You don’t have to wait until the NBA season tips off to get some basketball action going. Here are three suggested NBA future wagers to consider.
San Antonio Spurs Under 45.0 wins (-115)
The Spurs will be a new-look team in 2018-’19. For the first time in what feels like forever, neither Tony Parker nor Manu Ginobili will be donning a San Antonio uniform. And Kawhi Leonard was finally dealt to the Raptors after months of speculation that he no longer wanted to play for Gregg Popovich’s squad.
However, San Antonio’s “fresh start” will probably be a slow one. DeMar DeRozan exits a career-year in Toronto but can’t be expected to carry a team that features LaMarcus Aldridge as his only significant co-star. Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay are in decline, and the Spurs are extremely weak at point guard. Dejounte Murray, who averaged just 8.1 points per game last season (21.5 minutes), is expected to start in a league that’s more point guard-driven than ever.
The balance of power has swung even further to the Western Conference with LeBron James moving to the Lakers, so San Antonio will be hard-pressed to match their 47-win output from a year ago.
Indiana Pacers Over 47.5 wins (-115)
The Pacers, and particularly first-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, surprised many NBA fans last year by taking LeBron James and the Cavaliers down to Game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The young team from the Hoosier State might be ready to take another step forward off last year’s 48-win campaign.
Oladipo will lead the way along with big man Myles Turner. Tyreke Evans joins the unit off a huge season in Memphis, where he averaged 19.4 points per game, the second-highest mark of his career. And Aaron Holiday, fresh off a 20.3 points per game season at UCLA and a promising summer league showing, should be able to contribute right away at point guard.
With the Cavaliers no longer a factor without James, Indiana should emerge as a fringe player in the East with 50 or more wins to their credit.
Oklahoma City Thunder Under 49.5 wins (-115)
Last year was supposed to be a renaissance year for the Thunder, as they minted their own “big three” of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. But egos clashed and Oklahoma City stumbled to a mediocre 48-34 record and a first-round exit to the Jazz. Anthony is gone and Dennis Schroeder (19.4 points per game in Atlanta last season) is in, but can the Thunder really be trusted to make forward progress?
Oklahoma City plays in one of the league’s toughest divisions, with the Jazz, Nuggets Timberwolves and Trailblazers all expected to be competitive this year. Just as it took a long time for Westbrook, George and Anthony to develop chemistry (some would argue they never did) last year, it might happen again this year with Schroeder being added to the mix. A 50-win season, which would be a two-game improvement over last year, seems far too optimistic.