Monday, October 31, 2005

Pacers Fighting for My Bankroll

Most sportsbooks have the Spurs as heavy favorites for the NBA title (+180) and with good reason. They're easily the deepest team in the league. Heck, their backups could probably make the playoffs as a starting 5 in the East.

But when betting on the champion, there's rarely a sure thing, so I like to look for a better risk/reward situation. Looking beyond the top two favorites (Miami is +275) we have:

Detroit +1000. I'm not sold on Flip Saunders as the guy that's going to be able to get the Pistons to play together as a team. He didn't do that great of a job w/ Sam Cassell or Sprewell in Minnesota, so I have no reason to believe he'll keep Rasheed Wallace focused on a title. He does however have experience playing crappy big guys (Nesterovic, Kandi), so maybe that means Darko will finally get some playing time. That automatically eliminates them.

Indiana +1000. I know this isn't a easy assumption to make, but if Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest play an entire season, this is a very dangerous team. Stephen Jackson isn't Reggie Miller, but he can hit the big 3 pt shot when you need it. I love the pick of Danny Granger in the draft. I think he'll be getting big minutes by the all-star break. The backcourt combo of Tinsley and Fred Jones is average at best, but I think it will be serviceable. Now that Larry Brown is officially insane, Rick Carlisle is the best coach in the East. I feel pretty good about Indiana's chances to represent the East.

New Jersey +5000. Longshot, sure, but at 50-1, it could be worth a flier. The frontcourt is horrible, but the combination of Richard Jefferson, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter (assuming Vince is willing to actually try this season) is pretty damn lethal. But when I think about a possible Finals matchup of Jason Collins versus Tim Duncan, well...on second thought, perhaps buying a lottery scratcher is a better move.

Seattle +7500. Another "if you have money to burn" longshot. But Ray Allen's playoff performance was the best I'd seen in a decade, so I thought I'd at least put the Sonics out there.

...So I'm going to put a little bit of cash on the Pacers. I can already see ABC working on their features of Reggie Miller and the Pacers winning it the year after he retires.


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