Let’s face it: the US national team didn’t do as well as expected at this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup. USA Basketball originally selected 35 players to represent the country at the tournament in China this summer, yet only four of them were actually part of the US squad: two were dropped after the Las Vegas training camp, and 17 of them withdrew. The US was represented by Brook Lopez, Derrick White, Donovan Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Joe Harris, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Marcus Smart, Mason Plumlee, and Myles Turner. And the results were far from brilliant: they beat the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Japan in the group stage, Greece and Brazil in the second round, lost to France in the quarter-finals, and beat Poland but lost to Serbia in the classification games. Ultimately, the Spanish national basketball team won the tournament, followed by Argentina, and France in the medal positions – the USA came seventh, outdone by Australia, Serbia, and the Czech Republic.
Many of the players who backed out of the 2019 Basketball World Cup commitment have, in turn, expressed interest in joining the USA squad at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Miami Heat player Jimmy Butler announced at his introductory conference in Miami that he would “most definitely” consider joining the USA squad at the Olympics next year. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis did the same, saying that he does want to play USA Basketball – he already has plenty of experience in international basketball competitions, having played in the 2014 World Cup and the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Warriors’ Draymond Green also plans to play in the Olympics – actually, he looks forward to it, as he has his wedding planned around it. The Rockets’ James Harden, the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, and the Warriors’ Stephen Curry have also expressed their interest and enthusiasm to represent their country in Japan next year – the latter was cautious about making a commitment, though, because of the constant threat of an injury. Understandable, considering the early point in the season.
The Clippers’ Paul George was a bit more moderate in expressing his enthusiasm for joining the USA squad in Tokyo next year. “I would love to. Hopefully, god willing, I can get through a season healthy. And when that time comes, I would love to be part of the Olympics and represent,” he told the ESPN. “But this comes first, obviously. And getting through this year, giving everything to this year. Hopefully, by June, we’re the last team standing and I’ll deal with it at that point.” Kawhi Leonard is also on the cautious side when it comes to committing to the Olympics – “I do want to play but I’m taking it one step at a time. And right now it is getting the Clippers to the Finals,” he sais. The Lakers’ LeBron James has a similar stance on the matter. “I don’t know. I would love to. … I will address that at some point”, he told reporter Dave McMenamin who shared his words on Twitter. He plans to speak to USA Basketball head coach Gregg Popovich at some point, McMenamin revealed.
Who has qualified for the Olympics already?
According to the rules of the Olympics, the host nation – this will be Japan next year – automatically qualifies for the tournament. Besides, the teams that finished the 2019 Basketball World Cup best from each FIBA zone also qualify automatically. Thus, the national basketball teams from Australia (FIBA Oceania), France, and Spain (FIBA Europe), Iran and Japan (FIBA Asia), Nigeria (FIBA Africa), and Argentina and the United States (FIBA Americas) have their spots assured at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Basketball Betting Sites: NBA odds ahead of the league’s return
With the NBA set to return at the end of July, fans have a feast of action to look forward to throughout the summer, and bettors are heading over to the best online sports books where odds can be found for outright markets as well as upcoming games.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, both of whom have been among the favorites for the NBA Championship all season, will face off on day one of the restart, just as they did on the season’s opening night in October.
It was the Clippers that emerged victorious nine months ago, and they backed that up with another triumph over their city rivals on Christmas Day. But the Lakers, who earned a 112-103 win over the Clippers shortly before the lock down, have a comfortable lead at the top of the Western Conference and are priced as short as +200 with some betting sites to secure their first ring since 2010.
The Clippers may have five less wins than the Lakers as things stand, but they are likely to turn it up a notch in the postseason and, as such, +300 is certainly fair.
Sandwiched in between the two LA franchises in the betting odds is the Milwaukee Bucks, whose star man, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is a lock to make it back-to-back MVP Awards, but the ‘Greek Freak’ is looking to improve on last year’s Eastern Conference finals defeat and lead the Bucks to the NBA finals.
