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NBA – Week 5 In Review

We’re no more than a month into the NBA season and things are starting to become clear. Just as everybody expected at this point, the Jazz are leading the West while the Warriors struggle and Bol Bol is in the conversation to win Most Improved. Wait, what?

Utah Jazz: Still Good

The Utah Jazz started the NBA season as a tanking team. They traded away their two best players and the assumption was that they would struggle through the early games before trading away any remaining serviceable pieces on the roster and putting their name in the hat to draft Victor Wembanyama.

Now, following a 118-113 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Jazz are now 12-6 to be at the top of the Western Conference.

Laurie Markkanen ($5 to win Most Improved) has been incredible for his 22.3 points per game. He was somewhat of a throw-in piece in the Donovan Mitchell trade. He is ahead of Mitchell in wins derived from estimated plus-minus at the moment. Jordan Clarkson is doing Jordan Clarkson things for his 18.6 points per game. Meanwhile, Mike Conley, Kelly Olynyk, Malik Beasley and Colin Sexton are all chipping in with double digits. Playing with the 4th-best offence in the league along with a middling defence, there are plenty of reasons to believe this Jazz team can keep up this pace.

They’re not about to win the championship, but this is a winning franchise and it looks as though they’ll continue to win while cashing in on the bevy of draft picks collected over the summer. It’s a nightmare for the Minnesota Timberwolves who moved five picks only to be 10th in the West.

Whether or not they opened the season expecting to lose, the Jazz are one of the best teams in the NBA and out at $56 to win the West.

Worrying About The Warriors

Steph Curry is ballin’.

He’s averaging 32.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists to be on the fourth line of betting to win another Most Valuable Player Award at $10. However, the Golden State Warriors are struggling overall. Now 7-9 to be 11th in the Western Conference, things are starting to get a little worrying.

From Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole just before the NBA season tipped off to Klay Thompson’s struggles and a bench that is a negative more often than not, it’s just not working.

The major issue comes in defence.

Golden State won the NBA Championship with the best defence in the league last season. They gave up only 106.9 points per 100 possessions as they locked down the opposition and trusted their Curry-led and 17th-ranked offence to come out on top. Still a middling offensive team at 12, the Warriors are 24th in defensive rating to allow 113.5 points per 100 possessions.

1st to 24th.

That is the problem and the only thing to look out for when searching for improvements. If we can start to see the Warriors defensive numbers improve, we can start to explore their $8 to go back-to-back.

Futures Bet Of The Week

We touched on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the favourite to win the Most Improved Player award last week. He is elevating into superstar status this season and is on the first line of betting in the MIP market at $2.10. Gilgeous-Alexander is going to take some beating from here, but for those looking for a little bit more bang for their buck in the NBA futures markets, Bol Bol at $36 deserves some attention.

For all of the talk about long and lanky 7-foot-2 beasts that can pull up and shoot from anywhere on the court, Bol Bol has barely rated a mention amongst the Victor Wembanyama hype. But when you see how Bol Bol is playing to start the 2022-23 NBA season, you can see the similarities.

He has played in all 17 games to start the Orlando Magic season after only managing 14 for the Denver Nuggets last year. Averaging 13.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and two blocks per game, Bol’s numbers this season dwarf his 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.1 numbers from the last. Depending on how the voters measure improvement – be it by the eye test or an increase in numbers – Bol is worth a look as a roughie this far out.

Honourable Mention

He’s not in the NBA right now, but Dwight Howard is putting himself in the shop window for one last stint in the league.

Plying his trade in Taiwan for the time being, Howard went nuts in his debut for the Taoyuan Leopards. In a performance like we’ve never seen before from the big man, Howard dropped 38 points, dragged down 25 rebounds, handed out nine assists and blocked four shots.

There is a place in the NBA for Howard if he can keep healthy and continues to dominate overseas.

NBA Championship Odds

We don’t need to check in on the teams towards the bottom of the NBA championship list. Here, we keep an eye on those inside the Top 10 each week.

Little has changed towards the top of the list. The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks remain as favourites while the Warriors – somewhat surprisingly given their struggles – are unchanged at $8.

The Denver Nuggets are the big movers. Outside the Top 10 last week, they’re into the 7th line of betting at $17. We took Nikola Jokic to win the Most Valuable Player award at $34 last week with his price in the MVP market moving with his team into $23. Similar to the Warriors, it’s the 27th-ranked 115.1 defensive rating we need to keep an eye on with the Nuggets. Without a significant improvement, they’re no chance of lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Also making strides, the Cleveland Cavaliers are into the Top 10 at $20.

Top 10 Odds

Boston Celtics$6$6
Milwaukee Bucks$6$6
Golden State Warriors$8$8
Phoenix Suns$8.50$8
Los Angeles Clippers$8.50$8.50
Brooklyn Nets$12$16
Denver Nuggets$17
Philadelphia 76ers$19$19
Memphis Grizzlies$19$20
Cleveland Cavaliers$20





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