The dust has settled and the NBA offseason has officially hit its conclusion when it comes to the futures market. Before we start with a bit of analysis on how we got here and some of the changes that lead us to this point, let’s show you the complete changes between the NBA futures market on June 21st and the market on September 11th. For reference sake, NBA free agency did not begin until 12:01 a.m. July 1st.
Out of the 30 teams in the NBA, seven of those teams had their odds decrease between June 21st and September 1st. Some had this happen because they legitimately got better because they upgraded their roster and some had this happen because of some of the decisions made by teams around them, either in their division or in their conference. Let’s take a team-by-team example of why some of these odds shifted in the negative direction:
This one is a complete no-brainer…After their trade which had them acquire Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and the free agent signing of Andrei Kirilenko, their roster was completely revamped and upgraded. We knew after they exited the playoffs really early in 2012, especially to a Bulls team without Derrick Rose and with basically their entire roster hurt or sick, that there was a good chance Mikhail Prokhorov would improve this roster any way possible; what we did not understand is how he he was going to do it without really giving up any of their current assets. Obviously the trade was executed because he virtually gave up three first-round draft picks plus the right to swap another first-round pick, but the fact that he was able to make this happen and give the Nets the shot they needed to contend now was why Brooklyn is now considered the 2nd or 3rd best team in the East and the 4th or 5th best team in the NBA by future market oddsmakers. It is almost certainly worth checking out the latest betting odds at www.bwin.com ahead of the next round of NBA fixtures.
There really is not much to say here other than the fact Chicago will be getting their MVP back from surgery when the 2013-2014 NBA season kicks off in October. I will say, the moves they did make, which were small at that, I have to agree with. They signed Mike Dunleavy Jr through free agency and drafted and signed Tony Snell and Erik Murphy. The swap of Richard Hamilton, Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli for Mike Dunleavy is one that will definitely decrease their rotation size and 3-point shooting from last year. The Bulls should still have to fight and fight to make sure the Pacers do not overtake them for the division lead, but with a healthy Derrick Rose, the Bulls will be the team to beat in the Central Division. (I disagree-CS)
Speaking of the Pacers…their odds moved a little bit more than the Bulls did, but not by much at all. What was a bit different than Chicago was Indiana’s offseason which was a bit more active and productive if you ask me. The Pacers signing of Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson and their trade for Luis Scola solidifies one of their main weaknesses in the 2012-2013 NBA playoffs which was depth off of their bench, especially against Miami. By adding a stretch big man and a back up guard, the Pacers in my eyes did exactly what they needed to do to keep pace with the Eastern Conference and put them in a position to succeed come playoff time this year. My favorite move of their offseason is their addition of Luis Scola, I believe he will be a great contributor to what Indiana already does efficiently. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I believe the Pacers have a great opportunity to take the next step towards the Finals this coming year.
The Cavaliers are the third team in the Central Division to have their odds decrease from the end of June to the beginning of September, which means you have to assume this division is going to much more tough come this upcoming regular season. Cleveland’s offseason moves mainly consisted of adding Andrew Bynum, Anthony Bennett and Jarrett Jack to their roster. I believe one of the biggest signings for Cleveland this offseason was Jack. Barring an injury to Kyrie Irving, which would now come with some insurance, Jack will be a great compliment to Irving if he plays off the ball. The Cavaliers 15/1 decrease in two months can be explained by their simply adding talent to a roster that already had one of the top talents and up and coming players in the NBA in Irving.
The winner of the low risk/high reward signing of the offseason is the Miami Heat by acquiring Greg Oden in free agency. He will not need to do things immediately to show his worth, Miami has no issue letting him take his time getting back into basketball shape and ready to contribute and these are just a few reasons why I believe Miami was and is the perfect place for Oden to give this league one last shot. The Heat’s one point decrease in odds was most likely attributed to money coming in on Miami and the books understanding there was really no number they could put up there that would detract the amount of bets they would receive on LeBron James and crew. Unlike teams like the Clippers, Bulls and Pacers, who are extremely talented, but still have some questions whether they can perform come playoff time, bettors are the opposite of scared to place future bets on LeBron James in the postseason now.
