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Eastern Conference Down to Big Three – Rest Playing for Next Year

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Eastern Conference Down to Big Three – Rest Playing for Next Year

The 2018-2019 NBA season hasn’t even tipped, yet we already know that there are realistically only three teams vying to be Eastern Conference champs. All we have to do is take a peek at what the professional oddsmakers at the world’s top betting sites are dealing on each individual team in the East to win the conference crown.

Boston Celtics -110

Toronto Raptors +375

Philadelphia 76ers +400

Milwaukee Bucks +2350

Washington Wizards +2600

Indiana Pacers +2800

New York Knicks +7000

Miami Heat +7000

Detroit Pistons +7000

Charlotte Hornets +9000

Chicago Bulls +9000

Cleveland Cavaliers +9000

Orlando Magic +12000

Brooklyn Nets +18500

Atlanta Hawks +20000

There are no shockers here as the Celtics, 76ers, and Raptors lead the list with last season’s Eastern Conference kings, the Cleveland Cavaliers, nowhere to be found now that LeBron has taken his talents to the West Coast. Perhaps the only tinge of surprise were the rather lofty odds on the Milwaukee Bucks. After all, they enjoy the services of one who many believe to be the preeminent player in the conference in Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka The Greek Freak. But one man does not a team make and that was evident last year when the Bucks were bounced in the opening round by the Celtics. Had it not been for Antetokounmpo, who led the team in scoring in four of the seven playoff games with Boston, Milwaukee would not only have been swept but would never have even sniffed the postseason. Nevertheless, the Bucks have him as well as Khris Middleton, and to a lesser extent Eric Bledsoe, to form a talented triumvirate that would be good enough to compete with the big boys if they had a more adept group surrounding them. Who knows, maybe the kid from Villanova, Donte DiVincenzo, the No. 18 pick in the draft this year will add the oomph they need. But the fact remains that Milwaukee is just another also-ran behind the Big Three.

The Toronto Raptors won the regular season title in the East last season, notching 59 wins and the No. 1 seed. But it wasn’t exactly a stunner when, after ousting the Bucks in six games, they were swept in four by LeBron James – not the Cavaliers – just LeBron. But this year they pried a disenchanted Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs which makes them a better team right from jump street. However, the loss of DeMar DeRozan in that deal should not be overlooked. Essentially, they dealt a four-time All-Star for a younger two-time All-Star. We’re not sure Kawhi is a game changer here with DeRozen out of the picture.

What we’re really down to is the Celtics versus the Sixers – conjuring images of Larry, Kevin and the Chief against Dr. J, Sir Charles, and Moses. But this is 2018 and now it’s Kyrie, Jason, and Jalen battling Joel, Ben, and Dario. The personalities may not be nearly as big as those towering figures of the 80’s but the talent is most definitely there. The key question could be the status of Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz, the top overall pick in the 2017 draft. Fultz was on the shelf shortly after he began his rookie campaign but returned near the end of the season with mixed results. But is he the real deal or a first-round bust? It’s too early to tell but if he provides the goods then the Green could be in for a reversal of fortune when they bounced the 76ers in last year’s postseason.

The Celtics have their own question that needs answering as Gordon Hayward is ready to roll after a gruesome leg injury in last year’s season opener that had fans wincing between closed eyes and gritted teeth. Will Hayward return to the form that made him the second prized free agent two seasons ago, along with Kyrie Irving? We will soon find out.

If you want action on the teams in the East or even teams in the West, make sure to check out the industry’s top betting sites and make an informed decision about where to trust your bankroll. Not all online sportsbooks are created equal so get educated and may all your wagers be winners.

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Can LeBron and the LA Lakers Bring it Home in 2019/2020?

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LeBron James is smiling all the way to the bank with an estimated net worth of $480 million, and a salary of $100 million per year. standing 6’9″ tall this NBA superstar, TV producer, voice actor, and screenwriter has everything going for him. His $40 million per year salary from the NBA is supplemented by endorsements valued at $55 million a year, for a massive haul of $100 million per annum in income.

