Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gambling 2K8: XXIX (Basketball Tips Off Tonight)

The NBA season starts tonight, which means...(a.) the return of EJ, Kenny and Chuck (videos below), (b.) uninteresting blog posts written by the person who is writing this sentence and (c.) NBA futures bets:

Grizzlies OVER 22.5 wins (-135) - Call me crazy, but I think they sniff 35 wins.
Cavs OVER 47.5 wins (-135) - Easily the most talented team of the LeBron era; pencil them in for 55 wins
Blazers OVER 44.5 wins (-145) - Additions of Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez to 41-win team make this a virtual lock.

Player Props:

Al Horford OVER 11 ppg (-140)
Michael Beasley OVER 15.5 ppg (-120)
Kevin Durant OVER 21.5 ppg (-110)

As you can see, I have a problem with taking overs. Oh well. Aside from '08 MLB futures I've never lost with this style of betting.

Quick NBA thoughts...

Nice job by the Cincinnati Enquirer today...aside from a two-sentence sidebar on the front of the sports page, the opening of the NBA season was completely ignored. You mean to tell me they couldn't have scooped up an Associated Press season preview? Or how about a Kenyon Martin article from the Denver Post? A David West article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune? I know those pieces were out there, and it's embarrassing that a top 30 media market like Cincinnati doesn't just push NBA to the back burner, but completely ignores it. (Unrelated yet related note: Tyler Hansbrough is a terrible basketball player.)

The Lakers might win 70 games. Let me be clear: Nobody can match their talent. They are loaded with size, depth, shooters and (of course) the game's best player. That being my opinion, you might be wondering why I didn't wager on the Fighting Phil Jackson's's's. This is stupid, and it will cost me American dollars, but I hate watching Kobe Bryant play. And since I'll be viewing a ton of games on NBA League Pass, I don't want to watch the 60-70 Lakers games. I am an idiot. But an honest idiot.

Dwyane Wade might be your league MVP. My prediction is Chris Paul, but Wade has a ton to prove this year. He's healthy, Shaq's gone, and people aren't talking about him nearly as much as they did 12-18 months ago. MVP or not, I think Wade is looking at a career year.

The Suns will drift into irrelevance (and maybe beyond). Can't you just see Nash missing forty games while Shaq goes half speed for his 25 minutes a game? I can. I've had more fun watching the Nash-era Suns than any non-Nick Van Exel squad, but it's over. And I'm sad. With a break here or there, they could've won two championships.

What's going to happen in Philly? They were an exciting young team last year and added a hungry Elton Brand to the mix. They should threaten 50 wins, but I don't have a good vibe on them.

This might be an odd thing to include, but I'm interested to see the development of second-year players who have yet to prove themselves. My list of guys who I see making big leaps in year two: Pistons PG Rodney Stuckey (okay, I cheated a little here, but his numbers will still go way up this year), Grizz PG Mike Conley (darkhorse to lead the league in assists...and better shooter than you might remember), Warriors F Brandan Wright (started putting it together down the stretch last year, but minutes were tough to come by as G-State was fighting for a playoff spot), Warriors G Marco Belinelli (minutes are available on the perimeter, and dude has serious range), Rockets PG Aaron Brooks (could steal more than a handful of Rafer Alston's minutes), Knicks F Wilson Chandler (big and athletic - I'm curious to see how he fits in D'Antoni's system), Hornets F Julian Wright (buried early, contributed in playoffs - good passer, good finisher, great athlete, willing defender...the Hornets can play him at the two with Peja at the three, while Mo Pete's minutes dwindle), Bucks PG Ramon Sessions (my buddy Cam has been a big fan of his for a few years...and then Sessions threw up a 24-assist game at the end of last season - that boy got talent).

That was fun, right?

East prediction: Cavs over Celtics in 7
West prediction: Hornets over Lakers in 7
Finals prediction: Hornets over Cavs in 5

Inside the NBA videos:

Classic Barkley screw-ups...

Making fun of Sam Cassell's lack of handsomeness...

Keep the change, you filthy animals!

-Brad Spieser (