Players will always be unhappy when their best defensive player doesn’t get the award, and some will go on record about it. Manu Ginobili openly wondered how Tim Duncan didn’t win, and Dwight Howard thought the results were funny.
NBA players always seem to question what the media knows when the voting for awards don’t go a certain way. That was again the case when it was determined that Marc Gasol won the Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
Manu Ginobili, who has had the privilege of playing alongside the great defense of Tim Duncan all his career, clearly did not appreciate his big man getting snubbed for the award after having yet another impacting presence on the defensive end for one of the best teams in the league. Here is what he had to say, from Mike Monroe of San Antonio Express-News:
The Harlem Shake craze won’t go away.
It has gotten its fair share of coverage here already.
However, sometimes greatness presents itself in such a way that you have to reprise an overused subject.
For the simplicity’s sake, allow San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili to introduce you to the latest NBA version of the Harlem Shake.
With March Madness officially behind us and a little over two weeks left in the NBA regular season, the majority of sports gamblers turn their focus back to the NBA.
Attacking the NBA futures market and NBA playoff odds before the regular season ends can be a very profitable way to walk into the playoffs. In this column, we are going to analyze some of the differences between what the futures market looked like a little over a month ago and what the odds are as of April 1st.
Some of the biggest differences you will see in the futures are fewer teams listed and a more balanced gap between the teams and odds across the board. The previous “Eight Pillars Of NBA” piece listed futures on 30 different teams, while the futures market now currently only lists odds for 18 teams. Out of the 18 teams that are currently listed in the chart below, 14 of them had their odds go up since February 28th. Three teams had their odds go down: Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets; the Indiana Pacers have the exact same odds today as they did a month ago.
The dollar amounts I have listed on the chart give you an idea of how much money you would have lost or gained if you placed a $100 wager on that teams future now versus my last column a little over a month ago:
|Pillar 1||Heat||1st Odds are NEWEST|
|1/1.2 & 1.5/1|
|4.35/1 & 3.5/1||6.5/1 & 5.5/1|
|16/1 & 35/1||17.5/1 & 10/1||18/1 & 18/1|
|23/1 & 25/1||28/1 & 18/1||35/1 & 23/1||40/1 & 27/1|
|50/1 & 45/1||70/1 & 33/1|
|125/1 & 75/1||125/1 & 66/1||150/1 & 125/1|
|300/1 & 275/1||400/1 & 300/1||450/1 & 150/1|
If you simply take a look at the line changes and compare them to playoff position, you can see the “best bets” at the current moment.
When it comes to ensuring a profit in futures NBA bets, matchups become the biggest aspect during the playoffs. If you can avoid playing teams like the Miami Heat for just one extra round, it can mean one more round of lighter odds and possibly an easier opponent in route to the Finals.
The NBA regular season ends on April 17th, so at the current moment matchups are near impossible to guarantee for the road to the Finals. The two and three seeds in the Eastern Conference are tied, while the 4, 5 and 6 seeds are separated by a game and a half. The most likely matchup at the moment is the Miami Heat against the Milwaukee Bucks as the one versus eight seeds in the first round, that is certainly not a sure thing.
With 2, 3 , 6 and 7 avoiding Miami until the conference finals, it was very difficult for me to leave the Brooklyn Nets off my team of recommended wagers at this price. Originally at 33/1 a month ago and now at 70/1, Brooklyn is currently the number four seed in the east and lined up to play Chicago or Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs. The Nets are just 3-4 straight up and 2-5 against the spread versus the Hawks and Bulls this season.
If Brooklyn can get Joe Johnson healthy over the next two weeks I feel the 70/1 future could definitely be an investment come hopefully the second round of the playoffs against Miami.
When looking at the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference here is a breakdown of the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers:
|Odds||Home/Road Left||Playoff Teams Remaining||Proj. Final||Team Rankings Playoff %|
|Utah Jazz||450/1||4/3||DEN, @GDST, OKC, @MEM||39-36/4-3||50.90%|
|Los Angeles Lakers||23/1||6/2||DAL, MEM, @LAC, GDST, SA, HOU||38-36/5-3||43.50%|
|Dallas Mavericks||400/1||4/5||@LAK, @DEN, DEN, MEM||36-37/5-4||7.10%|
The issue with finding value in any of these three teams fighting for the eight seed is the fact they are 38-81 (.319) against teams .500 and better this season. In my honest opinion, I think the Spurs can be beat. A recent injury to Manu Ginobili, who is out the remainder of the regular season, has put San Antonio in a position where they are only one game up on Oklahoma City for the number one seed in the west.
As much as I want to recommend a small wager on the Mavericks at 400/1 to put a large scare in the Spurs, I am not sure Dallas will be that last team in the playoffs this year. The Jazz are 3 games ahead of the Mavericks in the win column right now with only around eight games left for each team. At 450/1, the Utah Jazz simply represents more value at the current moment than the Lakers and Mavericks. Are the Lakers better equipped to win four games in around a week against the Thunder or Spurs…possibly; but at 23/1 and an upward battle from the ninth spot in the west, it might not be worth the “gamble.”
In the Lakers eight games remaining on their schedule they face six “playoff” teams, with five of them being at the Staples Center.
This may be a good thing for Los Angeles, as they are 5-1 in their last six home games versus “playoff” teams coming in.
Here are a few influential statistics that I believe will come into play come playoff time:
1. Who are the top 6 teams in the NBA (winning percentage) in close-margined road games this season?
2. These 5 teams are the best at defending the “runway” (the rim to 9 feet away from the basket; opponent field goal percentage) in the NBA.
3. Which “playoff” teams are the worst against the spread across the NBA?
4. An NBA efficiency formula I put together, which calculates defensive statistics and simple offensive efficiency (((Assists Per Game) – (Turnovers Per Game)) + DEF (Steals, Blocks & Charges Drawn)).
Evan Abrams contributes gambling-related articles to SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter, where he goes by @Betropolitan.