Golden State Warriors:
The Warriors probably had the 3rd most interesting offseason when it comes to acquiring talent behind the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets. Golden State lost Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, two key components to their rotation last year, but ended up acquiring Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights in the process. Obviously the main addition was Iguodala, which immediately took them to the next level, especially now with a starting lineup of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Lee and Bogut, with Harrison Barnes one of many coming off the bench for them. I am not sure there is another team across the league that is as youthful, deep and talented as the Warriors right now and that is definitely one of the reasons why their odds had a decrease of 8.5. I honestly believe the decrease was not enough, especially with the fact the majority of the talent across the league has shifted toward the Eastern Conference, if the Warriors can gel they can definitely make a run in the playoffs this year.
Had to leave the most interesting offseason for last…Going into the “Dwecision” sweepstakes, it was clear early on that the Houston Rockets were going to be the favorites to acquire Howard and after a ton of head-fakes and media reports, it ended up being true. When the Rockets fell the the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs last year, many people who watched the series closely believed they were really one major piece away from being a serious contender in the Western Conference. Obviously Howard is the Rockets prize possession of the offseason, but I believe the potential of Houston lies in another one of their players: Omar Asik. If the Rockets are going to live up to expectations and take their 2013-2014 season to the next level, the talent around Howard is going to have to improve to make that happen. One statistic they will have to improve to make that happen is turnovers per possession and turnovers per offensive play, which they were dead last in the NBA in last year at 16.4% and 14.8%. Granted, the Rockets were 1st in the NBA in possessions per game at 99.9 and that should change a bit with the addition of Howard and slowing up their tempo a bit in the process. I fully expect James Harden to put up the same type of numbers he did last year, but the people around Houston’s two “superstars” will be the reason for their crowning or their downfall in the long run.
In the column I wrote back in August, I made a list of three fliers and one of my favorite offseason wagers based on the NBA future market odds; those were: the Timberwolves, Pelicans, Pistons and Pacers. Obviously the three fliers were Minnesota, Detroit and New Orleans, with one of my favorite wagers being Indiana. Now that the futures market has had another month to mature since listing those wagers, all three can still be had at 150/1 and above with the Pacers still showing some value at 13/1. One of the reasons I am high on Minnesota this year is a combination of two statistics I think will continue to be in their favor as long as they have their version of the twin towers in Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic:
1. Timberwolves were 5th in the NBA last year in opponent offensive rebounds per game (10.6…the median was 11)…in other words, they were limiting opportunities for opponents to score.
2. Minnesota was 4th in the NBA in extra scoring chances per game (2.3…the median was -0.3)…in other words, they were creating extra opportunities for themselves to score as well.
October Odds Update:
With the month of September behind us, let’s give you an update on how future odds have shifted both in Las Vegas and in the offshore sports book market. NBA win totals and season proposition bets should be available in the next week or two, which makes this time period very important to pay attention to the future market alone.
Las Vegas Hilton
|Las Vegas Hilton||June 27th||Oct 1st||Difference|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||4.5/1||4.5/1||0|
|San Antonio Spurs||7/1||8/1||1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||10/1||8/1||-2|
|New York Knicks||20/1||25/1||5|
|Golden State Warriors||25/1||30/1||5|
|Los Angeles Lakers||25/1||100/1||75|
|New Orleans Pelicans||100/1||100/1||0|
If you notice there are a few differences between the odds at the Las Vegas Hilton and offshore at a sports book like 5Dimes and that is simply differences in liability. A sports book in Las Vegas is more willing to take in the larger odds for poorer teams like having the Boston Celtics at 300/1 offshore, but 175/1 offshore. On the contrary, other than the Miami Heat, which every sports book will have as the favorite and always below 3/1 to open the season, offshore sports books are more willing to offer the better teams at a little bit of a better value, for example the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. Spurs are 8/1 at the Hilton, but 11/1 offshore and the Bulls are 6/1 at the Hilton and 10/1 offshore.
The three biggest negative changes at the Las Vegas Hilton since they opened June are the Pistons, Rockets and Nets, which are pretty much the three NBA teams who acquired the most offseason talent. By looking at the odds, the other lesson you learn is to wait on the long shots; as you can see the bottom 1/3 of the league had their odds shoot up at least 100/1 from their opener at the end of the NBA Finals. The reason for this is the fact the offseason can bring all sorts of changes across the league and until rosters are settled the Hilton does not want to have serious exposure on teams like the Pistons who could end up acquiring talent out of nowhere. That is the reason why teams like the Sixers and Bucks open at 100/1 but are currently listed at 1000/1 and up.
Evan Abrams writes about basketball gambling for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter @Betropolitan..