It’s that time of year again, when the AFL and NRL seasons wind down, the weather starts to shift, and we begin to look towards the fantastic slate of sports that the summer season provides. This means the start of the NBA season in the Unites States and with it we are bringing you a massive mega season preview.
We take a look at the outright betting markets for the 2018-19 NBA Championship and some of the major awards for the year in our season preview and betting tips below! For a more detailed analysis of some of the top contenders from each conference, check out our East and West conference previews with the links.
The 2017-18 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors got even better in the off-season, adding all-star centre DeMarcus Cousins to fill the spot in their starting rotation that was void of an all-star player. While Cousins will be out until at least November with an Achilles injury, when healthy, the addition of the centre makes the Warriors arguably the best starting five to ever grace a basketball court.
The Warriors rolled through the playoffs last season, losing just five games on the road to their second consecutive championship. They did suffer a slight scare against the Houston Rockets in the Conference Finals, trailing three games to two before winning game six at home and game seven on the road to book a place in the finals with Cleveland for the fourth straight year.
Not much value in the Warriors this season as they open the year at just $1.62 favourites to win the title but it’s really hard to see anyone else winning it. The Warriors might have their best challenge yet if they face a fired up Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors or a fully healthy Boston Celtics in the final. However, the title is definitely the Warriors to lose this year.
James Harden was voted the most valuable player in 2017-18 after he had one of the most dominant offensive performances of the modern era. The shooting guard led the Houston Rockets to the top seed in a tough Western Conference averaging over 30 points per game and almost 10 assists. Harden starts as one of four players under $7 to win the award this season along with LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis.
All of the aforementioned players are great chances to win the award this year, but we’ll be looking a bit further down the board for our value and opting for the Toronto Raptors star off-season recruit, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard was arguably a top three player in the league in the 2016-17 season before an ankle injury in the playoffs and some off court dramas saw him ruled out of action for the majority of last season.
Leonard returns to action in Toronto this season, a new home and a fresh start could be good for the star forward, and a lacklustre Eastern Conference void of star power will greatly increase his chances of winning the trophy. The Boston Celtics will share the load in the regular season, as will the Golden State Warriors, it’s hard to see a player from either squad winning the MVP award. Leonard’s only competition in the Eastern Conference will be Giannis, who has proven to be still young and inconsistent over a long 82 game season. We love Kawhi’s value here.
Harden also took out the 2017-18 scoring title by averaging 30.4 points and beating our Anthony Davis by 2.3 points per game. However, we’ll be leaning towards last season’s bridesmaid to go one better in 2018-19 and claim the scoring title. Davis will have no DeMarcus Cousins to compete with for points this season and in his sex seasons in the league so far, his points per game tally has increased in each.
Even with DeMarcus Cousins in the side for 48 games last season, Davis was still able to increase his points per game from 28 in 2016-17 to 28.1 last season. We think that he breaks the 30 points per game mark for the first time in his career this season as the go to guy on offence for the Pelicans and should be great value for the scoring title.
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