We’re a month out from Christmas which means NBA teams are starting to get into their groove. The Bucks and Lakers, in particular, are already in fine form.
Streaking To The Top Of The Conference
The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are both perched at the top of their respective conferences and have both used seven-game winning streaks to get there.
Most anticipated the Bucks would be here before the NBA season started. Their current 13-3 record behind monster numbers by Giannis Antetokounmpo will surprise nobody. The Lakers, however, haven’t displayed the teething issues some expected. They’ve managed to get straight into their work to be 14-2 and lead the Western Conference with talk already building around a 65-win season.
It’s early days and neither team can afford injuries to their key players. There is little doubt that the Bucks and Lakers are the best teams in basketball right now, though.
Bulls Beat Down Hornets Punters – Badly
The Charlotte Hornets not only had the straight-up win in the bag when up by five points with 10 seconds left, but the +1 line was also well and truly covered at the time too.
But in a moment of madness, the Hornets allowed the Chicago Bulls to drill two three-pointers in a matter of seconds to steal the 116-115 win.
CRAZY ENDING. WOW. pic.twitter.com/JP8h4GKpKD
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 24, 2019
Zach LaVine ended with 13 three-pointers on the night to leave Hornets punters scratching their heads, trying to dissect one of the worst bad beats of this young NBA season.
MVP Candidates Lining Up Early
There is no shortage of early-season MVP candidates in 2019-20.
Antetokounmpo is gunning for back-to-back NBA MVP’s by putting up 29.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game to start the year.
As mentioned last week “whatever your stance on how he [James Harden] puts up his numbers, the numbers themselves are of a Most Valuable Player’s standard”. You can’t argue with 38.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.
The surprise candidate is Luka Doncic. His talent is well known and he has been destined to be part of the MVP conversation since convincingly winning the Rookie of the Year award last season. However, few expected him to be this good, this soon. At only 20-years old, Doncic is averaging 30.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game through 16 games to start the season. His Dallas Mavericks are an impressive 11-5 and far enough up the NBA standings that the Slovenian demands MVP consideration.
Luka Doncic with an MVP level fourth on the road today stopping a huge Rockets run. Finished with 41 points, 10 assists, 6 boards. Not so bold anymore to say he's a top 10 player. Elite feel & footwork + he's a killer. The Mavericks will be contenders for years with Luka Legend.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 24, 2019
With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid all in contention as well, this MVP race is looking like one for the ages.
Early-Season Betting Trends Update
The trends punters used to cash in to start the NBA season are slowly regressing toward the mean. In particular, Unders in the Total Points market. Coming in at 57.8% two weeks ago, the overall rate Unders are coming in at the end of Week 5 is down to 52%.
Meanwhile, Underdogs are covering at the same 52% rate against the spread with home teams not far behind at 51.5%.
NBA ATS Standings
Despite getting rolled by the Philadelphia 76ers during the week, the Miami Heat remain at the top of the NBA’s Against the Spread standings. The Spurs, however, are still a nightmare for punters.
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