DraftStreet Fantasy Spin: Thursday, April 3, 2014

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draftstreet At one point last night I thought I would win $1,000 in DraftStreet’s NBA Fantasy League. That didn’t happen for several reasons. Anthony Davis, my most expensive player, left the game early with back spasms. Arron Afflalo couldn’t put the ball in the ocean while playing against the measly defense of the Cleveland Cavs. Besides that, all of my other picks performed well.

Today I quickly threw a roster together and will probably make tweaks throughout the day. I contemplated using Tim Duncan but realized there’s a good possibility he doesn’t play since it’s a back-to-back. I picked up Tony Parker for $10,938, and I don’t know why he’s so cheap, maybe DraftStreet know’s something I don’t.

Dirk Nowitzki will likely be my replacement for Duncan. He performs well in big games, which today’s definitely is, Dallas goes against the LA Clippers in Los Angeles. In an OT loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday Dirk had 33 points and 11 assists, look for something similar tonight.

My DraftStreet team for Thursday

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Fresh off giving away $150,000, DraftStreet is running satellites for yet another $100,000 contest. Look for them in the NBA lobby for a chance to win a voucher to the NBA $100K Playoffs Big Score and a $20,000 first place prize. This one starts on April 19 and finishes on April 20, the two-day format being a wrinkle common to NBA playoff leagues. If you don’t have a DraftStreet account, you can sign up using this link.

Thursday’s NBA Games

San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder
Please don’t rest Tim Duncan, coach Pop. This game has all the makings of an instant classic. The Spurs are so hot I can feel it up here in Canada and the Thunder are just excellent. Durant has been playing at Hall of Fame level since February, but so have the Spurs, the winners of 19-straight. You’re foolish if you pass up Durant ($23,356) in fantasy, I would pay 40% of my cap for him, no joke. For San Antonio I like Tony Parker at only $10,938. This will be a barn burner, but I’m calling it now, Thunder will win.

Dallas Mavs at LA Clippers
This is why I love Thursday’s, two great games without all the sub .500 teams wasting our time trying to lose. Dallas had tough fortunes last game (Google Steph Curry OT dagger in Dallas) but they’re a great bounce-back team. I like Jose Calderon ($10,802) for fantasy. I think he’ll try to match the productivity of Chris Paul. For the Clippers, go with Blake Griffin ($19,804), the dude’s been a beast this year. He’s finally playing like the player everyone thought he would be.

Click here to play fantasy basketball with me.

Brett Poirier is a contributor to Sheridan Hoops.

Scotto: Rivers Reunion Becomes a Turning Point for Garnett and Pierce

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IMG_3801Kevin Garnett accurately described what everyone thought after he and Paul Pierce battled his former coach, Doc Rivers.

“It was a bit weird,” said Garnett.

You know what’s even more weird?

Watching Pierce come off the bench in back-to-back games for the first time in his career and Garnett on a minutes restriction comparable to a role player.

NBA Gambling: Notes from the Quarter Pole – Bet The Lakers!

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The gambling life ain’t easy, folks — which is where today’s tale begins. But by the time you get to the end of today’s column, hopefully you’ll be amused by my personal adventures and enlightened by my leaguewide analysis.

We are at the quarter-pole of the NBA season, and trends have emerged.

First, to truly appreciate what it means to gamble on the NBA on a daily basis, you had to experience what it was like to bet on the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, December 3rd. Before we begin, it is also important to note, I personally had a few dollars on the Magic and Raptors in these two contests, so you can follow the pain and agony along with me. Let me paint you a picture of what occurred in both of those games:

Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers

At the Las Vegas Hilton (LVH), the line opened at -3.5 in favor of the 76ers, quickly dropped to -3, and ended up closing at -4 just before tip-off. In terms of the over/under, the line opened at 208 and ended up closing at around 206.

oladipoAt the end of the 1st half, the Sixers led the Magic 58-57 and was on pace to go over the total early on.

The game went into the 4th quarter with the Sixers up 85-80 and with a little over six minutes left in regulation, Philadelphia had their largest lead of the quarter at 91-83.

