The NBA season is only three weeks old and little more than 10 percent of the schedule has been completed. However, there’s no time like the present to go around the league and cherry pick the best of the bunch so far. Without further ado, let’s go!
Eastern Conference Winners
Toronto Raptors – Despite winning 59 games and copping the No. 1 playoff seed in the East last year, Toronto took six games to dispatch the pedestrian-at-best Washington Wizards and were summarily swept out of the playoffs in the next round by the Cavaliers. Notwithstanding their talented roster, the team lacked grit and many believed their acquisition of the supremely gifted Kawhi Leonard was just a one-year rental for a player who wished to be elsewhere.
However, the Raps are making a case that this year is different and it’s hard to argue as they have the best record in the Eastern Conference in the early part of November. Maybe Toronto had a heart transplant in the offseason but Leonard has proven to be worthy of their pursuits, averaging over 26 points per game which is above his career best of 25.7 during the 2016-2017 season.
Milwaukee Bucks – The Greek Freak is back and he’s better than ever kids. If voting closed for the league’s MVP today, Giannis Antetokounmpo would have our vote and more than a few others. The Bucks’ young forward is averaging 26.1 PPG and nearly 14 boards per game. Milwaukee experienced their first loss of the season after winning their first seven when they fell to Boston 117-113. However, the news is nothing but good in Milwaukee as the Bucks are second in the league in points, third in assists, fifth in points allowed and tops in rebounds. Sounds like the makings of a juggernaut.
Boston Celtics – After finding their early season footing, the Celtics ripped off four straight wins until they had a WTF moment in Indiana and bowed 102-101 to the Pacers. But all systems are go for Boston and bench jockey Marcus Morris is proving to be reliable in his supporting role. The C’s are the top defensive team in the league but their point production has been lacking. Nevertheless, they are the team to beat in the East with all due respect to the Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers.
Indiana Pacers – Although the Pacers had a big victory over Boston it’s not their modus operandi to beat the big boys. Indiana has a flair for kicking the hell out of the weak sisters and thus looking more formidable than they actually are. However, we must include them because their record dictates we do but don’t get used to seeing the Pacers in such elite company.
Golden State Warriors – It’s no surprise the Warriors are here and it would only be shocking if we didn’t see Steph and the boys in the Finals come June. The Warriors are a machine and the only thing we didn’t see coming was the emergence of 26-year-old Alfonzo McKinnie who has come out of nowhere to contribute to the success of the franchise.
It also comes as no surprise that the oddsmakers are routinely favoring the Warriors by double digits and those who make money on such events understand that one of the most trusted online sportsbooks in the industry can be seen at SBR where you can read the Bovada review before placing some action. Yes, Bovada is commonly hailed as the most venerable online sportsbook in the world and if you’ve got an inclination to get in on the action or simply need another out, give Bovada a chance to earn your business.
Denver Nuggets – Say what?! Wow, who would have thought that the Nuggets would jump out of the gates and into contention in such a big way? Not only are they winning but this is a team showing more temerity than we ever thought possible as evidenced by their 35 point fourth-quarter explosion which led them well past the Jazz in a 103-88 victory. But defense, not offense, has been the hallmark of their success on the young season and a penchant for beating up teams on the glass. How long this lasts, who knows? But right now, the Nuggets are pure gold.
Portland Trail Blazers – It’s certainly not startling to see the Blazers here, however, there is a team of note that is missing. Hmm, wonder which team that could be? Oh well, apparently, we have a failure to launch but we’ll eventually figure it out.
Portland is playing a high-tempo offense complemented by a stout defense and is doing it all while punishing the glass. CJ McCollum is not quite up to his usual lofty standards but he’s getting close and Damian Lillard is nearly unconscious with a 28 plus point per game average and hitting everything that moves.
Well, that’s it until next time people, and if you want to put your money where your mouth is when betting the NBA, make sure to check out the best online sportsbooks over at SBR.
How To Identify The Bracket Busters In The NCAA Tournament
On 17 March 2018, UMBC shocked Virginia 74-54 to become the first No. 16 seed in the history of the NCAA tournament to beat a No. 1 seed.
And with that upset, the remaining 25 perfect brackets among the tens of millions completed before March Madness were ruined.
The quest for the perfect bracket continues this March, so we have analyzed the past 10 years of the tournament identify this year’s potential Cinderella stories.
