Footy’s just finished, but we’re lucky to have the 2018/19 NBA season starting soon. Golden State have won three of the last four titles and are hot favourites to win it all again.
Plenty of big name players changed teams over the American summer, so let’s see how it’s all shaping up:
Golden State Warriors
Championship Odds: $1.60 with Ladbrokes
While plenty has changed, there is one thing that hasn’t: Golden State is once again the team to beat. The bookies aren’t taking any chances, installing the Warriors as $1.55 favourites before the season has even tipped off. The addition of All-Star centre DeMarcus Cousins is the biggest reason for the short quote, with the Warriors roster now boasting an All-Star in every starting position.
However the game isn’t played on paper and Boogie is unlikely to play any time soon. People are quick to forget the Warriors were a game away from not even making it to the Finals last season before Chris Paul went down with an injury (and Houston choked) for the final two games of the Western Conference Finals.
While they undoubtedly have the best roster in the league, it’s a long season ahead and strange things can happen. But at this early stage it certainly looks like only untimely injuries or Boogie’s attitude will stop them from three-peating.
Championship Odds: $7.50 with Neds
The C’s are widely considered to be the challengers to the throne this season, and you can see why.
Prized recruit Gordon Hayward went down within minutes of the season tipping off last year and didn’t return, before All-Star guard Kyrie Irving went down in the run to the playoffs to leave the squad without two of their most important pieces. Remarkably, Boston still went within a game of progressing to the Finals.
Young stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were exceptional in the absence of Irving and Hayward, while Al Horford wound back the clock and Terry Rozier took the next step.
They were nearly unbeatable on their home floor (until game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals), but looked a shadow of that team on the road during the playoffs. No doubt having their stars back will help buck that trend, but they must find a way to fix their travelling woes in the post-season if they are any chance of taking the title away from the Warriors.
Championship Odds: $9 with Neds
The Rockets are the best chance to take the West off Golden State, particularly after they seemingly had them on the ropes last season before letting it slip.
Houston kept their core together after managing to hold onto Clint Capela, while making somewhat of a play for LeBron James (who wouldn’t, right?). While that wasn’t to be, the additions of Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss look to be very solid given their style of game and the Rox will be super dangerous again this season.
They have the firepower to match it with the Warriors’ shooters, and the Rockets have a legitimate claim to take out the West if things can go their way.
Los Angeles Lakers
Championship Odds: $15 with Ladbrokes
The Lakers secured the biggest signature available in the off-season, signing LeBron James to a four-year contract. It’s not every day that the greatest player in the world – and possibly ever – joins your team, and it’s sure to bring instant improvement.
However, outside of LeBron the young Lakers still have plenty to improve on before being a contender. The additions of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley will help fast-track that in the short-term, while Brandon Ingram looks ready to take the next step.
You can’t count out any team with James on it, but he likely needs another piece to help him out before they can match it with the league’s best.
Championship Odds: $19 with Neds
The Sixers broke a six-year playoff drought last season before hitting a roadblock in the form of Boston in the second round.
‘The Process’ rebuild has been long but looks to be paying dividends with young superstars Joel Embiid and Aussie Ben Simmons now the faces of the franchise. Throw in the much-maligned Markelle Fultz, who already looks to have improved after a bizarre first season in the league, and a bunch of very capable shooters, and the 76ers are a dangerous proposition.
The market suggests it will be Philly and Boston battling it out at the pointy end for the Eastern Conference title; that’s an exciting prospect for the casual basketball fan!
Championship Odds: $19 with Neds
The team from up north has added plenty of depth and improvement to their roster for this season, and could be a real dark horse in the East.
Despite falling flat in the playoffs last season, the Raptors won 59 games and certainly look to have improved on paper this year. Kawhi Leonard is the big name signing, while the likes of Danny Green and Greg Monroe will prove to be handy additions as the season wears on. Of course, losing DeMar DeRozan will hurt offensively.
A fresh-faced coach and a roster full of talent puts the Raptors firmly in the conversation with Boston and Philadelphia, despite the odds suggesting they may be a little further off the pace than their counterparts.
The Movers & Shakers
LeBron James (Cleveland to LA Lakers)
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio to Toronto)
The Kawhi Leonard/San Antonio feud was made all too public for most of the 2017/18 season as a nasty situation was played out for all to see. While Leonard’s preferred destination was (apparently) the Lakers, the Spurs played hardball and he was shipped off to the Raptors instead. If he gets his mind and body right, he’ll get back to being the best two-way player in the league.