The game came to a head with a minute left in regulation, the Sixers up 4 and the Magic coming out of a timeout. Aaron Afflalo hit a 3-pointer to reduce the Sixers’ lead to one, 102-101 and 15 seconds later, Thaddeus Young came right down the floor and drained six-foot jump shot of his own to extend the lead to three.

Then, the bizarro began …

Glen Davis, who has six career 3-pointers in 40 attempts over six-plus seasons, mailed a 3 to tie it, and Evan Turner missed a layup at the end of regulation to force overtime. The score of the game previous to Davis’ 3 was 104-101 (205 total points), which meant his “miraculous” three not only put the game into overtime, but took the point total from under to over.

The Sixers led by five with a minute and a half to go in overtime and ended up fouling Aaron Afflalo attempting a 3-pointer, down three, with 12 seconds left Afflalo made all three free throws and the game went to double-overtime. The Sixers again had a five-point lead, but this time with 20 seconds left in double-overtime, Andrew Nicholson hit a two-point field goal to bring the lead to three before the Magic fouled James Anderson, who missed both free throws for the Sixers.

Afflalo then missed a 3-point field goal attempt, the Sixers rebounded the ball and were fouled, Anderson then hit one of two free throws and “magic” happened for Orlando bettors. After a 20-second timeout with around one second left on the clock, Afflalo hit a 25-foot 3-pointer to make the final score 126-125 Sixers, instead of 126-122, which shifted the cover from Philadelphia to Orlando in under a second.

Welcome to the ups and downs of NBA gambling.

Later Tuesday, the Toronto Raptors traveled to Golden State to face the Warriors.

The line at LVH opened at -7.5 in favor of Golden State and closed at -8 before tip-off.

The game started out pretty normal, with about four minutes left in the first quarter, the Raptors were beating the Warriors 16-14 and by the time the whistle had blown focurryur minutes later, Toronto led Golden State 36-19 and the Warriors were 25 points away from covering through just 12 minutes of play.

By the time halftime hit, Toronto was up on Golden State by a score of 65-48 (again, 25 points away from covering for the Warriors). The Raptors kept up the pace and their superior play and took an 88-70 lead into the 4th.

The lead dwindled from 17 to 10 in less than four minutes, from 10 to tied in another four minutes, and with 47 seconds left, Harrison Barnes hit a 3-pointer to put Golden State up 109-103. After two misses from DeMar DeRozan, a miss from Steve Novak and three free throws from Stephen Curry, the Warriors won the game 112-103…and covered the game by one point after a 42-15 4th quarter.

After all of that, what is the point?

Gamblers had to roll through the ups and downs of those games and not drop dead from the crazy swings. It is not a life for the feeble.

Anyway, it’s time to take a look at which teams have been the best bets …  and which teams haven’t.

Against The Spread Standings


Team Record
Pacers 14-5
Blazers 14-5
Suns 13-5-1
Lakers 11-6-1
Bobcats 11-7-1
Hawks 12-8
Rockets 11-8-1
Nuggets 10-8
Wizards 10-8
Celtics 11-9
Clippers 11-9
Warriors 9-8-2
Pistons 10-9
Timberwolves 10-9
Spurs 9-9
Mavericks 10-10
Magic 9-9
Heat 9-10
Jazz 9-10-1
Sixers 9-10
Thunder 8-9
Pelicans 7-10-1
Raptors 7-10
Bulls 7-10
Grizzlies 6-11-1
Kings 5-10-1
Nets 6-13
Knicks 5-12
Cavaliers 5-13
Bucks 5-13

If you are familiar with the regular NBA standings, the top of the ATS (Against The Spread) standings should come as no shock to you with the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers leading the way with 14 ATS wins so far this season.

The two teams collided earlier this week in Portland for one of the best games of the year. Portland come out on top and showed that they should be taken very seriously across the league this season. (Check out where LeMarcus Aldridge is ranked in Chris Sheridan’s latest MVP rankings.)

