Best NBA Teams - Basketball Betting Guide + New Season Tips
Best NBA Teams – A Guide To The Season Ahead
When you’re thinking about basketball betting there’s really only ever one league you need to think about – the North American NBA. The 30 teams of the National Basketball association represent the very best in the sport, delivering stunning action from October through to April. The teams fight it out to make the playoffs, culminating in June’s NBA finals.
For basketball bettors, any season’s betting strategy always has to begin by looking back, analysing stats of the best NBA teams of the previous years, studying changes in line up, determining the effects of the draft, and building up a pre-season profile of the teams to bet on. Here in our guide to the best NBA teams we’ll be looking at past form and stats and predicting just how the top teams will fare in the coming season.
NBA Season Structure – So Many Betting Opportunities – So Many Factors To Consider!
No matter what pre-season form guides tell you, the NBA season is a long, hard one, with each team in the NBA playing 82 games. The length of the NBA season, plus the effects of new players and the draft means that the best NBA teams of previous years might not be up there in the new season, with smart NBA bettors continually re-evaluating things once the season has begun.
Regular Season Play
The structure of the NBA league is also a big factor in working out future form. The league is divided into two conferences, Eastern and Western, with each conference split into three divisions of five teams. The Eastern conference has Pacific, Northwest, Southwest divisions. Western conference has Atlantic, Central, Southeast divisions.
Teams play each of the four opponents in their own division four times, then six of the teams from the other two divisions in their conference four times, and the remaining four teams in the conference three times, making a total of 52 games against teams from their own conference. The remaining 30 games are played against each of the teams in the other conference, playing twice, home and away.
When it comes to playoffs, any seasoned NBA bettor completely re-evaluates their betting strategy, taking into account the recent form of teams and weighing it heavily against season form. The top eight teams in the two conferences will make it to the conference playoffs, seeded strictly according to regular season records and playing in tournament structure best-of-seven series all the way through to the NBA finals, where the winners of each conference’s playoff series take part.
Any smart NBA bettor will know that the season starts the minute the previous season finishes. Changes in the off-season have a huge impact on the fortunes of even the biggest teams. Coaching changes, roster changes, retirements, free agency, and the June draft can all massively affect the chances of any team.
The June draft is a feature of NBA basketball, where the best college players are selected by the NBA teams across two rounds of 30 picks for each team. It is designed as a playing field leveler of sorts, with the 16 best NBA teams who reached the previous year’s playoffs picking last in each round and the 14 teams not making the playoffs taking part in the draft lottery to decide their draft pick order.
Following the June draft, the NBA has the July free agency period where those established players out of contract can move clubs.
Assessing Past Performances Prior To The 2018/19 Season
With the end of the 2017/18 season seeing the Golden State Warriors lifting the NBA crown for the third time in the last four years, would anyone really bet against them making it four this year? But could there be an upset? Who will challenge that dominance? Who will be the best NBA teams this year? And where should you be looking to place those all-important basketball bets for the season? We’re going to give you a quick rundown of who we think the teams to watch this year are, along with a few outsider tips.
NBA History – A Pattern Of Dominance For Years
As with many other leagues, despite the supposed equalization meant to be generated by the draft, the NBA has, over the years and decades, seen the best NBA teams establish dominance lasting many years. For example, there was the incredible run of the Boston Celtics in the late 50s and 60s; 13 seasons, 11-1 in the NBA finals, eight straight wins in NBA finals ’59 – ’66 – a feat as yet unmatched. The 80s saw the dominance of the Celtics and the LA Lakers, with Magic Johnson’s Lakers taking five NBA Finals (’80, ’82. ’85, ’87, ’88) to Larry Bird’s Celtics’ three (’81, ’84, ’86). The 90s saw the absolute supremacy of the Chicago Bulls, headed by coach Phil Jackson and starring the incomparable Michael Jordan, who won all six of their NBA Finals appearances that decade (’91-’93, ’96-’98). Indeed, the effect of one key coach or player on the long-term fortunes of a team is shown so well by the retirement of the Bulls’ coach Jackson after the ’98 season. His departure triggered a mass exodus of players, including Jordan, and the once dominant team languished in no-playoff hell for many years. The first decade of the 2000s was ruled by the LA Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, winning nine NBA Finals between them between 1999 and 2010 (Lakers ’00-’02, ’09-’10 & Spurs ’99, ’03, ’05, ’07).
