It’s finally back! On Tuesday, a suddenly resurgent city of Cleveland will host Game 1 of the World Series, but they’ll also raise the city’s first championship banner in 52 years to the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena, signifying the beginning of the new NBA season. From there, it’s 1,230 games to the playoffs, and three rounds until the Finals (a matchup we all think we know in advance). But to the uninformed, I’d hate to spoil the surprise in the intro.
I’ve already made my predictions for the coming year, but for those of you who want to make up their own mind, Sascha and I have compiled another classic list of odds for the upcoming 2016-17 NBA season. Enjoy!
2016-17 NBA Odds and Props
2017 Title Odds
- Golden State Warriors: 5/7
- Cleveland Cavaliers: 7/2
- San Antonio Spurs: 9/1
- Boston Celtics: 20/1
- Los Angeles Clippers: 25/1
- Toronto Raptors: 50/1
- Oklahoma City Thunder: 60/1
- Chicago Bulls: 80/1
- Atlanta Hawks: 100/1
- Indiana Pacers: 100/1
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 100/1
- Detroit Pistons: 125/1
- Houston Rockets: 125/1
- Memphis Grizzlies: 125/1
- Portland Trailblazers: 125/1
- Utah Jazz: 125/1
- New York Knicks: 175/1
- New Orleans Pelicans: 250/1
- Orlando Magic: 250/1
- Washington Wizards: 250/1
- Charlotte Hornets: 400/1
- Dallas Mavericks: 400/1
- Milwaukee Bucks: 400/1
- Denver Nuggets: 500/1
- Miami Heat: 500/1
- Los Angeles Lakers: 1000/1
- Philadelphia 76ers: 1000/1
- Sacramento Kings: 1000/1
- Brooklyn Nets: 1500/1
- Phoenix Suns: 1500/1
Shocking, I know! The seemingly inevitable Finals matchup between Cleveland and Golden State would actually be the first time in NBA history the same opponents met three years in a row. Not even the Celtics and Lakers of the ’60s accomplished that, and they were like the only two good teams in the league.
If there’s a wrench to be thrown in that rematch, it’s likely the Spurs who are tossing it. Pop’s team replaced Tim Duncan with Pau Gasol, so defensively they should be the same headache they always are come playoff time. Beyond that, any other team that thinks it’s “their year” is sorely mistaken.
Odds to win the Eastern Conference
- Cleveland Cavaliers: 1/3
- Boston Celtics: 9/1
- Toronto Raptors: 15/1
- Chicago Bulls: 20/1
- Atlanta Hawks: 35/1
- Indiana Pacers: 45/1
- Detroit Pistons: 55/1
- New York Knicks: 70/1
- Orlando Magic: 100/1
- Washington Wizards: 100/1
- Charlotte Hornets: 150/1
- Milwaukee Bucks: 150/1
- Miami Heat: 200/1
- Philadelphia 76ers: 500/1
- Brooklyn Nets: 750/1
Boston has a lot of upside, but LeBron has made six-straight Finals, largely because of the lack of stars that can go toe-to-toe with him in the East. The Celtics play great team ball, but still lack the crunch-time guy who can win them a game late.
Toronto pushed Cleveland a bit in last year’s Conference Finals, but a jump-shooting team whose leaders go cold a little too often can’t expect to beat the King in seven.
Chicago and Atlanta also made some new additions in the form of Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard, respectively, but neither past-his-prime star is enough to drastically move the needle.
Odds to win the Western Conference
- Golden State Warriors: 5/16
- San Antonio Spurs: 5/1
- Los Angeles Clippers: 16/1
- Oklahoma City Thunder: 30/1
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 50/1
- Portland Trailblazers: 60/1
- Houston Rockets: 65/1
- Memphis Grizzlies: 70/1
- Utah Jazz: 75/1
- New Orleans Pelicans: 100/1
- Dallas Mavericks: 200/1
- Denver Nuggets: 250/1
- Los Angeles Lakers: 500/1
- Sacramento Kings: 500/1
- Phoenix Suns: 750/1
Outside the two top dogs, Chris Paul’s Clippers will try once again to make at least the Conference Finals. If they can’t reach that goal this year, this group’s run will surely reach its conclusion.
Meanwhile, the middle of the West will offer some intrigue, as a pack of teams challenge for the top-four spot many assume Oklahoma City will vacate without Kevin Durant. Then again, Russell Westbrook could have a lot to say about that.
