The first NBA training camps are opening this weekend. Players are putting the finishing touches on their offseason training regimens and coaches are making tweaks to the strategic plans they’ll bring to the preseason.
Some NBA prop bets for the upcoming season are posted on various of the US sports betting sites. USAbetting found a few bets on both MyBookie and 5Dimes that we think are worth taking with the season about to start in just a few weeks.
Lonzo Ball (New Orleans) averaging over 6 assists per game @ -120 with MyBookie
In Ball’s two NBA seasons, he has combined to average 6.4 assists per game. So it is understandable that his over/under for assists per game is pretty close to that, at exactly 6. I still think he will definitely surpass that number in 2019-20.
Last year, Ball was paired with ball-dominant perimeter players LeBron James and Rajon Rondo on the Los Angeles Lakers. His assists per game dropped from 7.2 as a rookie in 2017-18 to 5.4 as a sophomore.
In 2019-20, I think we will find that his numbers will bounce back with a change of scenery. In New Orleans, he is very frequently going to initiate offense for the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday will share ball-handling duties with the Ball but the rest of the rotation features more play finishers than play initiators. J.J. Redick, Zion Williamson, Derrick Favors, E’Twaun Moore and Josh Hart are all scorers who often do better when others, like Ball, create good opportunities for them.
In particular, Ball’s amazing transition passing abilities should shine through with the young and athletic Ingram and Williamson streaking down the floor for dunks and the likes of Redick and Moore waiting at the three-point line for open looks from downtown.
Lonzo Ball averaging under 11 points per game @ -115 with MyBookie
By the same token, Ball is not in a great environment to flourish as a scorer. There are several players who should be considered above him in the pecking order for taking shots.
Jrue Holiday averaged 21.2 points per game last season. Brandon Ingram averaged 18.3. J.J. Redick averaged 18.1. E’Twaun Moore averaged 11.9. Derrick Favors averaged 11.8. Rookie No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson should be slotted in for around 15 to 20 points per game. While not all of them will reach last year’s numbers this year (especially Moore), they are all better scorers than Ball who should get higher usage while on the floor than the young point guard.
There is no reason for the Pelicans to turn to Ball and his poor career true-shooting percentage of 46.3 for much scoring. The shots should naturally go more towards the aforementioned players.
Ball has hovered right around 10 points per game in both of his NBA seasons so far. I expect him to be closer to eight or nine points per game on his new team in 2019-20.
Anthony Davis (Lakers) averaging over 10.5 rebounds per game @ -120 with MyBookie
Davis has averaged 11.8, 11.1 and 12.0 rebounds per game in his last three seasons. Apparently, MyBookie expects massive regression in that area for the 26-year-old superstar big man this season as he moves from the Pelicans to the Lakers.
I’m not seeing it. Davis continues to pack on muscle every year. His 12 rebounds per game last season came in just 33 minutes per game, which was a six-year low. He was actually averaging 13.8 rebounds per game on January 17 before the Pelicans started heavily limiting the disgruntled Davis’ minutes. AD has definitely become one of the very best rebounders in the NBA.
In Los Angeles, Davis’ rebound opportunities should decrease a bit. Playing with Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee and LeBron James will make sure of that. However, I do think his minutes will go up (maybe around 36 per game?), allowing him almost certainly to reach the 10.5 boards per game mark. I think he will also play some center at times, allowing him more opportunities around the basket.
Non-California team wins the 2019 NBA Championship @ -151 with 5Dimes
Teams NOT in California make up 26 of the NBA’s 30 teams, or 86.7 percent. However, 5Dimes believes those 26 teams collectively have just a 60.2 percent of winning the championship this season.
Obviously, those numbers don’t tell the whole story. The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers look like strong title contenders. The Golden State Warriors could be there if Klay Thompson comes back strong in the second half of the season. The Sacramento Kings won’t factor into that discussion.
Even still, though, I have five of the my personal top seven teams heading into the season playing outside of California (Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz). Teams in the deep West could also tire each other out before the Finals, leaving opportunity for a team like Philadelphia or Milwaukee to get the championship.
Considering all that can go wrong for the top California teams trying to integrate several new players, I like the odds for the field here.
OKC wins the Northwest Division @ +24500 with 5Dimes
I’ve mentioned this before in previous NBA articles on USAbetting, but I absolutely love OKC’s ceiling this year. Even though I ultimately don’t predict them to make the playoffs, that’s because there are several potential injury risks on the roster and I expect the front office potentially to blow up the roster if the team doesn’t get off to a great start.
If things start well for the Thunder and everyone stays healthy, there’s actually a somewhat feasible path to 50 wins. A lineup of Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Andre Roberson is very intriguing to me. The group has solid interior and perimeter defense, efficient shooting and overall scoring as well as solid playmaking. The squad also has tons of draft picks it can use to improve the roster at the trade deadline if it chooses to do so.
With such long odds here, it’s worth taking a flier on the Thunder.
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.