Best and Worst Bets for 2015-16 NBA Season
Come the end of the month, professional basketball will be a part of our lives once again, and it can’t come soon enough. As is usually the case, it has been an extremely active offseason for many NBA teams as each club tries their best to tip the balance of power in their favor. Earlier this month, Vegas put out the odds for each NBA team to win their respective conferences. As can be expected, some of these odds are more enticing than others, so let’s examine the best and worst bets for the upcoming NBA season.
TO WIN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
Best Bet: Atlanta Hawks – 18/1
Last season, Atlanta surprised the league by being the class of the Eastern Conference, finishing first and earning themselves home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Things didn’t work out too well for them once they got there, but the Hawks dominated the regular season and gelled well under first year head coach Mike Budenholzer. Cleveland, Chicago, and Miami all have better odds than the team who won the conference last season, a team whose only major loss during the offseason was Demarre Carroll. Now, I’m not trying to discredit Carroll’s value, whose versatility on offense and defense was crucial to Atlanta’s success. However, with another year in Budenholzer’s system, 18/1 odds for the Hawks are far too low.
Worst Bet: Chicago Bulls – 15/2
I must be missing something here, why do the Bulls have the second best odds to win the Conference? Please, someone tell me. They pushed one of the best coaches in the league out-of-town because he worked them too hard. Last year, Pau Gasol did not live up to expectations and Derrick Rose showed little of what made him an MVP years ago. During this offseason, there was also some weird turmoil between Rose and Jimmy Butler, the man who unseated Rose as the best player on the team. Sure, the Bulls are a talented bunch with a lot of potential, but this season seems like a train wreck waiting to happen. No one should be all that surprised if they finish in the middle of the Eastern Conference this year.
TO WIN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
Best Bet: Houston Rockets – 11/1
The Western Conference is always hard to figure out, as you can make a very legitimate argument for each team to win it. However, after sifting through some of the teams at the top, I feel like I found the best option. The Spurs, Warriors, Thunder, and Clippers are all favored ahead of Houston and their payouts are appropriately small. The Rockets are the first team with any real shot to win the West that has a decent payout, and I really like their chances. This team looked great last year being led by James Harden, and they’ve added the perennially underrated Ty Lawson to their backcourt. This will be HUGE for Harden’s game, as he no longer has to bring the ball up the court for almost every play. This lets him to create a lot more off of screens, and allows the rest of the team to get even more involved. Watch out for the Rockets this year.
Worst Bet: San Antonio Spurs – 12/5
This pains me, as I’m really excited to see what this team can do this year and feel like they deserve to be the favorites. However, there is definitely a chance that things don’t work as well as the Spurs expect it to this season. Perhaps Lamarcus Aldridge doesn’t fit the system as well as they hope. Perhaps Father Time finally catches up with Tim Duncan. Although I don’t believe that any of these things will happen, and I feel like we’ll be seeing the Spurs playing basketball in April, I’m not willing to take the odds they are getting in a conference that is always hyper-competitive.
Kyle Kirby covers the NBA for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @couch_qb