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Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) defends against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during overtime of Game 7 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, June 19, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


It’s still nearly two months until the NBA season begins, but that doesn’t mean that betting opportunities aren’t already revealing themselves for the 2021-22 season. Vegas has set the odds and, while there are some slight variances in different sports books, there are some over/under numbers that appear to be solid buys for bettors early on. Here are five I have assembled that seem like juicy opportunities

  1. NEW ORLEANS (over/under 39.5).
    The Pelicans have a new Head Coach, Willie Green, who will free up the offense, steering it away from the complicated schemes of predecessor, Stan Van Gundy and freeing up his talented young players. They have upgraded at center with Jonas Valanciunas replacing Steven Adams and added outside shooting with Devonte’ Graham. They’ll miss point guard Lonzo Ball (a curious departure, to say the least) but given their young, dynamic and improving down low scoring duo of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, New Orleans certainly looks like they could possibly be a low-seed playoff team this season. If their defense holds up, they’re a .500 team that’s headed in the right direction. TAKE THE OVER
  1. BROOKLYN (over/under 56.5).
    The Nets won 2/3 of their regular season games in 2020-21 despite Kevin Durant missing 35 games, James Harden missing 37 and Kyrie Irving missing another 18 during what was a difficult, distracted season for him. All three will likely be more focused and healthy this season. Brooklyn has also added depth this year too – veteran Patty Mills is aboard, former All-Star Blake Griffin will play his first full season with the team and they drafted two promising young rookies as well. All those factors and they are still only predicted to win less than 70% of their games in a weak Eastern Conference? That number seems low. TAKE THE OVER
  1. SACRAMENTO (over/under 36.5).
    The Kings were 31-41 last year, missing the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season. They also had the second-worst defensive rating of any team in NBA history. They drafted guard Davion “Off Day” Mitchell from Baylor, which will help, but what does it say about your team when a 6’1” rookie guard is already clearly your best defensive player before he’s played a game in the pros? They’ll miss Delon Wright’s creativity and versatility and trading for Tristan Thompson won’t do much to help the fact that they may feature the smallest starting lineup in the NBA. They also have a brutal divisional schedule, with all four of the other teams in the Pacific looking like potential playoff teams. Sac-town finishing anywhere near .500 seems unlikely from the view at the end of August. TAKE THE UNDER
  1. PORTLAND (over/under 44.5).
    When your franchise player publicly expresses a desire for the team’s management to improve the team’s 42-30 record last season, it seems unlikely that adding Cody Zeller, Tony Snell and Ben McLemore while losing Carmelo Anthony and Zach Collins has accomplished what Damian Lillard had in mind. Rookie Head Coach Chauncey Billups seems like a smart choice, and there’s been talk of the Blazers trying to trade for Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, but it’s hard to see how Portland would land him without having to trade Lillard anyway. Their division has two bad teams (Minnesota and OKC), but the rest of the West looks like an absolute gauntlet of tough matchups and it’s tough to see the current Portland roster being a playoff team again in 2021-22, even if you squint. TAKE THE UNDER
  1. MINNESOTA (over/under 34.5).
    The T-Wolves finished last season with a .319 winning percentage and it’s difficult to see how anyone could expect more than another draft lottery-level record this season. Other than the modest excitement created by new co-owner Alex Rodriguez (okay…very modest excitement), there wasn’t much in the T-Wolves’ offseason that would appear to move the needle in a positive direction. They added Patrick Beverley- an intense defender who will hold young players accountable, but at 33 he can’t be expected to solve all of their problems on D. They didn’t have a single pick in this year’s draft, and have already given up on Jarrett Culver, who they took sixth overall just two years ago. In the formidable Western Conference, middling teams can’t be taken seriously. Even a run at the eighth playoff seed seems laughably impossible this year for Minnesota, with perhaps the most intrigue this season centering around whether A-Rod plans to move the team somewhere else (Seattle, maybe?). TAKE THE UNDER

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