Some of the more surprising teams on this list have to be the top Eastern Conference teams; here are the top 5 in the ATS East: Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics. With the Knicks, Nets and Bulls near the bottom of the list, the entire conference has been turned upside down just a quarter into the season. My particular surprise team on this list has to be the Los Angeles Lakers. L.A. is 11-6-1 ATS for 4th place in the NBA, and they are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.

Looking Forward: Against The Spread

I have said it since the beginning of the season and I will reiterate it now. I personally believe the Orlando Magic will have a bit of a successful season if you are using their preseason win total (24.5) line as the barometer. The Magic are currently 9-9 ATS through 18 games and 6-12 overall. As long as the books do not look at Orlando as a threa, I believe they will do a good job at covering numbers as underdogs against some of the better teams in the league.

Over the summer, I pinpointed four teams (three of which had 100/1 odds or greater) I personally liked to place future wagers on: Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and my favorite, the Indiana Pacers. Based on what we have seen so far, I am not upset with any of those picks for a few different reasons. The Pacers own the best record in the NBA both straight up and ATS, and the Pelicans, Timberwolves and Pistons all have nine wins and are basically playing .500 basketball through a 1/4 of the season.

Update on Individual Awards

I am referencing the column I wrote on Sheridan Hoops about a week before the season started on the odds on such awards as the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Scoring leader as well as a few proposition bets. When accessing the rookie class so far, lets start with Chris Bernucca‘s Week 5 Rookie Rankings, which puts Michael Carter-Williams 1st (8/1), Victor Oladipo 2nd (4/1), Trey Burke 3rd (5/1), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 4th (20/1) and Ben McLemore 5th (7/1). I personally believe it will be a two-horse race between Oladipo and Carter-Williams, but given the lack of scoring around Burke and the fact he didn’t have as much of a head start as the other two players may not make a difference if he stays healthy.

georgelebronNext, we will dive into the current MVP race in the NBA. We will start by referencing Chris Sheridan‘s column earlier this week on the MVP award and its current participants a 1/4 of the way through the season. Here are Sheridan’s top five current candidates for the award: Paul George (35/1), LaMarcus Aldridge (125/1), Kevin Durant (3.5/1), LeBron James (1.4/1) and Tony Parker (30/1). The prices on the first two players on this list are very, very intriguing if you were able to grab tickets on them before the season started, but it is still very hard for me to believe that anyone else but LeBron James will ultimately win this award.

In my opinion, Paul George may have an actual shot to win this award if the Pacers can keep up their win pace to a degree for the remainder of the season. That would mean having to win 60+ games and keeping the remainder of the Eastern Conference a bunch of games behind them to make it look good compared to the absurd numbers James will put up by seasons end.

Nothing is too shocking when you are looking at the early numbers for scoring, rebounding and assist leaders in the clubhouse. Here are the top 5 players in each category, their preseason odds to lead the league in those statistical categories, and then I will throw in a dark-horse or two to watch as the season moves along.

Scoring

Kevin Durant  was the favorite at 6/5, and he is atop the league at 28.5 ppg. LeBron James is third at 25.7, and if he avoids any more of the energy voids like the one that plagued him in last night’s 20-point loss to Chicago, he can make a run for this distinction. (Check out this Chris Bernucca column on how James is doing things that even Michael Jordan didn’t do.) Carmelo Anthony went off at 3.15/1, and he is currently second at 25.9.

Rebounding

Only one rebound separates the top four players, led by the 13.6 of Kevin Love (1.5/1) followed by DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond and Dwight Howard, who was the preseason favorite at even money. Jordan and Drummond were 6-1 “field” bets.

Assists

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Chris Paul went off at 1.5 to 1 in the preseason, and John Wall, who is trailing him 11.8 to 9.2, should hang onto the league lead for the remainder of the season barring an injury. If that should happen, those who wagered on Wall at 9-1 or Ricky Rubio at 15/2 will have some nice action.