So far, the last decade has seen the emergence of the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Golden State Warriors. The Heat dominated the first half of the decade, with their four NBA final appearances in ’10-’14 resulting in wins in ’12 and ’13. It would also be the decade of LeBron James, who’s appeared in every single NBA Finals in the decade, for both the Heat (’10-’14) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (’15-’18)
Since 2015, the NBA Finals have been all about the Cavaliers and Warriors dominating the East and West conferences respectively, becoming the first teams to meet in four consecutive NBA Finals. It’s also been a tale of the competition between two incredible players; LeBron James for the Cavs and Stephen Curry for the Warriors. The last four years have seen the Warriors take the title in 2015, Cavaliers in 2016, and the Warriors winning back to back in 2017 and 2018.
Where Will The 2018-2019 Season Find Its Star Teams?
So, with the Cavaliers and the Warriors dominating the NBA for the last four years, will the 2018-19 season play out the same way? Will we see a record-breaking fifth NBA Finals between these two teams, or will the uncertainty for the Cavaliers following LeBron James’ free agent move to the LA Lakers mean a change is to come? The history books certainly tell us that dynasties of the best NBA teams are always set to crumble at some point – could this season be the year when other teams come to the fore? Here’s where we put our rep on the line and pick the top 16 teams for the NBA this season!
Predictions For 2019 NBA Playoffs? Here’s What We Think!
We’re going to be boring here and say that the NBA Finals will see Golden State Warriors match up against the Boston Celtics. And we’ll go on record now by saying it’s a Warriors title to lose.
In terms of playoff places, we’re going for the following, and we’re going against a lot of tipsters by thinking that, although we can’t see them getting to the finals this year, the Cavaliers won’t fail as badly as many think.
Eastern: Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat.
Western: Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma Thunder, Utah Jazz, LA Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans.
The Top Eight In The Playoffs
We’ve told you who we think will get to the playoffs, but here we’re going to go even further and give you our top eight teams, four from each conference, that we reckon will get through to the final stages of the playoffs.
#1 The Golden State Warriors (Western)
Four years, four NBA Finals, three victories. Who will really be looking at anyone else to challenge over in the Western Conference? Add in DeMarcus Cousins at center to a stellar line-up and you have a winning team right there. Yes, Cousins might well be out with that Achilles injury for a large part of the first half of the season, but he’ll be a key star in the run-in and the playoffs – because, yes, the Warriors will be making the playoffs! And given that the last season saw Durant, Curry, Thompson, and Green out for a combined 66-match injury absence, something unlikely to be seen this year, the Warriors could actually be a better prospect for the NBA Finals this year.
#2 Boston Celtics (Eastern)
So close last year, losing out to the Cavaliers might have broken hearts, but this year the Cavaliers have lost Lebron and that could be so important. As for the Celtics, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were big injury losses last year who, as long as they stay fit, will make a big difference this season, adding strength to their 18th-ranked offensive line to add to that top-ranked defense and give the Celtics the Eastern Conference and (maybe) the Eastern spot in the NBA Finals.
#3 Houston Rockets (Western)
Winning the Western Conference in 2017/18 might not have led to the prize they truly wanted, but who’s honestly going to bet against the Rockets making it deep into the playoffs once more?
Losing Ariza and Mbah might prove key, although the addition of Anthony and rookie De’Anthony Melton might well be enough to maintain their standings.
#4 Philadelphia 76ers (Eastern)
Third in the Eastern last year, they’re in the position to repeat that in 2018/19. No huge names coming in, so it’s all about the old hands continuing to perform with Embiid and Simmons possibly making a big splash, or in the case of Markelle Fultz – actually turning up for the odd game – and looking to rookies Korkmaz, Smith, Bolden, and Shamet to make an impact.
#5 Oklahoma City Thunder (Western)
The decision of Paul George to stay with the Thunder is huge for the team this year. If the Jazz overachieved, the Thunder could be said to have underachieved last year, but with George staying and Andre Roberson injury free could mean that the Thunder could get past the opening round of the playoffs this season.
#6 Toronto Raptors (Eastern)
Their top spot in the Eastern last year was a highlight for sure, but ditching NBA coach of the year, Dwane Casey and bringing in rookie coach Nick Nurse is likely to affect the team, at least through the first half of the season, as will the new additions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
#7 Denver Nuggets (Western)
Just outside playoffs last season, we think the Nuggets will push on to make the grade this year, relying on a young team to get there, although having Paul Millsap back from injury could be important. Their 14th draft pick of Michael Porter Jr. looked like it was something quite special, although the reason this one-time top-rated prospect was so low down the draft is his continued injury worries, which might keep him out for a good part of the season. If he does play, we can see the Nuggets final playoff position being tied to how long he plays for. But Denver has a real shot for playoffs even without him.
#8 Cleveland Cavaliers (Eastern)
Well, they lost LeBron James in 2010 when he was off to Miami, but the disastrous result of that move might not be repeated now he’s packed up for LA. The team left behind is way more solid than that 2010 team and, although they might falter, it’s hard to see them not making the playoffs.