2017-18 NBA Betting: 5 Teams That Are Tough to Bet On
We tend to have a pretty good idea of how we’re going to bet ahead of every new NBA regular season. This year is no different, as there are some truly awful teams and some huge moves have made the elite teams more obvious than ever.
The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers lead the NBA betting world in terms of their NBA Finals odds. Following relatively closely are the likes of the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.
You could make a faint argument that the Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors are somewhat in the mix, as well.
The point here is all of these teams feel like locks to reach the playoffs, which means they’re going to win a lot of games and they make for safe bets on a nightly basis.
There is the other end of the spectrum, too, as there are a few NBA teams that are impossible to bet on. There is another group to consider, though; the NBA teams that are just insanely tough to gauge.
We know which teams to routinely bet in favor of and against, but what about those middling teams that for the moment keep us guessing? Let’s take a look at why they’re so tough to peg as the new year approaches:
The Pacers are basically starting over, as they traded away franchise cornerstone Paul George and got Victor Oladipo in return. That’s a loss, so it’s pretty understandable to assume a team that made the playoffs last year will only regress.
Regress, they will, but in an increasingly worsening Eastern Conference, Indy might be tough to peg initially. While lacking an elite superstar, the Pacers still do have relatively stable talent.
Experienced players like Darren Collison, the aforementioned Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young and rising big man Myles Turner make up what could be an underrated starting five.
Where Indy will surely struggle is their bench, where they lack shooting. Lance Stephenson and Cory Joseph and create and score, but the bench shooting leaves a lot to be desired.
Still, the Pacers are in a bad conference and a division with two teams – Chicago and Detroit – that could be near their talent level, or even lower.
Indiana probably won’t be a good team and doesn’t look like a realistic threat for the playoffs, but they could be good enough early on to keep us from safely targeting them in NBA wagers.
Los Angeles Lakers
The same goes for the Lakers in the Western Conference. Lonzo Ball starts a new era for the Lake Show, who have gotten uncomfortably accustomed to losing.
L.A. made huge waves when they first sent star point guard D’Angelo Russell out of town in a trade – a deal that netted them star center, Brook Lopez. That move, coupled with the arrival of the versatile Ball and an improving young cast, just might show the Lakers to the door of a more successful year.
It’s worth pointing out that Luke Walton has run a solid show in his first season on the job and initially had the Lakers playing pretty competitive ball last year. With more talent on hand, the Lakers could easily be primed for their best season in years.
Now, that’s not saying a whole lot, especially considering the Lakers haven’t even won 30+ games since 2012. Still, the Lakers are trending back upward and even if it’s only early on, they could make betting against them a mistake.
The Hawks are in the same boat as the Pacers, as they’re trending downward, but in a bad Eastern Conference, it’s fair to wonder just how far they’ll fall.
Atlanta has completely redone their roster over the years, as they went from borderline title contender to potential bottom feeder. Losing big names like Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver will do that, of course.
The Hawks do still have good coaching and a solid system, while young talent like Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince could be solid building blocks.
Guessing whether or not the Hawks will be good isn’t the tough part. They lack high-level talent and they probably won’t make it back to the playoffs. However, we can’t know yet just how harshly they’ll fall, which should play a hand in making them a tough team to bet on when the season starts.
Just when the Jazz were getting somewhere, they are now another team facing sharp remodeling. George Hill and Gordon Hayward both fled in free agency and the team traded for Ricky Rubio, which collectively makes you wonder if they got better or took a small step back.
Defense is still the name of the game for the Jazz, but they lost defensive ability with Hill and Hayward leaving and it’s unclear how Rubio will fit in with his new team.
Utah will forever be a defensive-minded and gritty bunch, but they got worse while division rivals Minnesota, Denver, Portland and OKC all got better.
We can expect a dip of sorts for the Jazz, but just how far (and how quickly) will we see it come into play?
There are a few other teams to consider here in a 2017-18 NBA season that is going to look a lot different when compared to last year. The big one that stands out – arguably above the lot – is the Sixers.
We have no clue what to expect out of Philly, simply because we don’t know what Ben Simmons is yet and whether or not we can trust Joel Embiid to stay healthy.
The Sixers are flat out loaded in terms of talent. They have Robert Covington, Dario Saric and rookie point guard Markelle Fultz to work with and newly acquired sharpshooter J.J. Redick could open their offense up more than ever.
This could seriously end up being a playoff team if everything comes together perfectly, but that could take time or never come to fruition at all this year. Judging that early will be extremely difficult, which probably makes the 76ers the toughest NBA team to bet on early this year.