In his first 10 years as a professional player, he earned $452 million, and at last count his total career earnings exceeded $600 million before taxes. Among the many companies that have endorsed him include Coca-Cola, Baskin-Robbins, Nike, Microsoft, McDonald’s, State Farm, and Beats by Dre. He’s still a long way away from billionaire status like Michael Jordan ($1.9 billion), but given his huge talent, he’ll get there soon enough, maybe even with the LA Lakers!

March Madness Ahead for LA Lakers

In 2019/2020, James has already played in 51+ games for the LA Lakers, scoring 25 points on average, with 7.8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists. The current squad includes the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Anthony Davis, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley, Avery Bradley, Devontae Cacok, Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, LeBron James, Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels, Kostas Antetokounmpo, and Dwight Howard. The team is coached by Frank Vogel, and owned by the Jerry Buss Family Trust.

The LA Lakers performed exceptionally well in the Western Conference, leading the pack as the #1 team. They’ve currently won 41 games, lost 12, with a win percent ratio of 0.774 (Friday, 21 February 2020). The Conference Performance reads 28-6, their home record 18-7, and their away record 23-5. Their closest competition at this point in time in the Western Conference comes from the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Clippers both of which are experiencing losses heading into the last weekend of the month. The LA Lakers face the following teams in March:

  • LA Lakers versus Pelicans – Sunday, 1 March at 8 PM
  • 76ers versus LA Lakers – Tuesday, 3 March at 10 PM
  • Bucks versus LA Lakers – Friday, 6 March at 10:30 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Clippers – Sunday, 8 March at 3:30 PM
  • Nets versus LA Lakers – Tuesday, 10 March at 10:30 PM
  • Rockets versus LA Lakers – Thursday, 12 March at 10:30 PM
  • Nuggets versus LA Lakers – Sunday, 15 March at 9 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Jazz – Monday, 16 March at 9 PM
  • Jazz versus LA Lakers – Wednesday 18 March at 10 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Hornets – Saturday, 21 March at 7 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Pistons – Sunday, 22 March at 6 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Raptors – Tuesday, 24 March at 7:30 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Cavaliers – Thursday, 26 March at 7 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Wizards – Saturday, 28 March at 8 PM
  • LA Lakers versus Timberwolves – Monday, 30 March at 8 PM

The current Los Angeles Lakers stats (courtesy of NBA advanced stats) indicate that the team is currently #7 in the PPG, #7 in the RPG, #4 in the APG, and #7 in the OPG, with a record of 41-12 (.774). The team is ranked #1 in the Western Conference and #1 in the Pacific Division. The top online bookmakers are pretty clear about how strong the LA Lakers are doing. For example, 888sport NJ NBA odds have the LA Lakers as near favorites to win the championship at +300.

Other leading bookmakers have the LA Lakers at odds of 9/4 to win the 2019/2020 NBA finals taking place on June 15, 2020. Next in line are the Milwaukee Bucks at odds of 11/4, and the Los Angeles Clippers and odds of 3/1. Clearly, LeBron James & company rank among the big guns to bring it home, in the top 5 teams to win the NBA finals. Either way, it’s going to be a tough road ahead for the Bucks, Lakers, and Clippers in futures betting.

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USA vs Europe – Top European players that have made an impact in the NBA

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There are very few sports where the dominance of one nation is so remarkable as the American dominance in basketball. Even if you take nations who are very good at basketball and have a long-standing tradition, they are still no match for the USA, especially when the Americans decide to take their best players on the court, which to be fair, doesn’t happen all that often.

Even if only half of the best NBA players are part of the American national team, that team is still strong enough to beat all the other teams in the competition, regardless of whether we’re talking about the Olympics or the World Cup. Although it is fair to say that the US took the Olympic Games a lot more seriously than the World Cups. The Americans have won 15 gold medals out of 18 Olympic Games on which they participated.

The sheer thought of having another team win the Olympics when the Americans are playing with their top crop of players is quite unbelievable. In fact, for many players, it is more conceivable to win a jackpot at one of the most popular new online slots than for the Serbs or the Spaniards to win against a full US squad.

