FINALLY, the new NBA season is almost upon us.
But, before the first ball is tipped up, we need to make sure we’ve got some super futures bets to keep things really interesting and hopefully make you a huge windfall by the end of the season.
Before you bet, make sure you’re signed up with one or more of the best online bookmakers in town – you’re sure to get the best sign-up bonuses and bookmaker specials on the NBA this season.
NBA title: Can anyone topple the Golden State Warriors?
It would be far too easy to pick the Golden State Warriors and be done with it.
The Bay Area big guns have played in the past two finals series, winning in 2015 and squandering a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
And they’ve added one of, if not arguably the best player in the NBA, Kevin Durant, to a team with the reigning two time Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry to a cast of players that would be number ones on their teams.
We said it would be too easy, but we are not reinventing the wheel here. If it all clicks, the Dubs might not even lose a game this season, as bizarre as it sounds.
Look, that’s probably not going to happen, but this team might go down as the most talented ever assembled and that means we can’t go past them for the title.
But, if we were to make a case for any other teams, we’d have to look east. The west has lost plenty of lustre with the Durant move decimating the Oklahoma City Thunder ($41 with WilliamHill.com.au) and the San Antonio Spurs looking slightly under the odds at $9, even if they did replace the retiring legend Tim Duncan with veteran star Pau Gasol.
It’s the reigning champion Cavaliers ($4.50 with sportsbet.com.au) and the intriguing Boston Celtics that look to have the most depth and weapons to challenge the Warriors.
The Cavs have LeBron James and that immediately makes them a title contender.
But the most important player on the title holder’s roster might just be uber talented point guard Kyrie Irving.
Irving has copped his fair share of criticism over injury and form struggles throughout his young career, but he silenced the doubters with a superb finals performance that fans hope will provide the springboard for him to take the next step to NBA superstardom.
The no-fuss Celtics are quietly building a contender. They added a star big man in Atlanta’s Al Horford and would have probably eclipsed 50 wins last season were it not for an injury to break out star Jae Crowder.
This team has talent, depth and most importantly, a will to win.
They’re probably playing for second in the east, but they would be thinking conference finals at a minimum.
For AFL fans, the Minnesota Timberwolves ($91 with Sportsbet.com.au) are the equivalent of the baby Bombers of 1993. A couple of savvy veterans guiding a ludicrously talented young squad.
This is Karl-Anthony Towns’ team. The giant kid, in his second NBA season, is about to become what Anthony Davis wishes he could be. The key cog in a team that should be one of the most feared in the game.
His sidekick Andrew Wiggins is an out and out scoring machine, while Zach LaVine is so much more than a two time slam dunk champion.
Some say trade Ricky Rubio, but we say, if he can stay healthy, he is the perfect pass first point guard to run this team.
The Bombers beat Carlton in the grand final back in ‘93 and, while basketball is a different game, this team is packed to the rafters with A-grade talent and we can only dream that they would be the NBA’s Leicester City this season.
Worth a look: Boston Celtics ($15 with CrownBet.com.au)
Hail Mary: Minnesota Timberwolves ($91 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Curry out of favour for MVP?
Legit, Steph Curry is probably already the greatest shooter all-time. People throw up Bird, Reggie, Ray Allen, but none of them could do what this man does on the court. He does most other things pretty well too, and that is why he has won the past two NBA Most Valuable Player Awards.
But there is such a thing as voter fatigue – just ask Derrick Rose – and we think, with the addition of Durant and the fact that it’s human nature to look elsewhere, someone else will take Curry’s mantle in 2016/17.
So who are the contenders?
Everyone is on the Russell Westbrook with an extra large chip on his shoulder after his heir Durant left the Thunder. He is $4 with Sportsbet.com.au, but that just feels far too short, given the Thunder will probably only win 40 games this season.
Curry is $5.50, but we have already ruled him out and LeBron has become notorious for coasting through the regular season and then taking over when it counts.
Scratch him off the list at $6.50, while Durant at $9 could suffer from the Curry effect.
That leaves us with James Harden.
You know, that guy who doesn’t play defence?
Yeah, well this season Harden looks absolutely primed to lead the Rockets into the playoffs and he can fill up multiple categories like few others.
In Mike D’Antoni’s run and gun system – ‘seven seconds or the beard’ – he is going to be ridiculous.
And, at $9 with CrownBet.com.au, we simply cannot ignore him.
If you’re looking for long odds, then two young stars who are ready to burst out are the aforementioned Towns, along with the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The alphabet might be the most unique player in the game. Possessing ridiculous skill coupled with size and athleticism, he is the figurehead of a Bucks team that could make waves this season.
If they can somehow squeak out 50 wins, he could be in the money at long odds.
Hail Mary: Karl-Anthony Towns ($51 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Hail Mary: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($51 with CrownBet.com.au)
NBA rookie of the year
Sportsbet.com.au oddsmakers have clearly been watching the NBA preseason, because they have crunched Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid into $4 to win Rookie of the Year.
The good thing about our Aussie bookmakers, as they simply don’t know a whole lot about basketball, on the whole, and probably would have had Ben Simmons a $1.50 favourite, had he not suffered his injury.
You can still get a ridiculous $6 about Embiid with CrownBet.com.au.
If Embiid stays healthy for the whole season and does not win Rookie of the Year after spending two seasons rehabbing in the NBA system, we’ll eat our hats.
If you’re begging for an outsider, we would have too go with Domantas Sabonis, given there is a rumble that he could start in OKC and the fact he has some seriously good genes.
If you’re feeling lucky: Domantas Sabonis ($51 with CrownBet.com.au)
NBA most improved player
We’re a little bit scared about this one, and here is why:
Lakers fans, here’s your one chance to get hyped this season. We’re calling Buddy Hield as a massive early bust, so you will have to be content with another young star. And no, it’s not D’Angelo Russell.
This is his team and he is the favourite to be the Most Improved Player in the NBA this season. But we reckon he might have an uber athletic teammate – with NBA pedigree – that steals his thunder. We’re talking, of course, about Larry Nance Jr.
He looks like he will have a monster of a season, showing marked improvement in just about every facet of his game, but the problem is, he is not on any market, so tread carefully with your bets here.
If we had to pick one man out of the CrownBet.com.au market, we’d have to go with Indiana Pacers’ big man Myles Turner.
Turner is a monster and Larry Bird loves him. He is going to get plenty of run and could be the break out star of 2016/17.
Our pick: Myles Turner ($15 with CrownBet.com.au)
NBA Scoring title
Curry is the reigning scoring champion, but that simply cannot happen again this season.
Scratch both he and Durant off this list early.
That gives it a little intrigue.
Westbrook is the bookies’ pick at around the $3.25 mark, with Harden in second spot.
For us, it is really out of those two players.
They will both have carte blanche to shoot whenever they want and they are the only really capable scorers on their team.
Perhaps we have a slight slant on Westbrook, but we’re going to go with Harden here, only because the Thunder have Victor Oladipo, who tends to be a ball stopper and will try to pinch his share of the shots. There is no competition for Harden like that in Texas.