds of those two teams.

Finally, there’s the Northwest Division. I feel this is where the best value lies. With Carmelo gone, the Thunder should improve. According to the rumors, Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams are really close.

This is the reason PG stayed, and when your best players are also best buddies, there are always reasons for optimism.

On the other hand, we have the Jazz, which were the surprise package, to an extent, last year. Donovan Mitchell will certainly embrace the role of a leader. At the same time, a fit Gobert would improve the team further.

The price for both franchises is around the +150 mark. I would back them both with an equal stake. The return might seem small, but I can’t see any other team finishing above those two.

Noah Davis

I love the details here, Jerry, but I’m finding myself disagreeing in several spots. Even if the Celtics are the class of the Atlantic Division, I don’t think at all that the gap is wide.

Obviously, Boston just doesn’t offer much value to take the crown, but Toronto literally took first place in the division just last season. With Kawhi Leonard now in town, the Raptors (who were top-5 in offensive and defensive efficiency) only get better.

The Celtics are the trendy pick across the board in the east with BronBron gone, but the Raptors (+275) are a very fun – and logical – bet to take this division.

I agree that the Central Division is basically split between the Pacers and Bucks, and that’s reflected by Vegas in their equal +125 price. Milwaukee feels like they’re on the rise, though, so they’re my pick there as well.

Miami barely snagged the Southeast last year, and while veteran scorer D-Wade will be back, I don’t think they’re the team to pick here.

The Wizards have underperformed for years despite having capable talent, but they got reinforcements in Austin Rivers, Jeff Green, and Dwight Howard this summer. On paper, the Wiz look like the play here, even though their -150 price tag isn’t overly alluring.

Out west, I’m not getting cute in the Pacific (Warriors at -1500) or Southwest (Rockets at -450) divisions. I’m sure the likes of the Lakers (+1000) and Spurs/Pelicans (+700 and +800) could make some noise, but they won’t finish with better records than Golden State or Houston.

The division that’s up for grabs in the Western Conference is undoubtedly the Northwest division. Portland took it last year by a game, but both Utah and OKC were within striking distance.

All three of those teams will again be in the mix, but you can’t even for sure rule out the Minnesota Timberwolves or Denver Nuggets. Minnesota actually made the playoffs last year, while a loaded Nuggets squad has flirted with the idea for the past two seasons.

Denver stands out the most with their +450 price at most NBA betting sites. Most will gravitate toward the top contenders in this division, but they’ve been inching closer and closer.

That being said, Portland actually has worse odds than the Nuggets, and they arguably got even better during the off season. I have no problem running it back with the defending Northwest champs.

Michael Wynn

I’ll start with the Atlantic Division in the East.

As much as I like Boston, I don’t like the -120 price. Not when you are likely to have both the Raptors and 76ers breathing down your neck. In fact, I’d rather lean on Kawhi Leonard and Toronto at +275 or all the young talent in Philly for +300, as both bets seem to offer much more value.

While it looks like the Pacers and the Bucks will be battling it out to win the Central Division, I wouldn’t be so fast to count out Detroit. To be frank, I even like what Chicago did over the summer in the draft (selecting Wendell Carter and Chandler Hutchison) and think the Bulls will be on the rise.

But when I look at the Pistons, I see that they hired Dwane Casey, the former Toronto coach who knows all about winning regular-season games in the Eastern Conference. With Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond in the front court, I’ll latch onto these +600 odds to scoop the division and hope that neither the Bucks nor Pacers take off.

I have to go with the Washington Wizards to win the Southeast, as the time for John Wall and Bradley Beal to take the next step is right now. Otto Porter is becoming a star in his own right, and Dwight Howard wants to show the world he’s got plenty left behind his Superman cape.

The -150 price isn’t exactly ideal, but this division isn’t exactly “loaded.”

Shifting focus over to the Western Conference, there are a handful of teams that will be trying to challenge the Warriors for the top spot. In the end, no one is touching Golden State in the Pacific, but the egregious -1500 price tag isn’t even allowing us to get excited.

I won’t pass over the Southwest as quickly as Noah did, despite the Rockets being the odds-on favorites here. I do feel like the top NBA betting sites are trying to bait us into taking the Spurs or the Pelicans with those handsome prices, so as much as I’d like to see it happen, I probably can’t pull the trigger.