Of course the biggest flipside of the Kawhi Leonard trade saw DeRozan head to Texas in what was a shock move by the Raptors franchise. His style of play doesn’t seem to fit with how the Spurs have typically gone about their basketball in recent years, but no doubt Coach Pop will have a grand plan in mind.
DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans to Golden State)
In what many have dubbed ‘doing a Kevin Durant’, Boogie left the Pelicans to shoot for a title with the already-stacked Warriors. Will it work out for him?
Carmelo Anthony (Oklahoma City to Houston)
After a disappointing stint with OKC, ‘Melo joins Houston in what seems like a match made in Heaven. The Rockets like to run and shoot the ball, and so does Anthony. The only query is his age.. he’s certainly not getting any younger. How much does he have left to offer?
Tony Parker (San Antonio to Charlotte)
It looks like the French point guard, who has enjoyed a stellar career with the Spurs, will play out his final years in Charlotte. This acquisition says more about how quiet and disappointing the Hornets were in the off-season than anything else.
Dwight Howard (Charlotte to Washington)
It will be interesting to see what Howard brings to the Wizards, with this going one of two ways; he’s either the missing piece inside that will finally elevate the Wiz out of mediocrity, or he will be a cancer to the team. His track record suggests the latter is more likely.
The New Guys
DeAndre Ayton (Pick #1, Phoenix Suns)
The highly-touted top selection at the draft looks ready-made and will instantly make the Suns better as they continue to build on a fantastic core of talented youth.
Luka Doncic (Pick #3, Dallas Mavericks)
Doncic comes to the NBA after a stint in Europe, debuting as a 16 year old in the 2014/15 season. Not only that, but at just 19 years of age he has already won a EuroBasket title with Slovenia in 2017 and a EuroLeague title with Real Madrid – where he was named MVP, Final Four MVP and ACB MVP for good measure – in the 2018 season. He is the one to watch.
Trae Young (Pick #5, Atlanta Hawks)
Young is another exciting prospect who has gained plenty of attention, particularly after tieing the single-game NCAA record with 22 assists last December.
Collin Sexton (Pick #8, Cleveland Cavaliers)
After the departure of LeBron James, Sexton will likely be thrust into a starting role early and will have to learn fast. The young gun looks up to it after a strong showing in the Summer League and will be one of the most exciting players to watch in season 2018/19.
Kevin Knox (Pick #9, New York Knicks)
At just 19 years of age, the 6-foot-9 small forward will no doubt provide Knicks fans with plenty of highlights this season. He averaged just shy of 16 points per game for Kentucky as a freshman to lead his team, before declaring for the draft after one season of college ball.
Michael Porter Jr. (Pick #14, Denver Nuggets)
No doubt one of the most intriguing stories to follow this season. Touted as a top 5, or even a top 3, player amongst the latest draft class, Porter’s injury-interrupted year at college saw him slip all the way down to 14th in the pecking order. The Nuggets will be rubbing their hands together – as long as he can stay fit.
Ryan Broekhoff (Dallas Mavericks) and Mitch Creek (Brooklyn Nets)
A little bit of Aussie bias never hurt anyone! It’s great to see another two Australians make it to the NBA this season as the game continues to grow down under. Both have an opportunity to make a big impact given neither side is looking like a playoff team, particularly as the season drags on.
Brett's Betting Syndicate
After a very successful 2017/18, Brett’s betting syndicate is back for the upcoming NBA season.
His betting syndicate comprises a group of data scientists and sports traders who have set records for Champion Bets in advising literally tens of thousands of profitable bets across NBA, NFL, AFL and NRL.
That includes a sensational 17% Profit on Turnover for NBA Specials last season, which produced a total of $10,900 profit for the season for those betting $50 a unit (maximum bet 3 units).
Across literally thousands of bets to date on the NBA, NFL, AFL and NRL, the team has proven themselves over and over to be extremely profitable.
For the NBA, Brett’s team focuses on a mix of player performance and team-based markets, as well as first half markets, where they have developed a strong edge over the markets set by the bookies.
They’re the markets that are often overlooked by the traders at corporate bookmakers in favour of the more popular game markets, so by putting some extra time and analysis into the data Brett’s team is able to consistently come out on top.
NBA Specials is a great way to make an excellent return from following the world’s best basketballers.
Get notified when we go live for season 2018/19 by pre-registering now: