2016 Western Conference Futures

The Western Conference playoffs are a bloodbath every season and to even get to the Finals is a huge, huge accomplishment that any team should be proud of. Last season we saw the Golden State Warriors get through the West and win the championship. They were by far the best team we saw all season and they deserved to win the title. For an example of just how tough the Western Conference is, last season we saw the Spurs and Clippers face off in the first round despite them being two of the best teams in the league. That series was legendary and is unlikely to be topped in the future.

Despite losing in the first round last year, 5Dimes sees the Spurs as the favorite to make it out of the West. Their age is always a concern, but the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge is downright scary. It’ll take awhile for the Spurs to figure out how to utilize him and for Aldridge to figure out the system, but once that happens this could be a very scary team. At +250 they are a good value as well if you think that he will be a perfect fit.

The defending champions are a surprising +280 as I would personally have them as the favorite. They have the complete core of last year’s team still intact and they are all young enough to bring it back again. Their offense and defense were works of art last year and it’s hard to imagine them taking a step back this season. There is the championship hangover and “disease of more” that Pat Riley has talked about, but I think this is a team that is poised to make another run at it. Steve Kerr is a great coach and Steph Curry is still unguardable. Some great value here.

The Thunder are an interesting play as well because if we are getting the Thunder of two or three years ago, look out. There is concern regarding Kevin Durant’s recovery from a foot injury, but he has looked solid in the preseason. The Ibaka/Westbrook/Durant trio is a big three that can compete with any team in the league. The addition of Billy Donovan as a coach could be huge for this team and they will score in bunches. Enes Kanter can score from the center position and we know all about what Durant and Westbrook can do. Could this finally be the year that the Thunder breakthrough? Defense will be a question, but if they stay healthy this could be a great bet.

My favorite underdog pick has to be the Houston Rockets at +975. They were one of the top teams in the West last season despite a lot of key injuries and made it all the way to the Western Conference finals. The addition of Ty Lawson could be a game changer off the bench and there is always a chance this team makes a big trade. Their style of play makes them a threat to any team and hard to match up against. If the big men stay healthy, I expect them deep in the playoffs again this year.

Complete Western Conference winner futures are below courtesy of 5Dimes. You can bet any of these at http://www.5Dimes.com

San Antonio Spurs  +250
Golden State Warriors  +280
Oklahoma City Thunder  +435
Los Angeles Clippers  +620
Houston Rockets  +975
Memphis Grizzlies  +1600
New Orleans Pelicans  +1600
Dallas Mavericks  +4500
Utah Jazz  +6000
Los Angeles Lakers  +7000
Denver Nuggets  +10000
Minnesota Timberwolves  +10000
Phoenix Suns  +10000
Portland Trailblazers  +10000
Sacramento Kings  +10000

2016 Eastern Conference Futures

This season is all about Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the point where them winning the East at -230 almost seems to low. The injury to Kyrie Irving is worrisome, but the Cavs showed last year that they could make it to the NBA Finals without him or Kevin Love. They need those guys to stay healthy though to keep Lebron James from breaking down. They are the favorite for a reason and unless something bad happens they are making the Finals once again.

Everyone else here is pretty much “if something happens to Cleveland” bets. The Bulls are the best bet here as the analysts all love them in the post-Thibodeau era. If they can better utilize their bench and have an offense that actually moves while maintaining their defense, that could be a very tough team. There are always injury concerns here though, especially with Derrick Rose. Gasol is getting older and Noah looked about done last season. I like this team, but if something happens to Cleveland they are not my favorite.

A crazy line is the Miami Heat at +1450. This team has a ton of talent on paper, a great coach and some serious upside, but they haven’t done anything. Wade is always hurt, Bosh is recovering from missing a whole season, Whiteside hasn’t proven he can go for a full season and there are just a ton of questions here. This could definitely be an Eastern Conference finalist if everything breaks right, but that is a seriously big if. There is just as big of a chance that this is a lottery team that gets blown up midway through the season. The Heat are going to be extremely interesting this season, but this would truly be a gamble.

The Atlanta Hawks are going to be a very good regular season team again, but we saw in the playoffs last year that their stuff doesn’t really work in the playoffs as they had a hard team beating the Nets of all teams. I just don’t like their chances in the playoffs when they didn’t make any serious improvements to the roster.

The most interesting team if something happens to Cleveland has to be the Washington Wizards. John Wall and Bradley Beal are a dangerous duo and while the loss of Paul Pierce hurts it could lead the way for the Otto Porter breakout that the Wizards badly need. He had some good games in the postseason last year and has looked decent in the preseason. I also really like Kelly Oubre as a rookie and think he could do some good things. The coaching is always a question mark here, but if they stumble out of the gate I could see a change there. If that happens, look out. (If something happens to Cleveland.)