In the end, the Rockets probably have enough to win this division, but I don’t like them as a serious contender in the West.

Last but not least, the Northwest Division. Talk about being up for grabs – last season, all 5 teams in this division finished within 3 games of one another!

I think the Jazz and the Timberwolves are the best of the bunch, so that’s where I would allocate my betting funds. The Jazz have a special talent in Donovan Mitchell, as was highlighted in their first-round victory over the Thunder in last year’s postseason.

When you look on paper, the T-Wolves should have enough to be a top-4 seed in the West; they just need to put it all together. If Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler can continue to mesh, I’d expect Tom Thibodeau’s squad to emerge.

Look out for Karl-Anthony Towns to take another step and enter the upper echelon of NBA superstars. He’s that good, folks.

Betting on Winning the NBA Finals – What’s My Best Approach?

Noah Davis

The most logical approach is still favoring Golden State. They swept the Cavs last year and only got better by bringing in stud big man DeMarcus Cousins.

The Warriors are flat-out loaded, and the best team in the West last year – the Rockets – actually got worse during the offseason. They may have missed their window with a 3-2 lead in the WCF last year.

Obviously, the issue is that Golden State offers very little value at -160. That’s still a pretty decent price for a repeat champion that’s secured three of the last NBA Finals championships, however.

Ultimately, I’d be going hard at the Dubs but tossing a flier bet or two on the East.

Toronto (+1600) is very interesting with Kawhi Leonard leading the charge, a healthy Celtics squad (+600) is tempting, and even the young Sixers (+1200) have a shot.

One of those teams is sure to get to the Finals this year, so tossing a little cash their way makes sense. Due to the upside and the massive impact Leonard could make, Toronto at +1600 would be my play.

Michael Wynn

Noah really hit the nail on the head here, as he covered several significant points. I’m in agreeance that the Rockets may have missed their golden opportunity last season in the Western Conference Finals, as I think the addition of Carmelo Anthony will only disrupt Mike D’Antoni’s rhythm and stunt this team’s growth.

The Warriors are the defending champs, and they added Boogie Cousins to an already dominant roster. That -160 price might not be so terrible, but it’s not screaming out value.

I think the 76ers at +1200 is, however, as they could still end up adding a major piece mid-season to help boost their chances. Even if they don’t, the Ben Simmons/Joel Embiid combo is nothing to gawk at, as the young duo will only get better and better as the year wears on.

Jerry Summer

I can’t say much more, as we have been talking how the Warriors have been the overwhelming favorite ever since they got Cousins. I actually think that the price of -160 represents good value.

The safer play would be to add a couple of other bets, but I think you’ve missed one option. Instead of backing a couple of teams from the East, you could go for the +360 wager offered for any team from the Eastern Conference to win it as a backup plan.

I think it’s a reasonable choice, as the likes of Boston and Toronto could beat any other team from the West, bar the Warriors. If someone eliminates the reigning champions, you will still have a good chance to win.

Are There Any Blockbuster Trades We Can Expect to See?

Michael Wynn

This is a fun one because I love seeing big trades happen in the NBA.

I don’t want to go completely out-of-the-box, as I want to think about trades that actually make sense and could happen.

For example, the Phoenix Suns need a point guard. I know Damian Lillard’s name has been linked to trade rumors for the past two seasons, but perhaps we finally see Portland ship their star out of town and give him the fresh start he may (or may not) be looking for.

Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers

Phoenix might not sound like the ultimate destination right now, but they could be a legitimate point guard away from making some noise. Devin Booker is a budding star, and they just selected big man Deandre Ayton first overall.

If Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson pan out, Lillard may want to seriously consider asking to be dealt to the Grand Canyon State.

Jerry Summer

I can’t ignore the Kawhi situation. We’ve already seen him force a trade this year, and if he doesn’t want to play for Toronto for some reason, it would be wise to trade him instead of losing him for nothing in free agency next summer.

Another guy I would like to mention, too, is Kevin Love. I think he will be given the chance to shine once again, while the Cavs will be in big trouble. This could open the door for him to move to a team that is ready to compete now or in the near future, while the Cavs could get a piece that should help them rebuild now that LeBron is gone.