The Futures Market


Team Las Veags Offshore
Heat 3/2 +205
Thunder 9/2 +735
Pacers 5/1 +525
Spurs 15/2 +825
Rockets 10/1 15/1
Warriors 12/1 19/1
Clippers 12/1 14/1
Blazers 20/1 33/1
Timberwolves 40/1 60/1
Bulls 40/1 35/1
Grizzlies 50/1 45/1
Mavericks 50/1 80/1
Nets 60/1 30/1
Raptors 60/1 275/1
Nuggets 75/1 70/1
Pelicans 100/1 185/1
Pistons 100/1 150/1
Knicks 100/1 66/1
Celtics 100/1 350/1
Lakers 100/1 85/1
Wizards 100/1 150/1
Hawks 100/1 100/1
Cavaliers 200/1 150/1
Sixers 500/1 250/1
Kings 500/1 500/1
Suns 500/1 225/1
Bobcats 500/1 500/1
Magic 1000/1 750/1
Bucks 2000/1 500/1
Jazz 9999/1 1000/1

When comparing the current futures market rankings to the market we analyzed over the summer and right before the season started, a few different notes and observations come to mind.

The play of the two New York teams really sent a shock wave through the east coast. The Knicks and Nets were a combined 39/1 to win the NBA Championship if you added up both teams average odds before the season started. Now, they are a combined 128/1 and both in the melochandlerbottom half of the Eastern Conference, currently outside of the playoffs looking in. Injuries have been a big factor for both teams early in the season with Paul Pierce, Tyson Chandler and Deron Williams missing extended periods of time through the first quarter of the season.

The Blazers and Timberwolves look to have made the biggest jump to the list of contenders based on their future odds before the season started. Portland was between 100/1 and 200/1 depending on if you shopped in Las Vegas or offshore, and Minnesota was between 100/1 and 175/1, which makes both a pretty good investment at the current moment if you own their preseason tickets.

If I were to wager at the current moment, it would be very hard for me to resist taking the New York Knicks at 100/1 at the LVH knowing they are getting Tyson Chandler back, and I just do not believe it will get much worse for them.

They will make the playoffs and having a team like the Knicks, with what the remainder of the Eastern Conference looks like, I think a wager on 100/1 is hard to avoid.

I am not too sure what to do with this news, but either way, the Raptors are 60/1 in Las Vegas, but 275/1 offshore.

With the Atlantic Division looking so poor early on and the Celtics, 76ers and Raptors at the top of the division by a few games, the odds of the teams near the top just need to come down a bit. I do not think the Raptors are a threat to do anything of note, but the difference is noteworthy.

The current issue with betting futures on teams like the Hawks, Wizards and Pistons purely based on the standings is the fact that teams like the Magic, Raptors and Cavaliers are only two to three games back with only around 20 games having been played already.

Don’t judge a team based on the standings, but what you have seen from them on the floor and what you think the potential of that team is going forward.

Evan Abrams writes about basketball gambling for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter @Betropolitan.

MORE FROM EVAN ABRAMS:

NBA ODDS ON PLAYERS BEING TRADED
PROP BET LINES ON SCORING LEADER, REBOUNDING, MVP, MORE
NBA FUTURES ODDS: LAS VEGAS VS. OFFSHORE
TEAM BY TEAM OVER/UNDER ODDS FOR WIN TOTALS

Tweet of the Day: Clippers Fall to Pacers

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The Los Angeles Clippers and Indiana Pacers have proven they’re capable to contend for a championship already this season.

Combined, they have a 28-7 record and are both on top of their divisions.

On Sunday the Pacers were in Los Angeles to battle the Clippers and came away victorious with a score of 105-100.

Paul George didn’t disappoint, scoring 27 in the win. He tweeted after the game, and take note of his post-game outfit. Yes, he’s starting to become Russell Westbrook.

 

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LA struggled in the final minutes of the ball game. They trailed by a couple of points and was forced to send Indiana to the line, but the rebounds were tipped by the Pacers and time expired.

Clippers forward Jared Dudley also took to Twitter after the loss, he appears to be looking past the loss and is focused on their upcoming seven-game East Coast road trip.

 

This week will be a true test for the Pacers as they continue their West Coast trip Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers and will play the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder later in the week.

NBA Proposition Bets: A Different Angle

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moneyintrashIn the past few weeks I have written columns on the NBA futures market (to win the championship) and over/unders on regular season win totals, which is always something that intrigues not only bettors, but fans, too, because it gives them a barometer for how their team may perform in the upcoming season.