Complete Eastern Conference Winner odds are below courtesy of 5Dimes. You can bet any of these at http://www.5Dimes.com

Cleveland Cavaliers  -230
Chicago Bulls  +700
Miami Heat  +1450
Atlanta Hawks  +1500
Washington Wizards  +2400
Toronto Raptors  +2500
Indiana Pacers  +2800
Milwaukee Bucks  +2800
Boston Celtics  +5000
Detroit Pistons  +8500
New York Knicks  +8500
Brooklyn Nets  +10000
Charlotte Hornets  +11500
Orlando Magic  +16000
Philadelphia 76ers  +30000

2016 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

The 2016 NBA rookie class was built up as one of the best in years so this year’s rookie race could be a good one. Let’s take a look at the contenders for the top rookie award this season.

The favorite is Emmanuel Mudiay who has been getting rave reviews thus far. He played last season in China, but his season was mostly injury riddled. The big thing working in his favor is that he should get plenty of minutes for the Nuggets now that Ty Lawson is in Houston. I like him a lot, but I always have reservations about rookie point guards. It’s the hardest position in the NBA and he can look bad on a lot of nights playing against the Chris Pauls of the world.

A lot of people are on the Jahlil Okafor bandwagon as the former Duke star will start for the 76ers this season. The Sixers produced a rookie of the year two years ago in Michael Carter-Williams who filled up the box score thanks to the pace that the Sixers play at. There are questions as to how Okafor will fit into this system though as he is more of an old school big man. He is a solid bet.

Karl-Anthony Towns could have a big season in Minnesota as well. Ricky Rubio is a brilliant point guard and he’ll find interesting ways to get him the ball in the paint. He’ll be playing with a young lineup though as Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine will be playing alongside him for the majority of minutes. That could end badly. Towns wasn’t though to be as advanced as Okafor prior to the draft so that doesn’t work in his favor to win this award.

I also don’t love D’Angelo Russell at +600. He’s not likely to start with Jordan Clarkson and Kobe Bryant in the way and he isn’t quite as ready as some of these other guys. He could play with those two in small lineups, but he still needs to get the ball which we know is difficult with Kobe on the floor.

This seems like a year for a mid-range pick. My favorite is Justise Winslow who could contribute on a potentially really good Miami Heat team. It might take him a bit to crack the rotation, but once he does he could contribute in a lot of ways.

Also playing in Florida is Mario Hezonja who will definitely win the internet this season, but it remains to be seen if he can get enough minutes to make a difference. Scott Skiles is a defensive minded coach and Hezonja doesn’t really do that yet.

The sleeper has to be Stanley Johnson at +1400. He was the best rookie in summer league and played about 27 minutes per game in the pre-season. His coach Stan Van Gundy is a fan (which is going to be a problem for some of these other rookies) and he is a big part of their plan for the future.

Complete odds for Rookie of the Year are below courtesy of 5Dimes. You can bet any of these at http://www.5Dimes.com

Emmanuel Mudiay  +300
Jahlil Okafor  +400
Karl-Anthony Towns  +450
D’Angelo Russell  +600
Justise Winslow  +1400
Stanley Johnson  +1400
Mario Hezonja  +1500
Kristaps Porzingis  +1500
Nemanja Bjelica  +2000
Myles Turner  +2500
Jerian Grant  +3300
Frank Kaminsky  +3500
Willie Cauley-Stein  +4000
Devin Booker  +6000
Trey Lyles  +6600
Rashad Vaughn  +6600
Terry Rozier  +6600
Sam Dekker  +8000
Cameron Payne  +8000
Delon Wright  +8000
Justin Anderson  +8000
Tyus Jones  +8000
Bobby Portis  +10000
Chris McCullough  +10000
Kelly Oubre  +10000
Kevon Looney  +10000
RJ Hunter  +10000
Jordan Mickey  +12500
Rakeem Christmas  +12500
Jarell Martin  +15000
Larry Nance  +15000
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson  +15000
Montrezl Harrell  +15000
Anthony Brown  +15000
Nikola Milutinov  +25000

NBA Eastern Conference Division Odds 2016

The Eastern Conference has felt like it was designed for Lebron James to go to the Finals over the past six seasons (!) and this season could be no different. We’re not talking about the playoffs today though, we’re talking about the regular season division winners. Below you will find the odds for the NBA’s Eastern Conference division winners courtesy of 5Dimes. You can bet any of these at http://www.5Dimes.com

The NBA’s Atlantic Division is pretty much the opposite of the Western Conference’s Southwest Division as in it’s not great. The Raptors have done well the last two seasons, but they have choked in the playoffs and last season slipped in the second half. Toronto is the favorite, but there are definitely cracks in the foundation. The losses of Amir Johnson and Lou Williams hurt, but the addition of DeMarre Carroll helps. Dwayne Casey is said to be on the hot seat if things don’t go well early. I like the Raptors, but I don’t love them.

The Celtics are an interesting squad. They lack a superstar, but have a lot of interesting parts. Jae Crowder is interesting, Amir Johnson was a solid addition, Isaiah Thomas did great in his half season last year and Marcus Smart will improve in a healthier second season. They played great in the second half last season and if they can continue that pace they could be a threat to take this division.

Outside of those two it’s highly unlikely that any of these other Atlantic teams make the playoffs this season.