Differences in terms of rules and quality

The difference between the American national team and the other national teams is tremendous as we mentioned, but the difference between the NBA and the other national leagues is even more impressive. And it’s not just in terms of rules. Yes, to fans of other sports it may seem quite weird that there are different rules in USA and in Europe. And when we say different rules, we don’t mean small details and finesses – quarters in the NBA last longer by 2 minutes, which makes the whole game longer by 8 minutes in total. Also, the 3-point line in NBA is behind the European 3-point line which also has a major impact on the game.

But what we really want to talk about is the difference in quality between the teams of the NBA and their European counterparts. If you are a fan of other sports, you have surely noticed that the national leagues that are considered to be among the best are more or less evenly matched and clashes between the top-performing teams of each league can be quite intense and unpredictable. Whereas, the worst NBA team could beat most if not all European teams on any given day.

The great Nowitzki

Here we’re not going to discuss the NBA teams and their performance against European teams, as there isn’t a lot of data, there haven’t been a lot of competitive matches between NBA and European teams, instead, we will have a look at the most successful Europeans to have played in the NBA.

We are starting top to bottom, but this list is in no way conclusive, and we are not implying that a player that’s placed higher in the rank is definitely and undoubtedly better than the ones who come below. It is more of an approximation than a definitive list.

Obviously, Dirk Nowitzki is the first and most obvious choice here. Not only is he the European player who has made the most tremendous impact on the game, but generally speaking, Nowitzki is a player who marked an era and led his Mavs to a title in 2011. A list of his achievements and the impact he made on the game, so we’re going to stop here and conclude that he is one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, not just the best European to play in the NBA.

Jordan’s fierce rival in the early 1990s – Drazen Petrovic

Some of the best Europeans in the NBA have come from the countries that used to be part of Yugoslavia, most notably Serbia and Croatia. Drazen Petrovic, who died in a tragic traffic accident in 1993, sure is one of the most notable European players, although everybody agrees that if his life hadn’t ended at the age of 28, he would’ve had at least several more remarkable seasons. Petrovic played 5 seasons in the NBA, two in the Trailblazers and three in the then-New Jersey Nets.

The remarkable Frenchman – Parker

Tony Parker is undoubtedly the best Frenchman to ever play in the NBA. A six-time all-star, Parker has won four NBA rings with the San Antonio Spurs, a team where he almost spent his entire career, bar the last season in Charlotte.

The best brother-duo

The Gasol brothers brought a unique style of play to the game, although we have to say that Pau’s impact and contribution are significantly greater.

The quirky Serb who could defend against Shaquille

The current manager of Sacramento Kings, Vlade Divac was drafted in 1989 and played a total of 16 years in the NBA, mostly for the Kings and the Lakers. Divac is also known for his work off the court with his Divac’s Children Foundation.

Other players who deserve a mention

Other players that definitely deserve a mention are: Peja Stojakovic, Arvydas Sabonis, Toni Kukoč, Detlef Schrempf, and Dino Radja.

Current crop led by the amazing European Jordan

Most of the players listed above are players who are no longer active, or their careers are slowly coming to an end, but some of the current Europeans who are active in the NBA are very likely to make a great impact and surpass some of the players who are currently on this list. Most notably, we have to mention Luka Dončić who has already been nicknamed Euro Jordan. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Kristaps Porziņģis should also be mentioned.

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Evaluating The Favorites For The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy

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Many deadlines have now passed with NBA meaning that contenders cannot move in order to boost their team’s chances of success. Nevertheless, while the opportunity was there, many teams made the most of it. Marcus Morris has been acquired by the LA Clippers, and Robert Covington has now gone over to the Houston Rockets. Playoffs are only drawing closer and closer, with the likes of Anthony Davis and Lebron James battling it out. If you’re thinking of placing a bet this year, take a look at the odds below then take a look at the best NJ online sportsbook bonuses (list) before placing your bet.