Of course, betting odds vary across all of the best sportsbooks for NBA betting, but there is some +250 up for grabs on a Milwaukee team that has the best record, and arguably the best team, in the entire league.
Beyond the three franchises that head up the betting, there are half a dozen teams that could be considered dark horses, including the reigning champions, the Toronto Raptors. Even without two-time NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, who joined the Clippers last summer, the league’s only Canadian outfit are in second place in the East and on course for another playoff run.
The Raptors are generally priced around the +2000 mark, which is about the same as what you’ll get for the Boston Celtics depending on who you bet with.
At a shorter price than the Raptors and Celtics are the Houston Rockets, who despite having the same record to date as the new-look Oklahoma City Thunder, are fourth-favorites for the championship at +1200. James Harden, Russell Westbrook and co would need to usurp the LA teams to get out of the West, and that’s before they run into the Bucks or whoever else emerges from the East, so +1200 is perhaps a touch short.
It all gets underway again on Thursday, July 30 with the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans facing off in Orlando. The Pels, who are sitting outside the playoffs as it stands, are two-point favorites against the spread versus the current fourth seed.
The main event on the first night back is the Lakers vs Clippers, with LeBron James’ team marginally favoured, rather like they are in the outright championship market.
A six-game slate including the Bucks vs Celtics and Rockets vs Mavericks follows on Friday, July 31, before another intriguing set of games goes ahead on Saturday, August 1, with the Lakers vs Raptors in the late slot.
Given that there is no recent form to base odds off of, and performances may not be at such a high level in the early stages given the inevitable rustiness of the players, the betting odds may vary across the board and bettors could be able to find value in certain markets. To compare the top bookmakers for your basketball wagers, visit My Betting Sites.
The Heat Are Not Championship Contenders?
- The Miami Heat have successfully bounced back this season after missing the playoffs and losing Dwyane Wade to retirement last season. The Heat are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and have clinched a playoff spot. However, bettors should not treat the Heat as credible title contenders.
- The Heat’s offseason acquisition of five-time all-star Jimmy Butler has paid off. Butler leads the Heat in points and assists per game. But a team with Butler as its best player is not a team that can win a championship. Butler has been solid, but not spectacular, in the playoffs since he left the Chicago Bulls.
- The Heat’s impressive 41-24 record can be attributed to their incredible performance at home. Miami has the third best home record in the entire league. However, Miami has struggled significantly on the road. They’ve lost 19 of their 33 road games this season. None of the remaining regular season games will take place at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
- The Heat missed a golden opportunity to substantially improve their roster at the trade deadline. Instead of landing a potential game-changing player like Danilo Gallinari, the Heat could only add Jae Crowder and Andre Igoudala. Neither Crowder and Igoudala are difference makers at this stage of their careers.
- Bettors should fade the Heat for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. They are a team ripe for a first round defeat. The people who make NBA expert picks aren’t backing the Heat and neither should you
A Star But Not A Superstar
Jimmy Butler has met the high expectations that were placed on him when the Heat completed a sign-and-trade deal for him this offseason. Butler leads the team in scoring, assists, win shares, and even has the ability to move an NBA point spread on his own. He boasts the highest value over a replacement player on the team. The Heat’s improvement this season can largely be attributed to Butler’s presence.
However, a team with Butler as its best player is not a championship contender. Butler is an all-star because he’s good at everything. But he’s not a superstar because he’s not excellent at anything. Butler only has four 30-point games this season. Butler is also having one of the worst three-point shooting seasons of his career. Butler has averaged just 18.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in his last two postseasons. Those are not the numbers of a superstar who can carry a team to a championship.
No More Home Cooking
Besides the Philadelphia 76ers, no team relied more on its home court advantage to win games than the Heat. The Heat are 27-5 at home this season but just 14-19 on the road. That made the Miami Heat an absolute force for bettors who love to lay down cash on NBA money line home favorites. The Heat’s offense fell off a cliff whenever they had to go on the road. The Heat have an offensive rating of 116.6 at home but a rating of 107.9 on the road. Unfortunately for Miami’s championship hopes, none of the remaining regular season games will be in Miami.
