NBA Southeast Division Preview
The defending NBA champs are huge favorites to top the Southeast Division, big chalk to win the Eastern Conference and the oddsmakers’ choice to repeat their NBA title. But while all eyes are on the Heat, there could be hidden value below them in the standings.
Atlanta Hawks (2011-12: 40-26 SU, 36-28-2 ATS)
Odds to win division: +1,400
Season win total: 43.5
Why bet the Hawks: Atlanta has overhauled its roster and we see that as a good thing. The Hawks were getting too complacent with the guys they had and they just got stagnant. Atlanta went as Joe Johnson went, but he is now gone and the Hawks will be more of a team this season.
Why not bet the Hawks: Defense. The Hawks ranked sixth in overall defensive efficiency last season, but they will decline this year. Atlanta is a small team and, with a wealth of scorers, the Hawks will likely need to outscore opponents to win. The Hawks will play at a faster pace, so transition defense will be a key.
Season win total pick: Over 43.5
Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12: 7-59 SU, 23-43-0 ATS)
Odds to win division: +15,000
Season win total: 21.5
Why bet the Bobcats: There’s nowhere to go but up for Charlotte. The Bobcats won just seven of 66 games last season - that’s no misprint. Charlotte went 7-59. The Bobcats overhauled the coaching staff and they’ve added five new players to the roster. They have a fresh start and they will be catching a lot of points on most nights this season.
Why not bet the Bobcats: Bad. A simple adjective is all that is needed to describe Charlotte. With a new system plugged with recycled players, there’s going to be a lot of losing once again. New head coach Mike Dunlap is a defensive strategist, but he’s going to need a couple of years to get the right players in place.
Season win total pick: Under 21.5
Miami Heat (2011-12: 46-20 SU, 32-34-0 ATS)
Odds to win division: -2,500
Season win total: 60.5
Why bet the Heat: The defending NBA champs should be even better this season. Miami is a loaded team and when it plays small, it’s virtually impossible to beat. The Heat added Ray Allen and he brings two major upgrades with his 3-point shooting and his free-throw shooting.
Why not bet the Heat: Health. Teams were able to attack Miami inside last season, especially when Chris Bosh was out with injury. He’s a fragile guy and if he misses time, the Heat could slip up a bit. Dwyane Wade will also be playing on an unstable knee and Ray Allen is coming off ankle surgery.
Season win total pick: Over 60.5
Orlando Magic (2011-12: 37-29 SU, 34-32-0 ATS)
Odds to win division: +7,000
Season win total: 24.5
Why bet the Magic: Orlando won’t have the Dwight Howard drama to deal with anymore and without that distraction, the Magic will be able to focus on basketball. Their offense should be more dynamic and the team, as a whole, will be unselfish. New head coach Jacque Vaughn also brings new life to Orlando.
Why not bet the Magic: Losses. Despite the negative attention he brought, Dwight Howard was still a dominant player. And you just can’t replace that type of talent. Orlando’s defense will be easy to score upon and since it’ll be playing with youth in a rebuilding year, the Magic will struggle.
Season win total pick: Under 24.5
Washington Wizards (2011-12: 20-46 SU, 26-36-1 ATS)
Odds to win division: +5,500
Season win total: 31.5
Why bet the Wizards: Washington has low expectations once again this season. The Wizards do
have plenty of talent on hand and they got rid of the headache known as Andray Blatche. Washington will have a much-improved defense which will keep it competitive in a lot games this season.
Why not bet the Wizards: Offense. Washington’s offense will struggle to score points as it simply doesn’t have enough high-powered offensive players. That weakness will be glaring without John Wall on the court. He will miss about six weeks with a stress injury in his left knee. If he has a setback, the Wizards are in the danger zone.
Season win total pick: Over 31.5
- St. Louis
- Power Sports
- May 30, 2015 - 7:15 PM
- Offered at:
- sbgglobal @ -142 St. Louis
1* St. Louis (7:15 ET): I fully expect the Cardinals to be a popular side today and for good reason. Not only did they shut LA out Friday (won 3-0), improving to an impressive 19-5 at Busch Stadium, but they also have Michael Wacha starting tonight. The team is a pefect 9-0 w/ Wacha on the hill as he's turned in a 1.87 ERA & 1.040 WHIP.
If the teams on top of the National League have one thing in common, it's that they are all dominant at home & fairly pedestrian on the road. Speaking of "on top," no longer is that where the Dodgers reside when it comes to the NL West as yday's loss allowed the Giants (won 5 straight) to pass them in the standings. Meanwhile, the Cards have also won five straight and come in as my top ranked team in all of MLB entering play Saturday.
After being shut out Friday, facing Wacha here clearly does the Dodgers no favors. There are six pitchers (in all of MLB) currently at +7.2 units or better & Wacha leads the list at +9.5. There has only been one start all season where he's allowed more than 2 ER. Last time out, all he allowed was a single unearned run in a 6-1 win over Kansas City. While you'd like to see his strikeout rate a little higher, the fact is the Dodgers have not scored a run on the road in the last 37 innings and were shutout by Wacha for 13 2/3 innings in the 2013 NLCS.
Los Angeles starter Carlos Frias just allowed 10 runs in four innings his last start, a record for any Dodgers pitcher in that short a timeframe. 1* St. Louis