We’re now into 2019 and as most would have expected, it’s the East providing much of the intrigue. Meanwhile, there’s next to none in the NBA’s ROY race. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing for punters to keep an eye on, though.
Here’s how the week looked for punters:
Eastern Conference Finals Preview
With Kyle Lowry out it wasn’t a full Eastern Conference Finals preview, but it was a decent little taster.
The Bucks came out flying and spent much of the first half up by double-digits before Kawhi Leonard inspired a comeback. He dominated out of halftime with the Raptors eventually securing the 123-116 win in Milwaukee.
There was a sense the Bucks would make a statement in this one. At points they did. However, Leonard’s 30 points, Pascal Siakam’s 30 points and Serge Ibaka’s 25 points were too much for Giannis Antetokounmpo to handle.
Butler’s Bust Up
The 76ers have improved since Jimmy Butler’s arrival. That much can’t be denied. But they’ve also spent a lot more time in the news for the wrong reasons.
First, it was Joel Embiid sounding off on how he is being used. His position on playing as a stretch-5 is now clear as day; he’s not interested. Now Butler has had a crack with Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that he “aggressively challenged coach Brett Brown on his role in the offense”.
#Sixers coach Brett Brown on ESPN report of Jimmy Butler’s criticism: ‘He wanted to be in more pick and rolls. That was true. My job is to make this work.’
— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) January 5, 2019
It appeared as though this group would get on like a house on fire when Butler turned up. Now, it’s looking like it will take a lot more work than anybody expected.
Our traders don’t seem worried, though. The Sixers are still on the third line of betting to win the East at $4.40.
ROY Race: Over
As far as our traders are concerned, the NBA’s Rookie of the Year race is all but over.
Luka Doncic’s price got so short it’s not even available anymore!
He’s second to only LeBron James in the first release of NBA All-Star votes after averaging 19.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. The young Slovenian came into the league with plenty hoping they would be proven right and he’d be a flop. Instead, he’s dominated like few rookies have done before in a draft class as deep as ever.
Luka Doncic can make every shot no matter what pic.twitter.com/KoPXarpqKG
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 5, 2019
If you were a doubter before, it’s time to take the L. Only injury will stop Doncic winning the ROY.
Should he go down, Deandre Ayton is next in line at $10 with Jaren Jackson Jr trailing at $12, Trae Young at $16, and Collin Sexton at $21.
NBA Against The Spread Trends
We mentioned how poor the Raptors had been against the spread last week. While they aren’t about to become a must-tip for punters, they have steadied the ship to cover in two of their last three games.
The Wizards, on the other hand, might be worth a look. There will always be some regression to the mean when it comes to ATS records and it looks as though the Wizards are making their move having covered three on the trot.
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