Antepost NBA Team Bets

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Following on from my antepost selections for the player awards for the 2018-19 NBA season, I bring to you my team bets for the season.

With a relatively limited market to play with in the UK – and pretty skinny odds – it can be difficult to find value in betting on team scenarios. Most of the over/unders for season wins are near enough even money and it’s difficult to get more adventurous bets priced up at what should be adventurous prices.

As these are bets to keep us interested all season long, so don’t get too panicky over their progress until the new year!

Cleveland Cavaliers
This is definitely the most speculative of the bets on this post and is probably more heart over head. Despite losing the best player in the league in LeBron James, I think there is still a chance that the Cavs can make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year. At 5/1 with Skybet, it’s too big to resist.

Losing James is obviously a catastrophic blow, but Cleveland still have a five-time All-Star and NBA champion in Kevin Love. If Love can return to how he played as a first option scorer with the Timberwolves, the Cavs will have a decent shout at returning to the postseason in what is a pretty weak Eastern Conference. Love was a 20-10 threat every night he played during his stint in Minnesota – that kind of play should be enough to put the team on the fringe of the playoffs.

Last year saw 43 wins and above being enough to make the playoffs, I can see it being lower this year without a LeBron-led team in the conference and the gap between the top three and the rest probably widening.

Ty Lue and Kevin Love
Tyronn Lue and Kevin Love will try to get the Cavs to their fifth consecutive postseason.

A related bet to consider is Tyronn Lue to win Coach of the Year at the end of season awards at a HUGE 150/1 with Paddy Power. Should the Cavaliers make the playoffs, Lue will be a real candidate for the award having stepped out of the shadow of James – who effectively played the role of player/coach/GM for the past few seasons – and getting his veteran-heavy underdogs to the postseason.
Find out why this is too big of a price on the individual awards antepost bets post.

New Orleans Pelicans
Last season the Pelicans finished up as the sixth seed in the ever competitive Western Conference. They achieved this partially through the use of their ‘twin towers’ offense – made possible with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins – but also through the individual brilliance and improvement of Pelicans stalwart Anthony Davis.

Surprisingly though, the Pelicans really came into their own following the injury to Cousins around the All-Star break in February. Davis was able to put up a near-historic stat line of nearly 30 points, 12 boards and 3.5 blocks per game – elevating him into the MVP conversation. This, along with the replacement of the injured Cousin with the younger, cheaper and more athletic Julius Randle makes the team almost certain to best their 48-win season of 2017-18. Skybet and Paddy Power think otherwise, offering 5/6 on over 44.5 wins. A short price for an offseason bet, but if you want a sure thing – look no further.

Going into the postseason without their second star in Cousins and up against an All-Star backcourt in Lillard and McCollum on the #3 seed Trail Blazers – no one really gave New Orleans much of a chance.

However, The Brow and the Pelicans completed a 4-0 series sweep, overcoming the odds to matchup with Golden State in the Conference Semis. Davis was able to maintain his post All-Star form (33PPG, 14REB, 2.8BLK) and Jrue Holiday absolutely dominated Lillard scoring on him at will and averaging almost 28 points per game during the series. Along providing killer offense, Holiday was able to stop Lillard as a defender: only being scored on eight times over the four game series. Check out the highlights of his 33 point game that helped make it 2-0 below:

All the main pieces remain in New Orleans (bar Rajon Rondo) and they’ve added too with the addition of up and coming big man Julius Randle, formerly of the Lakers. Randle should allow NOLA to resume their ‘twin towers’ offence, being more athletic big than Cousins but a weaker shooter. I really fancy the Pelicans to be a top four seed in the West come the end of the season and, after requesting a price and waiting a month or two, 100/30 with Skybet is big enough for me to be interested.

I believe the team has only got stronger over the offseason and Davis is prone to even further improvement and should be a perennial MVP – this team can snatch a top four seed at the expense of a more fancied rival such as the Thunder, Jazz or Lakers.

Portland Trail Blazers
Furthermore, at much skinnier price, I can very easily see Portland not making it back to the playoffs. After being swept in the first round, there haven’t been any major additions during the offseason for the team and they are overly reliant on their backcourt. Should Lillard or McCollum pickup an untimely injury, this team could go into free fall. Most of their Conference rivals have improved over the summer and, although third seed in the West seems impressive, the Trail Blazers only finished two games ahead of the eighth-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.

There are two options here: back the team to miss the playoffs at 8/11 with Skybet or take on the over/under of 42.5 wins at 5/6 with Paddy Power. Something to bear in mind: it took 47 wins to make the playoffs in the West last season.

Quite short odds for a season bet, but I this seems a real possibility to me.

Minnesota Timberwolves
This was never intended to be a bet for this coming season, and is backed by little research besides the fact that Jimmy Butler (the team’s star player) requested a trade today after meeting with team president Tom Thibodeau. Without Butler, the Timberwolves don’t look much of a playoff team – the team are 6/4 with Skybet to miss the playoffs (from 2/1), whilst it’s available as short as 5/6 elsewhere.
Read more: this bet is covered in detail in a quickdraw post.

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