Sportsbooks are too predictable when they put out their lines. We’re going against the grain with some bold but realistic predictions.
This past week marked the beginning of the 2014-15 NBA season. Basketball bettors, whether they are betting in Singapore or South Beach, are expecting an exciting year full of surprises, and the completion for the NBA championship should be fiercer than ever as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks have each bolstered their squads in preparation for title runs.
We also expect the season to be unpredictable. So unpredictable, in fact, that you should ignore a lot of what online sportsbooks in the US, Canada and UK are saying. We’ve come up with five bold predictions that go against taking the safe odds.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will not win outright
• Oddsmakers have put out several weak lines on NBA futures bets this season
• Expect Blake Griffen or Russell Westbrook to win MVP, not Lebron
• The Spurs have a better chance than the Cavaliers of winning the title
Bookmakers are drooling over the Cavs, who made the biggest splash this offseason by signing Lebron James and trading for Kevin Love. Bet365 currently has them sitting pretty with 3/1 odds to win the championship outright.
We understand that people are caught up in the excitement of Lebron’s return to Cleveland, but these guys really can’t be considered favorites to win the championship. Lebron and Love won’t work well together defensively, and point guard Kyrie Irving has a reputation for selfishness.
The Cavs lost their first game to the hapless New York Knicks, showing themselves to be out of sync. This team is good, but we would definitely take the San Antonio Spurs at 15/4 odds over the Cavaliers.
Neither Lebron, Durant nor Rose will win the MVP award
Basketball oddsmakers are going gaga over Durant (4/1), Lebron (11/10) and Derrick Rose (8/1) to win the MVP award. We think that all three of these players are bad choices.
Lebron has top odds in large part because the Cavaliers are expected win outright. If they disappoint, his chances at the MVP will go down the tubes. Durant won the award last year but he recently suffered a serious injury and will miss the first part of the season. It will take a few months for him to get up to speed.
As for Rose, he has been injured for the past two seasons, and needs to prove a lot before he can be considered a serious candidate. It also looks like the Bulls will limit his playing time to keep him healthy.
Who do we like for the MVP award? Go for one of the young guns: Blake Griffen (10/1), Anthony Davis (12/1) or Russell Westbrook (20/1). Westbrook looks to be the best value, as he gets a chance to prove his value while Durant recovers from injury. Either way, don’t wager on Lebron or Durant!
Nerlens Noel will win the Rookie of the Year award
Online sportsbooks like Bet365, BetVictor and Bovada are giving the highest odds to the two highest picks, Jabari Parker (7/4) and Andrew Wiggins (7/2). Neither player looks ready make a serious impact this season, however. Parker’s game needs a lot of work and Wiggins is being kept on a short leash until he can prove himself.
We think that Nerlens Noel (15/2) represents the best bet, for two reasons. He is technically only a rookie because he was injured last season; he was able to spend the latter part of the year practicing against NBA players, meaning he is the most ready to contribute.
The second reason is that he is the best player on a terrible Philadelphia 76ers team, and they will give him every opportunity to make an impact. With those odds, there’s no reason not to take a chance on Noel.
Other long-shots we think demonstrate good value are Marcus Smart (16/1) and Doug McDermott (20/1). There is no clear-cut leader, so we expect the Rookie of the Year race to be especially exciting.
Either the Dallas Mavericks or Houston Rockets will win the Southwest Division
We think the Spurs are the best team in the league and expect them to win outright, but we don’t expect them to win the Southwest Division during the regular season. If that seems a bit contradictory, read on.
Firstly, coach Greg Popovich will rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to keep them strong for the playoffs. Secondly, they face stiff competition from the Houston Rockets and resurgent Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs (6/1) will go all out in what might be Dirk’s last chance to make a title run, and the Rockets (11/4) want to prove that they aren’t a team of high-profile underachievers. To be even more bold: The Dallas Mavericks will win the Southwest Division!
Carmelo Anthony will lead the league in scoring
Online and mobile betting sites are favoring Durant to win the scoring title for the second consecutive season with 1/1 odds, but as mentioned above the injury will slow him down. And with such a weak payout, why bet on him anyway? Lebron at 3/1 also looks like a weak bet, because he’ll spend more of his time passing to Love and Irving.
That leaves us with Carmelo Anthony, the lone superstar on what looks to be a crappy Knicks team. With 5/1 odds we think he represents the best combination of low-risk and high-reward, and we sincerely think he will win the scoring crown.