The last item on the menu before the regular season starts next week is some of the more exotic proposition bets on the NBA betting menu which get some of the NBA “geeks” all giddy before they tip off the season.

To be clear, the sports books in Las Vegas really do not delve into proposition bets very much; they stick to the NBA futures market, regular season win totals and sometimes a prop here or there on the regular season MVP.

So many of the bets I am about to focus on are found offshore, and definitely make for some interesting discussion points.

Rookie Of The Year


Victor Oladipo 4/1
Trey Burke 5/1
Kelly Olynyk 5/1
Cody Zeller 7/1
Ben McLemore 7/1
C.J. McCollum 8/1
Michael Carter-Williams 8/1
Otto Porter 10/1
Anthony Bennett 14/1
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 20/1
Shabazz Muhammad 20/1
Alex Len 25/1
Tim Hardaway Jr 28/1
Nerlens Noel 29/1
Shane Larkin 33/1
Sergay Karasev 33/1
Dennis Shroeder 33/1

Since 1985, when the New York Knicks drafted Patrick Ewing No. 1 overall, 13 overall No. 1 picks have won the Rookie Of The Year award.

A player drafted outside of the top 10 has not won the Rookie Of The Year award since 1987 when Mark Jackson won the award being drafted 18th overall. Granted, the first overall pick this year was a surprise to everyone involved, but having Anthony Bennett as 14/1 to win the award is a bit interesting.

I think the favorites to win the award are most likely Victor Oladipo and his Hoosier teammate Cody Zeller. The obvious sucker-bet in this group is Nerlens Noel, who might miss the entire season with an injury. The Rookie Of The Year award is really hit or miss on whether that player will become a star or prime time player in the league:

Since 2000, the winners have included Mike Miller, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Emeka Okafor, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard.

Regular Season Scoring Leaders


Kevin Durant 1.2/1
Carmelo Anthony 3.15/1
LeBron James 3.5/1
Field (Any Other Player) 8/1
Kobe Bryant 8.25/1
Stephen Curry 14/1
Derrick Rose 15/1
James Harden 16/1
Kevin Love 25/1
Damian Lillard 35/1
Monta Ellis 40/1
Dwayne Wade 50/1
Dirk Nowitzki 50/1
Deron Williams 50/1
LaMarcus Aldridge 50/1
Brook Lopez 50/1
Blake Griffin 50/1
Dwight Howard 50/1
DeMar DeRozan 60/1
Paul Pierce 60/1

Since 2005, only five different players have won this title, which shows the situation the player is in is just as important as that player’s ability to score.

Kobe Bryant has won it twice, LeBron James once, Dwayne Wade once, Kevin Durant three times and most recently Carmelo Anthony.

This is not a recent trend, since 1994 only nine different players have won this award, so thinking a new player will be added to this list is usually not the smart way to bet. If you ask me, a player like Dwayne Wade has no chance to win this award, so you can take him off the list. I can even go so far to say LeBron and Kobe do not have a great chance based on a few different factors. Kobe’s health is a negative and so are LeBron’s assists.

The positive for Kobe is the fact that his teammates are going to look to him very often this year if and when he enters the lineup. The positive for LeBron is Wade’s health and the fact James will be needed to score more than ever this year.

With Russell Westbrook hurt, Kevin Durant and then Carmelo Anthony have to be the favorites this year with the dark horse being James Harden if you ask me.

NBA Regular Season MVP


LeBron James 1.4/1
Kevin Durant 3.5/1
Carmelo Anthony 8.5/1
Derrick Rose 9/1
Chris Paul 11/1
James Harden 16/1
Russell Westbrook 25/1
Kobe Bryant 25/1
Tony Parker 30/1
Dwight Howard 30/1
Kyrie Irving 30/1
Stephen Curry 30/1
Blake Griffin 30/1
Paul George 35/1
Tim Duncan 45/1
Kevin Love 45/1
John Wall 50/1
Deron Williams 55/1
Dirk Nowitzki 60/1
Rajon Rondo 65/1
Dwayne Wade 75/1
Ty Lawson 100/1
Andre Iguodala 100/1
Brandon Jennings 125/1
Kemba Walker 125/1
Monta Ellis 125/1
David Lee 125/1
Pau Gasol 125/1
LaMarcus Aldridge 125/1
Roy Hibbert 125/1
Anthony Davis 125/1
Josh Smith 125/1

The question here is pretty simple…can anyone win this award but LeBron James? James has won it four of the past five years, with Derrick Rose being the only player other than James to win the award since 2007 when Kobe Bryant won it.

