The countdown to the NBA season keeps marching on. We are now just six weeks away from the opening night of the regular season.
As players and coaches prepare for the 2019-20 campaign, here we take a look at some of your best moneyline bets to make the NBA playoffs next spring. USAbetting has reviewed the lines for all 30 teams and these are the bets with the USA sports betting websites that look like the best bang for your buck:
Detroit Pistons to make the playoffs at +135 with BetOnline & SportsBetting
The Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. That’s the entire list of the Eastern Conference teams I feel totally confident will be better than the Pistons this year.
After those squads, there’s a whole lot of uncertainty. The Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors are all going through significant roster turnover from last season, and none of them are stacked with great players by any means heading into 2019-20. The Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls are decent young teams, but they have an end of the floor where they will really struggle (offense for Orlando, defense for Atlanta and Chicago). The Pistons have the pieces to be at least respectable on both ends.
The other four teams in the conference I didn’t list are either inexperienced, just plain bad or both. Detroit only has to beat those four squads and just three more of the East’s middling teams to qualify for a postseason berth.
Detroit has probably the best big-man duo in the conference, with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond holding down the paint with their differing skill sets. The Pistons are also a team built for the present. They have many veterans and will likely aim for a playoff spot even though the franchise would probably benefit from a total rebuild. This would be a smart bet on your part.
Memphis Grizzlies to miss the playoffs at -1250 with BetOnline & SportsBetting
The Memphis Grizzlies won’t be hide-your-eyes terrible in 2019-20, but I do have them as the worst team in the Western Conference.
Memphis’ chief goal this year is going to be developing its super young duo of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., who will likely lead the team in minutes. Ja and Jaren are 20 and 19 years old respectively.
I realize both recent No. 2 overall picks could (or even will) be NBA stars in the future, but the recipe for success in a super tough 2019-20 Western Conference is not letting two young, raw prospects run the show for you.
The Grizzlies have some decent veterans. Jonas Valanciunas, Jae Crowder, Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones and Brandon Clarke can fill roles pretty well, but playing that combination of guys all as big-minute players in the rotation is not to make a team’s ceiling very high.
Despite the very short odds, this bet is so close to a guarantee to me that it’s worth the risk.
Los Angeles Lakers to make the playoffs at -320 with BetOnline & SportsBetting
Last year, the Lakers would have been in the postseason if it weren’t for significant injuries to LeBron James, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball as well as the persistent trade rumors throughout the second half of the season. Since basically everything went wrong for them, the Lakers finished 37-45 as they went 19-34 in their last 53 games after an 18-11 start.
This year, I totally understand the pessimism on the Lakers posting a super gaudy record. LeBron James doesn’t put forth 100 percent in the regular season, Anthony Davis has a history of small, nagging injuries and Los Angeles will take some time to develop team chemistry.
What I don’t understand, however, is any belief that the Lakers have a chance at missing the playoffs altogether. Los Angeles still have two of the six best players in the NBA in James and Davis. No other team in the NBA can say that. Regardless of your opinions on the rest of the roster, the Lakers should have absolutely no issues earning a postseason berth.
Considering the odds for the Lakers here are nowhere near as short as for other playoff locks like the Los Angeles Clippers (-1500), Utah Jazz (-800) and Denver Nuggets (-800), this is a good bet.
Miami Heat to miss the playoffs at +240 with BetOnline & SportsBetting
Yes, my personal predictions have the Heat in the playoffs. However, I do also see a scenario in which they miss, and for these odds, it’s worth the bet.
The Heat missed the playoffs last year, finishing with a 39-43 record. In the offseason, they swung a big trade to acquire Jimmy Butler. It did cost them Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside, two big keys to Miami’s squad last year. Miami also brought in Meyers Leonard and rookies Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala.
I just don’t see the Heat being a playoff lock. The team just has several mediocre to pretty good players around Butler and Butler himself has missed an average of 15.5 games due to injury over the last six seasons. He is also a very strong personality who has clashed with teammates in the past.
The almost 30-year-old swingman is likely at the point in his career where he wants to be contending for NBA championships. There could be some frustration that he was traded to a team that is in bad financial shape with no clear path to championship contention.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.