NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Opening Bets on Make/Miss Playoff Odds

NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Opening Bets on Make/Miss Playoff Odds article feature image

Photo credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyrie Irving vs. Brooklyn Nets

  • On Tuesday, PointsBet posted odds for every NBA team to make or miss the 2019-20 playoffs.
  • Our expert crew is here to react to the odds and give their favorite opening bets.

This week, New Jersey sportsbook PointsBet released odds on every NBA team to make or miss the 2019-20 playoffs.

Our staff was excited, to say the least, and we immediately discussed which teams were offering the best betting value. Below are our favorite opening bets for this upcoming season.

Matt Moore: Nets to miss playoffs (+450)

This number is a little bit insane to me. The Nets won 42 games last year, coming in as the 6-seed thanks to a tiebreaker over Orlando and because the Pistons wet themselves especially hard down the stretch. There were a number of scenarios where, had the last three games of the season gone differently, the Nets were out entirely.

Kyrie Irving is an upgrade, no question. Great player, will make them better, etc.

However, let’s set aside allllllllllll the chemistry stuff with Kyrie (and there’s a lot), and the absence of Kevin Durant for the season as he recovers from his Achilles rupture, and let’s just look at what they lost.

Players who logged over 1,000 minutes with a positive on-court Net Rating for the Nets last season:

  • Ed Davis: Gone to Utah
  • DeMarre Carroll: Gone to San Antonio
  • Jared Dudley: Gone to Lakers
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: Gone to Toronto
  • Allen Crabbe: Gone to Atlanta in trade
  • D’Angelo Russell: Gone to Golden State in sign-and-trade

That’s it. That’s the list.

You can add Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham if you expand the list to 500 minutes or more. They were both traded along with Russell and then dealt to Minnesota.

The Nets literally do not have any players on roster who had a positive Net Rating in over 500 minutes last season.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the East is worse. Charlotte’s worse. Boston’s worse. Toronto’s worse. The Wizards are worse. But some of the younger teams are better, and they still play in the toughest division.

I don’t love this bet at even money, but I like it quite a bit at +450. You’re banking on: Kyrie being a problem as he continues to search out the hidden meaning of the universe or whatever, Caris LeVert not being able to rise to star status, the drag of DeAndre Jordan who hasn’t been good in two years and the impact of losing veteran leadership.

The Nets were a fun, young team last year that competed hard and had great chemistry. Then they added Kyrie Irving. Where have we seen a team like that take a nosedive?

Wob: Pistons to miss playoffs (-120)

Does whoever made this line realize they are one Blake Griffin injury from being one of the worst teams in the NBA?

It is nothing against his talent, that is just fine, but his knees are being held together with band-aids, and we are one tweak away from Reggie Jackson/Tony Snell pick-and-rolls as the team’s primary offense.

Derrick Rose will help, but come on — what are we talking about here? Also with Blake’s and Andre Drummond’s contracts on the books, this team has no flexibility to do anything to make the roster better this season. I just don’t know how they win 41 games. The end.

Bryan Mears: Pelicans to make playoffs (+350)

I’m buying Pelicans stock. This team has awesome veterans in Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick, and it’s possible that Zion Williamson is such a generational talent that he is a positive player right away.

The Action Network’s Evan Abrams found a couple weeks ago that teams with the No. 1 pick have gone over their next-season win total in 11 of the past 17 years.

That suggests those players are better than even thought by books, and Zion might be one of the best prospects of all time — someone who could make a difference on the court from Day 1. At the least, he’ll be put in a good spot to succeed, as normal No. 1 picks don’t have the amount of help he does this season.

I’m more bearish than the public on Brandon Ingram, but the book certainly isn’t closed on him. This team is more talented than the Mavs and Kings, who have shorter odds to make the playoffs. The odds to make the playoffs here (+350) are pretty good, in my opinion.

Evan Abrams: 3 Bets

  • Nets to miss playoffs (+450)
  • Mavericks to make playoffs (+350)
  • Pelicans to make playoffs (+350)

I hate to agree with my colleagues at such a great time to debate like this, but I think both Matt and Bryan are dead on. The Nets are simply the most mispriced team in this field for a few different reasons. Brooklyn’s motivation last year with its core of players will be completely different from its mission in 2019-20.

As Matt noted, the Nets will be without literally their entire production from last season. If you are betting on the Nets, you are banking on a number of different elements to go right with a ton of rotation changes.

No doubt Kyrie Irving is a huge upgrade in terms of talent, but again, until I see it work with all of the new pieces, I think their price to miss the playoffs is just wrong at 14.3%.

The teams at the end of the Eastern Conference that Brooklyn could be fighting with are the Magic, Heat and Pistons, all of whom either added significant pieces or took steps in the right direction to change what was wrong last season.

In the Western Conference, we have a competitive gauntlet on our hands. Ten NBA teams have win totals of 40 or more this year and saw their win totals increase by at least three wins from last season — seven of those 10 teams are in the West.

As my colleague John Ewing points out, teams with increases in their win total tend to lean under, and that is why I will be looking for one or two teams projected in the field to find their way out.

With that being the case, I think two teams, like the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks, offer value just outside of the top eight at +350 odds to make the playoffs. Both of their rosters have tons of talent, and I will be riding both teams to cause some havoc in an already hectic Western Conference.

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