Noah Davis

I’ve heard the Suns have been looking for a big point guard upgrade, but they’d be wise to just keep doing what they’re doing and build from the ground up.

Trading away foundational pieces for Lillard seems a bit rash, and I also don’t really believe Portland is going to give away their franchise guy. If anything, I’d be more inclined to see them deal C.J. McCollum.

That being said, I agree that some big NBA trades could go down this year.

The biggest one that stands out is Kawhi Leonard, while guys like Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler could also be shopped.

All of these guys are in the final years of their contracts and could leave for nothing, so unless they give their respective teams assurances, they’re at risk of being shipped out of town.

Of that trio, I’d say Butler is the most likely to be dealt. Leonard might actually want to stay in Toronto, and even if he doesn’t, the Raptors have to see this thing through. The same goes for Irving and the Celtics.

Minnesota isn’t competing for a title this year, though. Unless they can talk Butler into a long-term extension, he’s got to be moved. The New York Knicks have been in constant rumors for both him and Irving, so they probably lead the way for me.

I wouldn’t rule out the Lakers, though. If LA doesn’t believe they can get Kawhi, pivoting to pair Butler with King James could be a fine consolation prize.

We Saw Manu Ginobili Hang It Up Recently. Who’s Next to Retire?

Jerry Summer

I would have to say Vince Carter. I love the guy, and I don’t think he wants to retire just yet, but he’s 41. I expect him to struggle this season, which would be a good reason to see Vince gone.

I also think that Pau Gasol should consider such a move, but his contract with the Spurs is too good. The Spaniard will probably play another year or two.

Noah Davis

Vinsanity has been holding on for dear life for a while now, but that’s just a testament to his love for the game and also his ability to stretch out his skill-set. Not everyone can do that.

Carter is in the mix, but I’m looking at more high-profile guys. This could truly be Dirk Nowitzki’s last stand, as he’s over 40 now and has slowed down quite a bit over the last few years.

Nowitzki can still shoot it from long range and loves to play, though, while he’s publicly left the door open to continue playing beyond this year.

Carter has said he’s 90-something percent done, but one guy I’m almost certain is done is Dwyane Wade. He recently said he’d be returning and would give everything he has left for this year. It won’t be much, and I suspect he’s done after the Heat are bounced from the playoffs later this season.

Michael Wynn

Really, guys, what is Vince Carter doing, and what is he trying to prove?

It’d be one thing if, at age 41, you position yourself as a complementary role player on a contending team.

So why Vince Carter signed on with the Atlanta Hawks to play garbage-time minutes this season boggles my mind. If and when the Hawks struggle on the court, I’ll be interested to see what is continuing to motivate Vinsanity.

But how about Richard Jefferson, ladies and gentlemen?

The poor guy is 38 years old and still hasn’t gotten the hint that his services are no longer needed in this league. In 20 games for Denver last year, Jefferson averaged 1.5 PPGand played just 8 minutes per contest.

Now unsigned, he has turned down broadcasting deals in hopes that a team picks him up. Once the season gets started and Richard wakes up and smells the coffee, look for the former Arizona Wildcat to officially announce his retirement.

Recapping the Thoughts

There you have it!

For you basketball fans who are eager for the start of the season, this post should have been right up your alley – a six-pack of NBA-related questions organized into one place, with three NBA gurus offering up their perspectives.

We made sure to hit on the important betting aspects, as there is an abundance of ways to place wagers before the season starts.

Whether you are looking at Rookie of the Year odds or who will capture each division, SportsBetting.ag
has you taken care of. Hopefully Noah’s, Michael’s, and Jerry’s responses will give you the foundation you need and the insight necessary to capitalize on some of these bets.

And just when you thought we were finished…

This is just part one of the discussion! We’ll shortly be adding another post where the same three aficionados tackle six more questions!

The best way to be a successful NBA bettor is to be more prepared than your counterparts. Reading blogs like this helps you accomplish that goal!

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Welcome to the 2018/9 NBA - Roundtable Discussion on the Upcoming Season
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Welcome to the 2018/9 NBA - Roundtable Discussion on the Upcoming Season
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There's a lot to look forward to with the new NBA season. This post covers a range of topics as three NBA experts give you their perspectives.
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