Failure At The Trade Deadline
News reports at the trade deadline suggested that the Heat sought to land Danilo Gallinari. Unfortunately, the Heat had to settle for Jae Crowder and Andre Igoudala as their deadline acquisitions. Crowder and Igoudala are nothing more than serviceable role players. Neither Crowder nor Igoudala adds the offensive juice that the Heat needed to become a true championship contender.
Bettors should look to fade the Heat for the rest of the regular season and to bet on a first round defeat. While all-star Bam Adebayo has had a breakout season and Duncan Robinson has emerged as one of the best three-point shooters in the league, the Heat lack the talent to make a deep playoff run, let alone win a playoff series. The uncertainty over where the NBA playoffs will take place is another bearish sign for a team that has already reached the limits of its capabilities.
The Return of NBA after the Coronavirus Pandemic and What you Should Expect
The NBA 2019/20 season remains suspended due to the covid-19 pandemic, but plans for season restart are underway. The main question remains to be how the rest of the regular NBA season will be like. Since suspension back on March 11, many concerns have been raised with the safety of the players being a priority.
The NBA’s board of governors recently approved a well-revised format for the restart of the season. Twenty-two teams are set to take part, and a tentative start date of July 30 was also agreed upon. The board has approved the restart of the NBA season and is the first step toward resumption of action. However, there’s still a lot that needs to be done. NBA has been working closely with the National Basketball Players Association to develop a comprehensive plan for the restart. Gamblers from all over will be excited to hear that the NBA will be back soon. However, have you found the right bookmaker to place your bets when the season restarts? Have you thought of the bonuses that you can take advantage of? Well, a reputable site such as captaingambling.com got all your betting needs covered. You will be a better place to choose the right online gambling site that gives you the best offers.
While we anticipate the NBA’s return, the following are some things you should know before the restart;
Restart and end dates
The NBA season is expected to resume July 30, and the finals should be no later than mid-October. However, the dates set are only tentative and depend entirely on how things pan out in the next couple of days.
Teams expected to return.
A total of 22 teams are expected to return playing when restart is agreed upon. They include those from the eastern and western conference.
The Eastern Conference comprises of Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, and Washington Wizards.
The western conference comprises of LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns.
The selection of the teams is based entirely on the competitive format that the BOG approved.
Venue for playing the games
The games and practices will be near Orlando since the project restart includes the Walt Disney World resort usage. The players are expected to be housed within a single site location for the rest of the season to minimize the possibility of contracting the virus.
Total of games that each team is expected to play before the begin of playoffs
The number of games is not quite certain as it will mostly vary with a specific team, although a total of 72 or 73 games should be played after the eight seeding games are included.
What will happen if a player doesn’t want to participate?
The coronavirus pandemic has presented a global Challenge, and the NBA understands that. The players’ safety is crucial, and that’s why there’s a clear guideline in case someone chooses not to take part in season restart. There are several situations where a player might be exempted from resuming training and playing. If a team identifies one of their players to be at a higher risk for severe illness as a result of the disease, he doesn’t have to be part of restart and won’t lose their salary. On the other hand, if a player has their health intact and still opts not to take part in the restart, he will lose a part of his earning depending on the number of games missed. Some players remain hesitant about the decision to restart the season with concerns over their safety. It will be interesting to see who goes back and who doesn’t.
Expected start date of 2020/2021 season
Many measures have been put in place, with most sources pointing towards a start date of December 1, 2020. That’s when the next season is expected to start. However, all dates are tentative and will not necessarily hold unless everything works out as expected. The Dec 1st restart is assuming that the 2019/20 season restarts on July 31 as scheduled. If not, the dates will have to be revised upon further discussions.
If the plans for season restart work out, there will be an influx of games, and players will need all the fitness to get through a tough patch. You should expect lots of games to be played within a short period. It presents an excellent opportunity for basketball lovers and gamblers to follow all the action closely once again.