Only four NBA players are listed below 10/1 to win this award, and it is that way for a reason, this is not baseball, a team must be very good for a player to win this award — and that is why the best players on the Knicks, Thunder, Heat and Bulls are on the top of this list. If you are looking for a dark horse to win the award, here are a few players I would possibly look at: Chris Paul, James Harden, Stephen Curry and a long-shot in Monta Ellis. (I’d drop a couple bucks on Kyrie at 30/1-CS)

Regular Season Assists Per Game


Chris Paul 1.5/1
Deron Williams 3/1
Rajon Rondo 3/1
Ricky Rubio 7.5/1
Derrick Rose 8.5/1
John Wall 9/1
Steve Nash 16/1
Jeff Teague 25/1
Tony Parker 25/1
Jose Calderon 30/1
Brandon Jennings 55/1

Like many of the other awards, since 1998, only five players have won this award: Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. I truly believe there is no dark horse for this award, I would be truly surprised if someone other than Rondo, Paul or Deron Williams won the award. I do not have long term faith in Rubio to win it, Rose and Wall will need to score too much and Nash simply does not have it to contend with his roster and age.

Regular Season Rebounds Per Game


Dwight Howard 1/1
Kevin Love 1.5/1
Field (Any Other Player) 6/1
Nikola Vucevic 9.5/1
Anderson Varejao 16/1
Tyson Chandler 18/1
Joakim Noah 20/1
Zach Randolph 20/1
DeMarcus Cousins 20/1
Anthony Davis 25/1
Omer Asik 30/1
Al Horford 30/1
Blake Griffin 35/1
Reggie Evans 35/1
Andrew Bynum 35/1
David Lee 40/1
Tim Duncan 55/1

Since 2003, three players have won this award: Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love. Out of all the other awards, it is the first time one player is listed at even money to win — Dwight Howard to have the most rebounds. If you want to talk about a dark horse for the award, I would go with a few different players to take a chance on: Tyson Chandler and DeMarcus Cousins. Chandler I believe has a chance because Andrea Bargnani simply does not rebound and Chandler will be able to gobble up a ton this year and Cousins, if motivated in the right areas, could legitimately be a contender here, but those character concerns are what make him 20/1.

Team vs Team NBA Regular Season Wins

Here are a few examples of team vs. team regular season totals, compared to other teams’ win totals, wins for the higher echelon teams across the league:

Clippers (-105) -4.5 over Nets (-125)

Bulls (-115) -3 over Rockets (-115)

Bulls (+100) -3.5 over Thunder (-130)

Pacers (-115) -2 over Warriors (-115)

Heat (-115) -6 over Rockets (-115)

Heat (-115) -8.5 over Thunder (-115)

Lakers (+120) -9.5 over Celtics (-150)

Rockets (-115) -2 over Nets (-115)

Nets (-115) -2.5 over Warriors (-115)

A few props that stand out to me…the fact that the Lakers are 9.5 wins ahead of anyone is very surprising, but the Celtics are supposed to be in the bottom five teams in the league in wins this year and if Danny Ainge decides to deal Rondo, they could easily fall in the bottom three. The Lakers do not look much better themselves and could end up trading Pau Gasol at some point this year, which makes that wager a complete toss-up based on who blows it up first. I think the Bulls over the Thunder is a very sneaky wager based on the fact of how deep Chicago is and how thin Oklahoma City is this year, especially with the injury to Westbrook and the loss of Kevin Martin.

Evan Abrams writes about basketball gambling for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter @Betropolitan..