I’m a man of a great many vices but perhaps the most persistent–but least pernicious–is gambling. Oh what a way to enliven any sporting (or non-sporting!) event! And some enlivening is exactly what the doldrums of an NBA summer need!
So today I extend my hand and invite you along to a world of pure wager elation. I’m going to break down a few of the possible bets that you can already make on the Bucks for next season, at the terms laid out by mybookie.ag.
If it’s a good bet, I’ll give it a “YOU BETCHA” which is Wisconite for “Of course!” If it’s a bad bet, it’ll be a “YEAH…NO” which is passive aggressive Wisconsinite for “Oh I’m too much of a coward to actually refute anything anyone says but in this case the answer is no and I’m very sorry about that.”
Now let’s see if we can keep you from screaming “JUST TAKE IT! TAKE THE BALL!” at your television next season.
57.5 wins (OVER: +100)
The Bucks racked up a cool 61 wins last season in their first year in the Coach Bud system. Returning four of five starters, the entire squad should be able to sleepwalk through to their spots this time around. The loss of my President is certainly worth taking into account but I see Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver being able to make up for his production fairly easily. I also don’t see the Bucks sliding backwards into complacency after getting bounced the way the did in the postseason. They’ll be looking for every advantage they can get in the postseason, and that includes home court.
TO WIN THE EAST (+150)
Okay forget everything I just said. I mean, I like the Bucks to win the East but so does everybody else and therein lies the problem with this bet. This isn’t strictly about “predictions,” this is about whether or not a bet is good. +150 constitutes just a smidge over even money and when you’re betting on conference outcomes there are just too many variables to make this a “good” bet. When placing a bet like this, I’m much more prone to bet on someone with better odds and a longer shot. The 76ers are at (+240) which is fine but I’d rather take a flyer on the Pacers at (+1200) or even the Raptors at (+1000). Don’t sleep on what the Raps did without Leonard in the lineup last season: win at a clip of .772. That’s a tasty $10 to win $100.
TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP: +450
Okay now forget everything I just said again. The Bucks have the third-best odds to win the title according to MyBookie, just behind the Clippers (+300) and the Lakers (+400). Against anyone else that might come out of the West (Rockets, Nuggets, the ghost of Warriors-past) I think the Bucks would be a heavy favorite. And if I’m really prognosticating here, I don’t think the Lakers nor the Clippers are going to have the durability to come out of the West. I think it’s safe to classify both Paul George and Kawhi as very legitimate injury concerns. Leonard needed an MJ-level performance last season to get to limp his way to the Larry OB; the West will test him earlier and more harshly. We saw the first ever chink in the armor of King James a season ago and Anthony Davis has had plenty of injury concerns in his career. If (when! I say when!) either of them go down, there isn’t nearly enough talent on that ramshackle shanty of a roster to carry them to the promised land. Give me all your 2020 NBA Champions Bucks stock right now.
GIANNIS AS MVP +280
It’s a cliche at this point to say that the odds-on favorite Giannis has plenty of room to grow but re-pot that beautiful sunflower and let him reach for the sky. Even if a three-point jumper doesn’t magically appear–which it hasn’t appeared to in international play–Giannis has plenty of room to improve his accuracy and decision-making in the passing game. All that said…this ain’t his year. MVP ballots are moved more by narrative than they are by statistics or actual dominance. Giannis repeating as MVP–especially after being mildly less effective in the playoffs–lacks the luster of an MVP narrative. I don’t want Leonard at (+800) because he won’t play enough games but I like Curry at (+500) if he can take that team up to a 3-seed. Once again though I’m tempted by the bet-a-little-win-a-lot line; this time goes to Joel Embiid at (+1500). The big man likely has a chip on his shoulder and some pep in his oversized step. If he plays 75 games, they’re a two-seed and he’s your MVP.