The most exciting team in the West looks to be the Minnesota Timberwolves. With Karl-Anthony Towns already looking like a top-15 player and Andrew Wiggins still on the rise, new head coach Tom Thibideau has a ton of talent to work with and could surprise some teams in April.
Odds to finish with the worst record in the NBA
- Brooklyn Nets: 5/2
- Philadelphia 76ers: 3/1
- Phoenix Suns: 3/1
- Los Angeles Lakers: 8/1
- Sacramento Kings: 12/1
Life’s gotta be bad for Brooklyn fans. At least Philadelphia has had first-round picks to comfort them during their run of brutality. Boston still has the rights to Brooklyn’s first-rounder, meaning, no matter where this terrible team finishes, they won’t reap the benefits.
At least they’ll have some competition for the bottom from the Sixers and Suns. As long as Boogie Cousins is playing for the Kings, they’ll never be dead-last bad. But Sacramento has to start thinking about moving their unhappy superstar if they want a chance to escape the cycle of 30-win seasons.
Odds to make the biggest improvement in wins from 2015-16
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 9/4
- Philadelphia 76ers: 5/1
- Los Angeles Lakers: 6/1
- New York Knicks: 17/2
- New Orleans Pelicans: 9/1
- Denver Nuggets: 10/1
- Utah Jazz: 12/1
- Boston Celtics: 14/1
- Houston Rockets: 14/1
Finishing with 29 wins last year, the T-Wolves are a chic pick for the playoffs this year, which would mean finishing with around 41 wins at least. But if you were complete garbage last season, it’s also not hard to move leaps and bounds in the win column while still remaining bad. Both Philadelphia and Los Angeles set a really low bar last year with 10 and 17 wins respectively, so these young teams could see a big “improvement” this year.
Odds to suffer the biggest regression in wins from 2015-16
- Miami Heat: 2/1
- Oklahoma City Thunder: 11/2
- Charlotte Hornets: 11/2
- Atlanta Hawks: 8/1
- Toronto Raptors: 9/1
- Golden State Warriors: 12/1
- San Antonio Spurs: 12/1
The glory days for the Heat are over. LeBron is gone. Wade is gone. Bosh is likely done. Oh, and Luol Deng and Joe Johnson left, too! So what’s left is a squad that almost certainly won’t repeat last year’s 48 wins. How far they will fall is anyone’s guess.
Inverse to the improvement section above, this section features the teams that set a high bar for themselves last year. We don’t expect the Warriors to be failures; but when you win a record 73 games, there’s not a ton of room to go upward.
Odds of being the last team to win its first game of the season
- Brooklyn Nets: 2/1
- Philadelphia 76ers: 15/4
- Phoenix Suns: 4/1
The Nets visit the Suns on November 12, in what could be an epic battle for win number one. But I don’t expect any of these teams to get off to another 0-18 start like last year’s Sixers.
Rookie of the Year odds
- Kris Dunn: 4/1
- Joel Embiid: 4/1
- Brandon Ingram: 5/1
- Buddy Hield: 6/1
- Dario Saric: 14/1
- Jamal Murray: 14/1
- Ben Simmons: 16/1
- Thon Maker: 20/1
Simmons is an undeniable talent, but the uncertainty surrounding his injury makes him a long-shot to take this award. It should be a tight race now, with a ton of potential names emerging. Kris Dunn should have a sizable role in the backcourt for those up-and-coming Timberwolves, while Brandon Ingram and Buddy Hield will be relied on for scoring on some offensively lackluster teams. Joel Embiid will be combating other rookies for attention just on his own team, but the center has had two extra years to prepare for the pro game and should outshine Dario Saric.
Odds to win the scoring title
- James Harden: 7/3
- Russell Westbrook: 3/1
- Kevin Durant: 7/1
- Steph Curry: 8/1
- LeBron James: 14/1
- Paul George: 16/1
- Damian Lillard: 16/1
- Demarcus Cousins: 20/1
- Anthony Davis: 20/1
Harden had the most field-goal attempts in the league last year, and now he’s the Rockets point guard, meaning he’ll touch the ball even more! And volume matters more than efficiency in this race, which is why he and Westbrook are favored over Durant and Curry, who don’t figure to have enough shots in the Warriors offense to keep them both near the top.
