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The NBA All-Star Game!

All Star Game

The NBA All-Star game see the best players from the Western Conference team up and take on their counterparts from the Eastern Conference. Each All-Star team is made up of 12 players therefore in this game we are likely to see 24 of the world’s top basketball players right now. The All-Star game features in the NBA All-Star weekend which takes place over the course of 3 days. The first time something like this took place was way back in 1951 and it’s been going strong ever since. As a way of making the fans have their voices heard, fans choose the starting lineup through voting. Since 1951, this All-Star weekend has run without fail and the East v West game always promises to be exciting. It makes for a very exciting game to bet on as past results mean very little as these games are always tight and any team could win on any given day. Last year, the West won 196 - 173 to make it 2 in a row. Although they are favourites again this year and backed heavily by bookmakers, there’s nothing to say that the East won’t blow them out of the water with exceptional players like Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and the likes of Kyle Lowry in reserve. The portfolio of players available to the West is hard to compete with, with players like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Anthony Davis. They also have talent like DeAndre Jordan and Draymond Green in reserve. The have dominated the last 10 years of this competition but as we said, the beauty of this game is that the result can go either way and it often comes down to the wire. With 6 wins from the last 8 years, the West are certainly doing something right. Despite winning the majority of the last 10 games, the team made up from players from the Western Conference have never had it easy and the game has always finished very close with only a few baskets separating the teams.

Western Conference to win proposed at 10/21 with William Hill.

Total points over 339.5 proposed at 10/11 with William Hill.

Western Conference to win by a margin of 6-10 points proposed by Betclic at 18/5.

As said numerous times before, these games tend to be hard to predict, it almost always comes down to the final few minutes. That said, the Western Conference have a slight advantage having won so many times as well as the fact that they have larger number of players to pick from. We predict another win for the Western conference albeit by a very small margin.

What happened this Summer in the NBA?

It’s true now more than ever, that the average annual salaries of NBA players are some of the highest in the world. The salary cap was revised after the negotiation of television rights and now amounts to more than 94 million. Franchises were able to pay to keep the players they wanted around. We refer of course to Mike Conley who has signed one of the most expensive contracts, of over 153 million for five years for the Memphis Grizzlies. Other teams opted to strengthen their team with the use of the draft and young, new players. This strategy may pay off but it might take a little longer as these talents need time to progress and adapt to the physicality of the NBA. Difficult to miss the highlight of the summer with the signing of Kevin Durant with Golden State Warriors. In addition to this, signature signings were rare with many contract extensions. Another team that has seen many changes is Atlanta. Al Horford has been replaced by Dwight Howard and a choice was made to reinforce the Pacers with Jeff Teague . This will leave the German Dennis Schröder to do what he wants. Orlando also appear to have had a successful summer with the arrival of a specialist defense coach, Franck Vogel, as well as the decision to start Victor Oladipo . Faithful to their principles, they were able to attract some local players with the signings of Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo , following last years play offs. Finally, it’s worth mentioning Dwyane Wade left Miami to join the Chicago Bulls.

Pau Gasol

Two legends of the sport have decided to stop playing, Kobe Bryant has left the Lakers in ruins and Tim Duncan has retired and is replaced in San Antonio by Pau Gasol. Dirk Nowitzki is still there for the Dallas Mavericks with a 2 year contract worth approximately 50 million offered by Mark Cuban.

The free-agency last year was hectic with many movements but it was quieter this season. The new rules favour the conservation of key players of each team. With the consequent increase in the salary cap, some teams can now overpay key players to stay.

A reminder on how the NBA League Works

The NBA has 29 US teams as well as Toronto in Canada to make a total of 30 teams . They are distributed on a geographical basis in two conferences (east and west) which each have three divisions of five teams.

The season consists of 82 games where each team faces each team from the opposite conference twice. They meet the teams in the same division 4 times and three of the four times those occur in the same conference but not in the same division. The winner of each division qualifies for the playoffs as well as the five best records in each conference to make a total of 16 qualifying teams for the post-season. They then compete in the best of 7 legs to start the first round and the conference semi finals and the conference finals. The Eastern champion then meets the West in the NBA Finals that determine the winner of the title in mid-June. The 14 worst teams that finished their season two months earlier, participate in the draft lottery with the hope of being able to choose first among the new players in the league. In 2016, it was the Philadelphia Sixers who inherited the first choice and selected Australian Ben Simmons.

The stronger Eastern Teams...

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the favourites in the conference because they are defending champions and have brought the city the first major sports title since 1964. The US group remains almost unchanged and there is every chance of finding the Cavaliers in finals in June although the standard in the East appears to be increasing.

James Lebron

They will have to be wary of teams that continue to grow season after season and who dream of upsetting the hierarchy. Toronto Raptors are the perfect example with the duo of All-Stars Lowry DeRozan. Byombo’s loss will be detrimental but they still reatain some strength. The Boston Celtics should also do well with a stable workforce but the reinforcement of Al Horford should allow the most successful team in the conference to go one step further. Teams like the Indiana Pacers and Paul George’s Atlanta Hawks come out weakened after the loss of two vital players, the Orlando Magic or Detroit Pistons also have the means to cause an upset and do well. Finally, New York Knicks could return to the forefront after years of famine. The New York based team had an excellent season in terms of signings with the addition of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee or Brandon Jennings. The fitness of these players is uncertain but with a bit of luck they should be able to help Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.

