Now that the NBA Finals are over, we now enter the so-called ‘third season’ for the NBA. Some people believe that the NBA off-season is more entertaining than the regular season, and for good reason. The summer of ‘18 will be another Summer of Lebron, and it is looking like it will turn into Kawhi’s pre-agency as well.
Because so many landscape-changing players will be switching uniforms, the NBA future odds have a ton of uncertainty baked into the numbers. A surprise move or acquisition could throw the odds into a completely different direction. It is possible for bettors to use this uncertainty to their advantage. What plausible future scenarios allow for value today based upon current prices?
Scenario #1 – Lebron does not leave Cleveland
Pretty much everyone is assuming Lebron is going to bail on Cleveland, but what if he stays? Furthermore, would it be totally outrageous to think that he could convince either Paul George or Chris Paul to go to Cleveland? It might take some salary cap gymnastics or trading Kevin Love, but it is not totally out of the question.
Cleveland is 22:1 and is worth a bet.
Scenario #2 – Lebron and Kawhi end up in the Western Conference
Recently Kawhi has been tied to the Lakers by many sources. It has been speculated that Lebron might want to go to LA or Houston. Should that happen, the Eastern Conference becomes exceptionally weak. In this scenario, Boston would be the odds on favorite to win the east.
Boston is 6:1 and because Lebron could go west, they are a strong play.
Scenario #3 – Lebron and Kawhi end up in the Eastern Conference
Kawhi has also been tied to the Knicks and seen in NYC on a number of occasions. If he is dealt to the Big Apple and Lebron goes to a team like Philadelphia, it does not matter much where Paul George goes. The status quo from this season would essentially remain, leaving the Warriors in a great position.
If you believe that Lebron will not somehow join, or create, a super team in the Western Conference, just bet on Golden State to win yet again. After all, they are currently plus money, which may not happen again until the 19-20 season.
Scenario #4 – Cousins stays in New Orleans and they add a piece
There is a good reason why betting on the Pelicans pays 75:1. The chances of them winning the NBA Finals in 2019 are not all that great. However, in a perfect storm situation in which the Pels keep Cousins, sign a guy like JJ Redick or Trevor Ariza, and a key injury or two hits Golden State at the wrong time the Pelicans could make an unlikely run.
Of the teams with very long odds, the Pelicans have the firepower to possibly win against Houston and/or Golden State.
The Summer of Lebron is underway, and so is Kawhi’s pre-agency period. Because everyone is just guessing about what will happen, the oddsmakers have to factor projections into the lines. Teams like Cleveland and Boston have larger odds than they will depending on where Lebron goes.
If you are a risk-taker looking to go off the beaten path to grab a longshot, then the New Orleans Pelicans are a team with a top 5 player and the ability to add another all-star to the mix. They won a playoff series this year and could shock the world. On the other hand, a conservative bettor would take Golden State at plus money and hedge as Golden State makes a run at its 4th title in 5 years.