- Russell Westbrook: 2/1
- Steph Curry: 4/1
- LeBron James: 5/1
- Kevin Durant: 12/1
- Anthony Davis: 16/1
- Kawhi Leonard: 16/1
- James Harden: 16/1
- Paul George: 20/1
The reigning MVP isn’t favored to repeat for the same reason he’s not favored to lead the scoring race: with the extra star of Durant joining the offense, it will be hard for one player to stand out. Westbrook is now the guy in OKC, but he’ll have to bring it every night if this team is going to survive in the West.
Defensive Player of the Year odds
- Kawhi Leonard: 7/2
- Draymond Green: 4/1
- Rudy Gobert: 11/2
- Hassan Whiteside: 11/2
- Anthony Davis: 15/2
- DeAndre Jordan: 9/1
- Paul George: 9/1
- Chris Paul: 18/1
Will the voters get tired of giving it to Leonard and move on to someone else? That may be the best chance for Draymond Green to win it, after finishing runner-up in voting the last two seasons. Rim-protectors Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside could also join the conversation, as could the unibrow, Anthony Davis, provided he stays healthy, which is a huge if for the young man.
Odds to be the first coach fired
- Brett Brown (Philadelphia): 2/1
- Fred Hoiberg (Chicago): 9/2
- Alvin Gentry (New Orleans): 5/1
- Jason Kidd (Milwaukee): 6/1
- Quin Snyder (Utah): 8/1
- Michael Malone (Denver): 8/1
With so many new hires in the NBA, there aren’t a ton of coaches who should be on the immediate hot seat. Really, the ones in trouble this year are the ones who head into the season with increased expectations.
Given how terrible the Sixers roster has been, it’s tough to say whether Brown has fallen short of expectations. But he’s probably not the coach of the future, so he wouldn’t be a shock to be let go. The rest of these teams need to make the playoffs, or at least challenge for a spot, to be deemed a success, meaning a slow start could quickly lead to a change behind the bench.
Over/Under games played by Ben Simmons this season: 23.5
Given the complicated nature of a Jones fracture and how bleak the Sixers’ chances still look this year, there’s no need to rush the rookie back and risk more damage. There’s a chance that he may miss the entire year. This total pegs his return for after the All-Star break at the earliest.
Over/Under games played by Bradley Beal this season: 60.5
Beal wants fans to know, he’s not trying to get hurt. Yet for the up-and-down Wizards, it’s about the only thing fans can rely on each season. Will this be the year we get a full dose of what could potentially be one of the best backcourts in the NBA?
Over/Under games played by Joel Embiid this season: 68.5
The Sixers have waited a long time to get this kid on the court, so there’s no way he’s not full-ready this season. His workload has been steadily increasing in the preseason, and the center was cleared to play in back-to-backs, meaning we should be seeing a lot of Embiid this season.
Over/Under number of games Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose play in together: 48.5
The trio have missed a combined 167 games over the last two seasons, so it’s understandable why most will question the durability of this self-proclaimed “Big Three.” And since Knicks fans seem to be getting their hopes up, there’s sure to be additional bad luck surrounding this team.
Over/Under number of games Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Chandler Parsons play in together: 57.5
The Grizzlies run of injuries last season was near-historic. Twenty-eight different players suited up for Memphis last year, and basically all their stars were out for the playoffs, most notably Conley and Gasol. So naturally, they added the injury-prone Chandler Parsons this offseason. Surely the Grizzlies top guys can avoid the trainer’s room too much this season though, right?
Odds to be traded during the 2016-17 NBA season
- Rudy Gay: 5/8
- Nerlens Noel: 1/1
- Paul Millsap: 3/2
- Brook Lopez: 7/4
- Goran Dragic: 9/5
- Jahlil Okafor: 3/1
- Lamarcus Aldridge: 4/1
- Kevin Love: 9/1
- Joel Embid: 20/1
- Jimmy Butler: 20/1
- Serge Ibaka: 25/1
- Carmelo Anthony: 50/1
- Pau Gasol: 50/1
Odds of having the NBA’s lowest free-throw percentage (minimum 200 attempts)
- Andre Drummond: 1/1
- DeAndre Jordan: 8/5
- Dwight Howard: 7/1
Dwight is Jamal Crawford on the line when compared to the other two. Drummond has been bottom of the league in this stat for three-straight seasons, with Jordan nipping at his heels. But instead of improving, Drummond is actually getting worse each year, dropping from .418 to .389 down to .355 last year. If he keeps this up, in a few years, he’ll give the Mendoza Line a real go.