NBA Atlantic Division
Toronto Raptors  -210
Boston Celtics  +200
New York Knicks  +1170
Brooklyn Nets  +5000
Philadelphia 76ers  +20000

The East’s best division also holds it’s best team: the Cavs. Lebron and his Cleveland teammates were up 2-1 in the Finals last season without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and they are hellbent on getting back to that point. They deserve to be the favorite here, but the only thing is I can see them not caring if they get the top seed or division win or not. They are just so good that I can see them prioritizing rest over seeding.

Which makes the Bulls at +500 a solid value. Analysts are all over this Bulls team this year. Thibodeau did a great job with this team, but the offense was always stagnant and he didn’t use a deep bench. If Fred Hoiberg can keep that defensive intensity while keeping the starters fresh, this could be an interesting play.

The Bucks and Pacers could become playoff teams, but winning this division will be near impossible for them.

NBA Central Division
Cleveland Cavaliers  -430
Chicago Bulls  +500
Milwaukee Bucks  +2000
Indiana Pacers  +2800
Detroit Pistons  +6600

The Southeast has three potential division winners according to the bookmakers. The defending champion Atlanta Hawks are the favorite and they seem like the safest bet of all. They have a beautiful offensive system that should be able to withstand the loss of DeMarre Carroll. While their playoff chances remain low, they are still a great regular season team. As long as Al Horford stays healthy they should be in this.

The Miami Heat are an interesting case as they have all the talent and upside in the world, but they have a ton of question marks. Will Dwayne Wade be healthy? Will Chris Bosh recover 100%? Will Hassan Whiteside remain sane? How will Goran Dragic fit? On paper this could be the team the Cavs play in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s so easy to see things going wrong.

The Wizards are an interesting play at +240. They’ve seemed poised to make the leap for the past couple of seasons, but the coaching hasn’t helped them very much. The John Wall/Bradley Beal combo is one of the best backcourts in the NBA and they will be in the thick of the division here. I’d love to see them break through and win this division.

NBA Southeast Division
Atlanta Hawks  +165
Miami Heat  +200
Washington Wizards  +240
Charlotte Hornets  +1500
Orlando Magic  +7000

NBA Western Conference Division Odds 2016

The Western Conference is the toughest conference in sports and each year it is a bloodbath in the playoffs. Good teams lose in the first round, good teams miss the playoffs. It’s very difficult to break through in this conference which is what makes it so great. This season is no different. We have the Western Conference division odds below courtesy of 5Dimes. You can bet any of these at http://www.5Dimes.com

The Thunder lucked out when LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs as it weakened their biggest Northwest Division rival in the Trailblazers. While the Jazz have made some great leaps over the past year, it’s hard to think of them as quite ready yet. This is the Thunder’s division to lose.

NBA  Northwest Division
Oklahoma City Thunder  -2500
Utah Jazz  +1600
Minnesota Timberwolves  +7500
Portland Trail Blazers  +7500
Denver Nuggets  +10000

The Golden State Warriors are expected to repeat as Pacific Division champions again this year as they have brought just about everyone back from their truly great 2015 team. They are still young and they still have one of the best offenses in the NBA so I expect them to stay in the thick of it all year.

The only team who really poses a threat to them is the Los Angeles Clippers who should truly be locked in this year. They added Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce and Josh Smith in the offseason to make (what could be) their last run with this group. The Chris Paul/Blake Griffin/DeAndre Jordan Clippers have had some good seasons, but they are yet to make it past the second round in the playoffs and if that happens again this year all bets are off.

The rest of this division is likely to miss the playoffs.

NBA Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors  -210
Los Angeles Clippers  +185
Phoenix Suns  +8000
Sacramento Kings  +10000
Los Angeles Lakers  +25000

This has to be the best division in all of basketball. The Spurs are always a threat, the Rockets could be one of the best teams in the NBA, the Pelicans are a threat and the Grizzlies always play tough. This division could easily see four playoff teams and those teams could make some noise in the playoffs.

The favorite, of course, is the San Antonio Spurs who win 50 games every year no matter what. With the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge they could be really scary and a run to first place is very likely. Really, the only thing that could stop the Spurs from winning this division is their own health. If they decide rest is more important than seeding, they could lose the division.

The next best team and one of the potential top contenders tonight is the Houston Rockets. They made it to the Western Conference Finals last season and have only improved themselves with the addition of Ty Lawson. While he’s had some problems in his personal life, you can’t knock his play on the court. James Harden remains an MVP threat and if their front court can stay healthy they could hit 60 wins again. Plus, you know they have at least one big trade in them this season.

My longshot bet of the Western Conference is the New Orleans Pelicans to win this divison. I’m just expecting a huge MVP season from Anthony Davis and the Pelicans could be dangerous this season. They’ll need some luck and possibly some injuries to win this division though.

NBA Southwest Division
San Antonio Spurs  -150
Houston Rockets  +200
Memphis Grizzlies  +725
New Orleans Pelicans  +1300
Dallas Mavericks  +8500