Your 2018-19 NBA Betting Preview

The NBA is back in what promises to be one of the most intriguing seasons to date. With LeBron James moving to Los Angeles, the Eastern Conference will be won by a non-Lebron team for the first time in nearly a decade.

If you haven’t been keeping up with all the movements, check out the full list of transactions that occurred over the off season.

In this article we’re going to preview the main contenders from both conferences and share with you our tips for the MVP and Rookie of the Year.

Also, when the season starts, don’t forget to check out our NBA Model, which uses sophisticated data science to price each game. You can then go where the value is and back the overs on the Betfair Exchange.

The East

The road to win the East no longer goes through Cleveland. However, Boston, who fell just short in beating the Cavs last year, have been made the heavy favourites to win the East. Brad Stevens is already regarded as one of the best basketball coaches in the world and has one of the deepest rotations you’ll see, particularly if Gordon Hayward can return to his previous level.

However, it’s hard to march in at the current odds of $1.90. The Celtics are too popular in the market and they still have injury concerns that make them a futures risk. Al Horford, Kyrie Irving and Hayward have all missed time in the past two seasons and with no guarantee their body can hold up over the long season, the $1.90 to win the East looks too short.

Who can challenge the Celtics?

The Raptors underwent serious changes over the off season with a new coach and a new superstar now in the mix. Clearly Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the league but with no guarantee he stays for the long term, can he be trusted to give everything to the team to try and win like he did in San Antonio? They don’t go far without him at his best. Plus, how much will they miss the consistent improvement of DeMar DeRozan?

Ben Simmons’ Philadelphia 76ers are our pick to break through. They have the most room for improvement. Embiid only played 63 games with plenty of DNP’s because he was held out of back to backs last year. He looks set to play even more and with a fully healthy Markelle Fultz in the team, increased depth through free agency and a seemingly unstoppable point guard, they look set to make the leap.

On the next line of betting is a group of teams that all look like they’ll be bunched up together again. Indiana, Milwaukee and Washington. However, we’re adding in Miami and think they could be the surprise of the conference.

The Heat’s season has already been marked down as Dwyane Wade’s retirement tour but they’ve got the players to win now. Offensively they’ll need growth from Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo but they might not need much. Defensively, they were the 4th best team in the league last year. Continuity doesn’t make that number change and they look serious value to win the East.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Philadephia 76ers to Win the Eastern Conference for 2 units

 BACK – Miami Heat to win the Eastern Conference for 1 unit

The West

The Rockets aren’t going anywhere. They won six more games than any team in the NBA season last year and if it wasn’t for a Chris Paul injury, probably would have won the competition. They were backed into favouritism before Game Six of the Western Conference Finals.

They did lose their two-way wings in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, but the additions of Brandon Knight, Carmelo Anthony, Marquese Chriss and Michael Carter-Williams give them another dimension offensively. Plus, James Ennis could be handy on both ends.

We don’t buy into Carmelo taking shots away from Harden and Paul and being a bad fit either. He knows the opportunity he has here. He’s going to win them games scoring the ball when it bogs down late and his rebounding ability will be key to maintaining their tempo.

Lastly, Chris Paul is key. He missed 24 games last season (another 20 the year before) and needs to be 100% come playoff time. They’ve got the guard depth to manage without him in the regular season but not in the playoffs. They’re the second best team by far in the West and we’re backing them at over $6.

Who else should we discuss apart from the Rockets and Warriors?

There’s LeBron’s Lakers. However, their roster isn’t experienced or deep enough to compete with the best two teams in the west despite having the second best player of all time.

Oklahoma City, Utah and San Antonio are all capable of a deep playoff run but it’s hard to see any of them upsetting the favourites. Minnesota are similar, with or without Jimmy Butler.

One shock team we like to overachieve is the Denver Nuggets. A full season of Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap together should see them increase their win total from last year’s 46. They missed the playoffs by one game last season. With arguably the best guard rotation in the league and a roster they kept together which will improve defensively with continuity, they’re winning any playoff series they enter into IF they have their lethal high altitude home court advantage. Small play here on the Nuggets.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Houston Rockets to Win the Western Conference for 3 units

 BACK – Denver Nuggets to win the Western Conference for 1 unit

The Championship

Lastly, let’s address the odds on favourites.

Golden State are currently $1.69 to repeat as champions and it’s hard to see Steve Kerr’s team not lifting the trophy. The addition of DeMarcus Cousins, who has committed to being a team player for his chances of getting a ring and a big contract the year after, makes them near unbeatable.

Yes, they did get pushed to a Game 7 against Houston last year and might’ve lost if Chris Paul didn’t get hurt but you just couldn’t confidently make a case that they wont win the NBA Title this season.

However, you would be foolish to take the $1.69 on the Exchange. The Warriors drift every season from their opening price.

Golden State traded at $3 before the Playoffs last year and $3.08 during the Western Conference Finals. And the year before they traded at $4!

Whilst you can’t forecast what hurdles they’ll face this year (Kevin Durant / Steph Curry injury? Boogie Cousins killing culture etc), you can’t underestimate how hard it is to return to the NBA Finals five years in a row and win four titles. You have to go back 50 years, to Bill Russell’s Celtics, to find that type of dominance.

If you like the Warriors, and we do, lay them heavily to start the season. You should get $2+ later in the year and be granted an opportunity to green your book to an enviable position.

Further adding to our lay-to-win confidence is the season win markets out of Las Vegas. The Golden State over/under was set at 63 and the under has been backed in.

Betting Strategy

 LAY – Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship for 5 units

 BACK – Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship at $2.10+ in 2019.

Rookie of the Year

Luka Doncic could have the best career in this draft class but we’re going against the European MVP in his rookie season.

We’re very comfortable taking Deandre Ayton. He’s in a situation with zero competition for his spot so minutes will be plentiful for him. They’ll be no pressure to perform on an average Suns squad and I expect the ability to play freely will do nothing but help him thrive.

Five of the last eight winners of this award have also been the number one pick which is a trend we expect to continue here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Deandre Ayton to Win the Rookie of the Year for 2 units

Most Valuable Player

Always a tough award to pick with a flawed voting system but Anthony Davis looks to be the front runner this season. No DeMarcus Cousins, a full season again with Jrue Holiday and an improved squad bodes well for The Brow.

He’s had two seasons in a row now with 75 games played at an average of 36 minutes so his injury troubles look to be behind him. He’s increased his scoring every year and is now a legitimate three point threat. If you need to have a bet, take Davis.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Anthony Davis to Win the MVP for 1 unit

Other Resources

If you’re looking for more resources to improve your NBA Betting, check out the following links below:

NBA Model – The Data Scientists NBA Prediction Model

HotHand – Making NBA stats and betting data available to all

Betfair Data Sources – Some of the largest Sports Data Sources that are freely available.


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