Odds the Warriors win 70 games: 4/1
Only two teams have ever done it: last year’s Warriors and the 95-96 Bulls. The 96-97 Bulls only won 62 games (and an NBA title). Psht. That’s just embarrassing. The Warriors have a shot at 70, but not a great one. Rosters take time to gel, which you’ll notice is a theme of the odds in this section.
Odds Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all average over 25 PPG: 99/1
Ha. No. Not going to happen. Neither Curry and Thompson nor KD and Russell Westbrook averaged over 25 last year. Now that three of the four are on the same team, it’s going to be all the more difficult. Oh, Draymond told me to tell you that he wants a couple looks, too.
Odds of scoring the most points in a single game this season for the Warriors
- Steph Curry: 6/5
- Kevin Durant: 3/2
- Klay Thompson: 6/1
- FIELD: 50/1
Curry and KD have identical career-highs (54). Klay isn’t far behind at 52. Any one of them could go off on any night. Steph is the most likely. He hit the 40-point mark 12 times last season. KD only did so three times. Thompson had four to his credit. But who knows, maybe David West will be feeling it one night and go off for 60.
Odds Durant, Curry, and Thompson each have a 50-point game this season: 9/1
They’ve all done it before, but not while on the same team. There aren’t going to be enough shots to go around on a nightly basis. Sure, every so often, one guy is going to have the hot hand and the team will feed him like they’re playing Hungry Hungry Hippo. But even in that situation, hitting 50 is hard. Thompson’s only done so once in his career.
Odds of Durant, Curry, and Thompson each shooting over 40-percent from three-point range: 5/6
Curry is 44-percent for his career (45.4-percent last year). Thompson is even better: 45-percent career, 47-percent last season. KD is the only question mark with this prop. He’s at 38-percent, career, and came up short of 40 last season (38.7-percent). He’s hit at a 40-percent clip in just three of his nine seasons to date.
That said, he won’t have to force shots this year because he won’t have the onus to, y’know, score all of the points. He’ll be able to be a lot more selective with his jumper, which should equate to better connectivity from three. (Call it the T-Mobile paradigm?)
Over/Under on the longest Warriors win-streak: 18.5 o/u
The Warriors won 24 straight last year; they won 16 in a row the season prior. This year’s team will probably need some time to coalesce out of the gate, so I don’t see them hitting 20 again. (Only five NBA teams in history have ever won 20 straight, after all.) But upping the 2014-15 team is certainly in reach.
Over/Under on the longest Warriors losing streak: 1.5
The team didn’t lose back-to-back regular season games all of last season. I expect more off-nights this year as the new-look team learns to play as a cohesive unit. But I still don’t expect a lot of them, and I sure don’t expect three in a row.
Over/Under on the most three-pointers made by the Warriors in a game: 21.5
The current record (25) was set by the Cavs in last year’s playoffs. This year’s Warriors team is going to be like that movie 50 First Dates; they’re going to fall in love with the three over and over again, night after night. Last year’s team hit 20-plus threes in four different games, but 22 was the high-water mark. There’s no reason to expect them to be any more accurate from three with Durant in the mix.
Over/Under most points scored by the Warriors in a game this season: 136.5
Last year, they hit 134 against Washington, 135 against Phoenix, and 136 against Portland. The truly shocking part: not one of those games went to OT. If someone can push Golden State to an extra frame – or multiple – the scoreboard might run out of lights.
Over/Under on playoff losses for the Warriors: 5.5
As we saw last season, the playoffs are a slog, even for the most talented team in the league. The East and West should be a little more balanced this year, so Golden State might not get pushed too badly before the finals (like they were by KD and OKC last season). But you know LeBron and company aren’t going quietly into that good night when the inevitable re-rematch rolls around.
Odds of the Warriors and Cavaliers meeting in the NBA Finals: 1/1
I just called it “inevitable”. But, y’know, injuries and stuff! LeBron is on the wrong side of 30, after all. And Kyrie Irving is a not-too-distant relative of Samuel L. Jackson’s character from Unbreakable.
Odds of the Warriors and Rockets combining for 300 points in a game: 150/1
The Warriors/Rockets match-ups last year weren’t as high-scoring as you’d expect; 233 was the highest total. With Houston’s only real defensive asset (Dwight Howard) gone, that number should go up. But, realistically, to hit 300 points (outside of an all-star game), you need an overtime period, and probably more than one. The Houston Hardens won’t be good enough to force Golden State to OT.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].