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The Early NBA Bets to Make Before the Season

Looking at the future bets to make as the Vegas odds begin to trickle in

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Westgate Sports Book released its NBA season odds last week, and now that the dust has settled from the Kyrie Irving trade, it’s time to explore the best bets. We rounded up four individual team over/unders, one division winner, and the most sure-fire future in the NBA to not bet against: the Warriors making the playoffs.


Wizards (47.5 wins)

Take the over: Washington is returning with virtually the same team this year after extending John Wall and re-signing Otto Porter Jr. in the offseason. A thrill ride of a postseason against the Hawks and Celtics erased any memory of the Wizards’ slow 2016-17 start—remember opening the season 6-12, Scott Brooks? Even with that not-so-grand entrance, Washington carved out 49 wins to finish the year. With teams like the Bulls and Pacers losing their superstars, the surrounding competition in the Eastern Conference became ever more barren over the summer, and Wall and Co. know what they are now. Here’s to hoping they open the season accordingly.

76ers (42.5 wins)

Take the under: Even if the 76ers are healthy (a huuuuuge “if”), they’ll be championing two rookies, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons, to lead the backcourt. And speaking of inexperience, we might as well group in Joel Embiid, whose 31 games last year were not even enough to put him in the running for Rookie of the Year. Adding J.J. Redick gives the squad a much needed veteran presence, and Philly will be a flashy League Pass team, but one with much to still figure out—and an injury-prone cast that might not allow for that time on the court together.

Warriors (67.5)

Take the under: Golden State went 67-15 last year, 73-9 the year before that, and 67-15 the year before that. (What a run for Steve Kerr!). They’ve also added 62 games over that span with postseason play. Eventually, those playoffs have to wear down on a team, and I’m calling this season the one to dip under 67 wins — and even if the Warriors finish with 67 wins, as they have in two of the last three years, the under still pays out.

Blazers (42.5 wins)

Take the under: Having Jusuf Nurkic for the entire season and not just the 20 games he played last year after being traded in February will make a difference for Portland. But the Blazers scraped out 41 wins last year, and with no major offseason acquisitions, they are not equipped to beat that figure this season in a ramped-up Western Conference. The teams Portland squeezed past to claim the eighth seed are better this year, and won’t give up those late-season losses so easily.

Odds to win the Atlantic Division

Take Toronto: Divisions in the NBA are increasingly meaningless, save a playoff tiebreaker here or there, except for betting. Boston is -500 to win the Atlantic (per VegasInsider), and except for Toronto, no other team in the division seems to have even a remote possibility (apologies, Sixers, Nets, and Knicks.) After the Kyrie Irving trade settled, the Raptors became ridiculous +550 underdogs to win it. Yes, the Celtics do look every bit like the undoubtable favorites that Vegas indicates, but Toronto’s odds are worth a flier—Irving has an injury history, and despite the exciting new addition of Gordon Hayward, some major depth has been taken away in Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, and Kelly Olynyk.

Warriors Missing the Playoffs

Take the Warriors missing: The odds of Golden State falling short of a playoff appearance are set at plus-100,000—that’s a $10,000 turnout on a $10 bet. Sanity check: Of course it’s impossible to see the Warriors missing the playoffs; everyone’s favorite adage for the team is that they’d still win it all even after removing one of their stars. But these odds don’t come around often (except, I guess, with the Warriors they do). Throwing a dollar on this is a better use of your money than a lottery ticket [watches KD highlights again] … I guess.

Odds as of Tuesday, August 29.