Whether you’re filling out your bracket or making your college basketball betting picks, these are the trends that could help you spot a shock.
Know your numbers
We’re going to classify a first-round upset as a team seeded 10th or lower advancing, as the chances of a No. 9 seed beating a No. 8 seed are too high to be considered a shock.
In the last 10 years, there have been 72 such upsets, an average of approximately seven per year. There have been no more than 10 first-round upsets in a single year, and no fewer than five.
So while it’s worth populating your bracket with a few surprise wins in the first-round, double-digit upsets are unlikely.
It’s also not worth wasting one of those surprise picks on a No. 16 or No. 15 seed.
While UMBC are the only No. 16 seed to ever win an NCAA tournament game, just eight No. 15 seeds have ever progressed to the second round.
The question, then, is which teams seeded 10th to 14th are most likely to cause a shock?
The First Four – a series of play-in games played prior to the tournament – is an excellent place to start.
Since its conception in 2011, a team that triumphed in the First Four has gone on to win in the first round of the tournament in every year.
In general, low seeds tend to fall into two categories: mid-major conference champions and teams that finished lower in the standings in major conferences.
In terms of first-round upsets, mid-major teams are the ones to watch.
In the past 10 years, 44 of the 72 teams to cause shocks in the first-round were from mid-major conferences, with the Atlantic 10 the top conference with eight.
Conference-USA has also been a great source of upsets recently, with its champion advancing to the Round of 32 in each of the past four years.
While surprise teams are spread fairly evenly across America, Ohio is the home of the upset.
Nine teams seeded 10th or lower from the Buckeye State have won in the Round of 64 since 2009 – three more than any other state.
Unsurprisingly, upsets occur far less frequently when the first round is out of the way.
Just 23 teams seeded 10th or lower have advanced past the Round of 32 in the past 10 years, 20 of whom were seeded between No. 10 and No. 12.
While mid-major teams performed well in the first round, the split is more even in the later stages, with 12 of the 23 teams that reached at least the Sweet 16 in the past 10 years having come from a major conference.
Of the five teams in the past 10 years that have made it all the way to the Elite Eight, just one won their conference.
So while you might have a hunch that a low seed from a smaller conference will upset a powerhouse in the first round, you’re better off sticking with college basketball’s big guns as the tournament progresses, regardless of where they finished in the regular season.
While 2018 was the year of the upset, with UMBC winning in the Round of 64 and Loyola-Chicago making it all the way to the Final Four, it’s likely that the more familiar teams will be the ones making deep runs into the tournament this time around.
The Lakers Are A Longshot
Los Angeles Lakers are in trouble, all predictions are clear. According to all scenarios The Lakers have no chance of reaching the NBA Playoffs. It has not been an easy season for the Lakers, the problems are not only injuries or the low performance of LeBron James, but also the reconstruction of the team has been a focus of criticism.
The LeBron James Case
LeBron James has been the leader of the Lakers since his arrival to the team. So far James is leading the team, despite all his injuries with 26.8 points per game, 51% Field Goal and even the most minutes per game with 35.4 minutes. LeBron was out several weeks by a groin injury.
James has always played in the playoffs since his first years in the NBA. But with the Lakers with a negative record this season, the chances for LeBron are low to get into the playoffs.
The players needed to win and reach the playoffs.
Brandon Ingram: second leader.
Brandon Ingram needs to continue playing as he has been doing in the season. Ingram is the most experienced youngster in the league among the youth of the Lakers. Ingram is averaging up to 17.8 points per game, 6.8 FG Points, 67% free throw shots and 32% three-pointers.
Ingram is literally “another” LeBron James. He must play in the same way and continue to support the team, especially when LeBron rests, Ingram must take the leadership of the team and take them forward.
Kyle Kuzma: One year as a professional.
Kuzma has only one year playing with the Lakers, but so far he is the second leader in points scored in the season with the Lakers with a total of 1070 points, only 54 points less than LeBron James. In addition Kuzma has an average of 19.1 points per game, 7.3 FG points, 76.2% free throw shots and 32% three pointers.
This season has been the debut for Kuzma. As a player he has shown maturity, he is one of the young players in the team and possibly the third key piece to help the Lakers reach the playoffs.
We have done deeper analysis like this on the Lakers and other teams, if you want to read about the best teams and playoffs odds please visit www.sportsbetting24.ca every day. The updates are daily about the NBA Teams.
