The lockout's over? No nuclear winter? ...RICKY RUBIO???
Thank you, Tebow!
Now let's talk about gambling... in a hypothetical, if-only-gambling-were-legal sort of way.
Bodog has posted its preliminary betting lines for regular season records and NBA Championship likelihoods for the 2011-12 season. As usual, there are some obvious sucker bets and some real bargains. You should check them out for yourself.
Please click "Read More" to cotinue on with my six favorite bets for the 2011-12 season...
Regular Season Record for the Miami Heat -- O/U 48.5 wins
Take the over. Take it over and over again. Just please, if you like money at all, take it. In my opinion, this is one of the best even money bets you'll find. This is virtually a sure thing.
If there's one thing we know about LeBron James, it's that he's the best player in the league during the regular season. After last year's stunning NBA Finals defeat, I imagine that the Heat will be playing with fire this season. I could easily see this team going 56-10, let alone 49-17.
A major factor to consider: under the new CBA, the Heat will be able to use their mid-level exception without using their amnesty provision on Miller. This means they'll be able to keep Chalmers, keep Miller, and sign another free agent to boot. This will be a better team than last year's team, and they've had a year to gel.
TAKE. THE. OVER.
Regular Season Record for the Los Angeles Lakers -- O/U 48.5 wins
Take the under. This year's Los Angeles Lakers are not going 49-17.
The Lakers (and Kobe Bryant) are starting to decline, and that's one big reason. Another is that the Lakers are a smart franchise, and they have the experience to know to conserve energy for the playoffs. This is going to be a wild, crazy season and the Lakers are the type of team to take a few nights off, keeping the long-term objective of winning a championship in mind. In that sense, they're the polar opposite of the Miami Heat.
Also, Mike Brown isn't a very good coach. Yep, I said it. Take the under.
Odds to win the NBA Championship for the Boston Celtics -- 12 to 1.
I think there's a lot of value in this bet. In my mind, the Celtics and Lakers are in similar situations. Neither team is going to expend a lot of energy during the regular season so they can hopefully make a championship push. Both teams are a little past their primes. Both teams know how to win in the playoffs. That being said, I find it bizarre that the Lakers' odds of winning the championship are just 5 to 1 while the Celtics' odds are 12 to 1.
This is, unequivocally, the Celtics' last chance. KG knows this. Paul Pierce knows this. They have the experience to win, and they match up well with most of the contenders. If this bet were 8 to 1, I'd avoid it. At 12 to 1, it's a great deal.
Odds to win the Western Conference for the Memphis Grizzlies -- 15 to 1.
The Grizzlies are built for playoff basketball. I don't think they're favorites, but at 15 to 1? After last season's playoffs, I simply can't pass up a bet like that. The Western Conference is wide open this year, and the Grizzlies can beat any team in the conference in a best of seven series. Will they? I'm not sure. But they absolutely can.
Odds to win the NBA Championship for the Los Angeles Clippers -- 50 to 1.
Look, I'm a sucker for long shot bets. That being said, this one might be the real deal.
We all know that Chris Paul and Dwight Howard could easily be moved at the trade deadline this season, and the Clippers are a likely destination for them. Not only do the Clippers have the assets to make a trade, but Los Angeles is a big market that would be ideal for Paul or Howard.
Chris Paul may want to go to New York, but what can the Knicks possibly give up at this point? The Clippers are an asset rich franchise that can absolutely make a move.
Most importantly, can you imagine what type of team this would be with one more star? Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? Or even better, a Griffin/Howard frontcourt that would be by far the best in the league?
There is a lot of value in this bet. Even if the Clippers get Paul or Howard, it's a long shot. But there's a lot of parity in the Western Conference right now, and I think the Clippers could make some noise.
Odds to win the NBA Championship for the Minnesota Timberwolves -- 150 to 1.
We have RUBIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Don't take this bet.)