Los Angeles Lakers: +275

Although previously seen as the underdogs to the Clippers, which was confirmed when they lost to them on two occasions, they still remain a firm favorite at the moment for winning the championship. Hopefully, they’ll have the home-court advantage once the Western Conference playoffs kick-off. If ever they needed a Darren Collinson influence, it would be now.

Milwaukee Bucks: +300

Betters remain skeptical this year due to last year’s terrible playoff against the Toronto Raptors. Although they did play particularly well this season, people aren’t putting their money where their mouths are before they show signs they can win this season.

Los Angeles Clippers: +333

The deadline introduction of Marcus Morris has definitely put this team to an advantage, keeping him from joining rivals as well. There’s also the benefit he’s been able to defend Kawhi Leonard on potential playoffs. Its no surprise betters are placing their trust in the Lakes, but with Morrises fantastic recent performance, who’s to say this can’t change?

Philadelphia 76ers: +1400

This season has been a bit of a struggle for them, despite entering as one of the favorites. Although Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson will somewhat boost the bench’s chances of success, there are other more pressing issues amongst the wider team. The performance of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has been less than satisfactory, throwing their long-term future with the team in an uncertain light.

Houston Rockets: +1600

Even though there is skepticism about how this team is better than the big boys such as the Lakers or Rockets, they still remain a dynamic group, switching things up recently especially with defense and starting center/wing.

Boston Celtics: +2000

Denver Nuggets: +2000

Miami Heat: +2000

Utah Jazz: +2000

All these teams are at a good advantage this time around. Particularly the Heats who now have Andre Iguodala, plus multiple changes to Denver’s bench. Nevertheless, the teams will remain with much of the same core they’ve had during the season.

Toronto Raptors: +2500

Although they haven’t yet received appreciation expected for multi-season success, they are slowly improving than other comparable teams, despite having low odds of 25-1. They’ve managed to improve their record this season to 37-14. It appears this team won’t go down without a fight.

Dallas Mavericks

This team has been blighted with injuries recently, affecting their performance. Just some examples include Luka Doncic spraining his ankle, Dwight Powell rupturing his Achilles tendon. This hasn’t been helped wither by Kristaps Porzingis lackluster performance so far. As can be expected, the Mavericks are now looking at next year to contend properly.

Indiana Pacers: +6600

They are doing surprisingly well but still have a fair way to go before they can truly work towards achieving the title. We were expecting a somewhat better performance on the return of Victor Oladipo. Indiana is in a similar sphere, only shooting 24.5% from the field.

Brooklyn Nets: +10000

Portland Trail Blazers: +100000

Again, another two teams that have been unfortunate with injured players. Despite this, however, they’re doing well with a strong team such as Damian Lillard and Kyle Irving who have both recently displayed impressive performances on stage. Nevertheless, this doesn’t take away the threats that could occur postseason due to the mediocre record of Star Guests.

Oklahoma City Thunder: +15000

San Antonia Spurs: +15000

The odds of both teams are somewhat unusual, particularly Oklahoma City which looks particularly out of place compared to teams above them. San Antonio remains closer to the likes of Portland and Brooklyn in the standings, but this time around are with Oklahoma City 150-1.

Memphis Grizzlies: +20000

They have a more enviable record than some, however, only have odds of 200-1 this time around. Nevertheless, their odds remain better than the Nets and Blazers. Another concern is the loss of two crucial players, Jae Crowther and Solomon Hill when the Andre Iguodala trade comes around.

Minnesota Timberwolves: +25000

New Orleans Pelicans: +25000

Orlando Magic: +25000

Phoenix Suns: +25000

Sacramento Kings: +25000

Washington Wizards: +25000

There are a couple of exciting things going on with these teams. There is one playoff left to go which is with Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference at number eight seed. D’Angelo Russell has been joined with Karl-Anthony Towns. However, this isn’t expected to make much difference this year.

Atlanta Hawks: +50000

Chicago Bulls: +50000

Detroit Pistons: +50000

Golden State Warriors: +50000

It has been difficult for these teams this year with the loss of key players like Andre Drummond and D’Angelo Russell. We think it’s highly unlikely the teams have any chance of success in this year’s championships. But who knows what could happen next time around?

 

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