What Los Angeles Lakers need to do
The Los Angeles Lakers can not lose more than six games, none of the remaining games before the playoffs. The luxury of losing more than six games would be fatal and would leave the Lakers out of the NBA Playoffs.
The main focus of the Lakers should be to keep James healthy to lead the team but to use Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma all the time. The contribution of these two players is important to win games, both represent a younger version of Lebron James.
Reggie Bullock has also been a key player, with 10.8 points per game and with five years of experience, he is one of the players who can contribute space and help the youngest players in the team. The Lakers must use Bullock at least 30 minutes per game as they have been doing this season.
There is enough time to improve, but we must remember that the Lakers have six seasons without playoffs. Waiting for a miracle with LeBron and young players is something really dangerous, especially if you expect this team to have an instant adaptation with the King.
The Los Angeles Lakers Odds to get to the NBA Playoffs.
The bookmakers around the world are not in favor of the Lakers. Not even the big sports sites on the Internet like ESPN, CBS and BASKETBALL REFERENCE.
ESPN gives the Los Angeles Lakers only 3.4% chance of reaching the playoffs this season. It is the fifth team with the lowest chances in the Western Conference.
Basketball Reference offers a similar percentage with 3.5% for the Lakers. But FiveThirtyEight was more hopeful adding 17% of chances.
NBA Championship Contenders at the Quarter Pole
The season is roughly a quarter of the way through and we’ve had more than our fair share of surprises thus far. If we would have told you before the season began that the Golden State Warriors would be ambling along in fourth place in the West would you have asked suggested that another round of cocktails might not be the wisest choice? We certainly couldn’t blame you but here the defending champions sit at 16-9, matching their loss total for the entire season back in 2015-2016.
Without further ado, let’s give a couple of quick hits as well as the corresponding NBA odds for a championship title being dealt by the best online sportsbooks found all over at Sportsbook Review.
- Golden State Warriors (-150) – Only a team like Golden State could still be considered the prohibitive favorite with three other teams above them in the Western Conference standings. Draymond Green has been on the shelf since November 15th, suffering from a sprained right toe, and the Warriors have gone 6-6 straight up without the six-year veteran in the lineup and won’t likely see him dress for another week or more. In addition, center Damian Jones is out for the season with a torn left pectoral muscle, which has left the champs thin in the post. But that hasn’t stopped the oddsmakers from making GSW the favorites to repeat as NBA champions.
- Toronto Raptors (+800) – The Raps were viewed as paper tigers by many before the season started after tearing through the 2017-2018 regular season with 59 wins and garnering the top seed in the East before they were swept in the second round by the Cavaliers. Toronto was not content and fired their Coach of the Year, Dwane Casey, and promoted Nick Nurse to take the helm. The Raptors are proving the pundits wrong and the NBA odds seem to back that up as they currently own the best record in the league and have won 10 of 13 in front of their rabid fans at Scotiabank Arena.
- Boston Celtics (+1100) – The Celtics were supposed to be a force of nature this season with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to claim the East and make a charge at the Warriors. Well, things haven’t exactly turned out that way as Hayward has just now found his groove as a valuable sixth man off the bench as opposed to an underachieving starter. Jaylen Brown has been hindered by injuries and is not playing up to par while backup Terry Rozier, who looked silky smooth in Irving’s stead late last year, is grumbling that he’s no longer in the spotlight. However, the Green Machine has won three straight and seems to be turning the corner.
- Houston Rockets (+1200) – If you want to know how long the NBA season is, imagine a team that is currently under .500 being tagged as having the fourth-best chance to win the NBA championship. If the season ended today, the Rockets would not even be in the postseason but as we all know, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But a healthy Houston team is a winning Houston team as evidenced by the fact that the Rockets have lost all five games when Chris Paul has been out of the lineup while dropping two of three when Harden was sidelined with a hamstring injury. When healthy, the Rockets are very much a team to beat.
- Philadelphia 76ers (+1500) – A one-hundred dollar bill will net you $1500 if you bet the Sixers to win the title six months from now. Philadelphia’s bevy of high draft picks are bearing fruit and after adding the talented Jimmy Butler to their roster, they are officially for real. Nevertheless, the Markelle Fultz experiment continues with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft being hindered by shoulder issues. It’s too early to tell whether this pick has bust written all over it but the Sixers are certainly talented enough to get by and challenge without him.