The best in the West

Last season was exceptional for many Western Conference teams who played at an exceptional level but also for many average and poor teams. Golden State Warriors had the best regular season in history with 73 wins and only 9 losses. This performance was in vain with a defeat in Game 7 of the Finals. They will be out for revenge but will fair well with the integration of Kevin Durant and the departure of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut who left big shoes to fill in 2015. The champions San Antonio Spurs are serious contenders again this year, as every year. The squad remains stable overall even with the loss of Tim Duncan to retirement after 40 years, which has changed the face of the team.

Kevin Durant

The Oklahoma City Thunder will have to learn to survive without Kevin Durant. However, this could liberate Russell Westbrook who recently extended his contract and can now fully take on the role of leader that he previously had to share with his wingman. The team is extremely athletic and although it is difficult to imagine that they are still outsiders. Los Angeles Clippers have experienced a very quiet offseason without major change. Unlucky last spring with injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin at the worst time, it is time for this team to move up a gear or risk seeing the players tired of defeats and jumping ship. After the Big Four, there are the regulars in the playoffs with the likes of the Memphis Grizzlies , the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks . The race for the Top 8 is very open since young teams like Utah Jazz , Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trailblazers will also have the ambition to see their season extended beyond the 82 regular season games.

Some helpful tips for betting on the NBA

Surprises and upsets in the NBA are common and it is important to assume that anything can happen. Several elements are to be monitored before placing a bet but the most important of them is dynamic team . The results of a team are often cyclical because they depend on marksmanship, the confidence of the group, motivation, communication of the defense and generally the chemistry between the players. This takes a long time to perfect and a long time to implement. Therefore looking at the recent history is essential when placing a bet.

The absence of major players should also monitored. With the pace of the schedule it is not uncommon for some players to rest to prevent injury. Because basketball is a team sport where the contribution of an individual can have a huge impact, it is essential to look at who might miss the next meeting. Some teams are really dependent on their best player and are known to introduce said players in the dying moments of games, even if they are resting. The downside of this fast paced game is of course the accumulation of fatigue . Once or twice in the season teams have to travel across the country in short periods of time for matches. The games played during the away days and miles driven are detrimental on the physical and mental freshness of the players.

Some teams know very quickly that they will fail to qualify for the play-offs. The more bad results a team get, the greater the chance of getting a good choice in the draft next season and pick up a good player. Sometimes some teams, who are currently in a transition phase, won’t hesitate to deliberately lose matches through experimenting with new tactics or giving players playing time. This usually happens after the All-Star Game in February. For example in 2016, Brooklyn ended their season with 10 straight defeats by not playing Brook Lopez even though he was fit.

Finally, an early season trick for bettors is to identify the teams that have changed coaches during the summer. Some franchises, to defend their reputation, will completely transform their squad under the leadership of a new coach who brings with him, a new game philosophy. Also worth noting, if an owner has paid a high price for a vital defensive profile, that is also an indication. Bookmakers tend to rely on statistics from last season to predict the number of points scored per game, but these changes are opportunities to take your betting to a new level.

Key Stats in the NBA

In the 82 matches played each season between the 30 teams, the average number of points scored is between 195 and 200. When two attacking minded teams come together sometimes fans can be treated to over 220 points. Having said that when other teams meet, there could be a little as 180 points scored.

Since 2000/2001, 10 of the 13 NBA Winning sides have been amongst the two two in their conference. . If shocks are common on the regular season, they are very rare in the play-offs!

Betting on the NBA

A team can play up to four games a week when it comes to the play-offs. A better must look at the previous few games before a bet can should be placed. It is common to see a team move around the States in the space of a few days and crack both mentally and physically. These « road trips » are challenging for teams and can a rift in the side. To see a good team drop into a slump after several away games is not uncommon. A teams schedule can have a major affect on form both positively and negatively.

Surprises are rare during play-offs! Shocks and surprises and rare when it come to play-offs. Teams that from the top 2 in each conference have gone on to win the NBA title 80% of the time.

Presenting the League

The NBA is the best basketball league in the world with players from Europe and America aspiring to play there. It is made up of 30 teams, equally representated in two conferences (East - West). During the regular season, teams compete based on where they are situated in a total of 82 matches. After the first phase the eight best teams in each conference qualify of the play-offs.

During these play-offs, a table is set up in each conference on ranking. First plays eight, second plays the opposite seventh etc. These games are a best of 7 series.

The NBA final is between the winner of each conference. The NBA's current best teams are: The San Antonio Spurs (Parker, Duncan, Ginobili, Leonard, etc…), The L.A Clippers (Griffin, Paul), Cleveland Cavaliers (Lebron James, Kyrie Irving), Oklahoma City Thunder (Durant, Westbrook) aswell as the Chicago Bulls (Rose, Noah).

The L.A Lakers and the Boston Celtics both have a brilliant record but are in a time of transition and have not yet reached the peaks of their past glories.




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Article "NBA" updated in 18/08/2017

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