The betting public has spoken and revealed their top choices for the 2019–20 NBA season as of September 12, 2019.
The majority of wagers prefer to back in-state teams and players, while 2019 Western Conference MVP James Harden is the choice for many sports bettors.
Here are the public’s favorite NBA teams and players for next season:
Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks
The Lakers and Knicks are both favored to repeat as conference champions with the majority of bets going on their favor. The Lakers were the most-picked team during the final month of the season with New York following close behind. While both teams are strong favorites, the betting public may be putting too much emphasis on past performance as these two teams clash for the third time this season.
Golden State Warriors vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Warriors were the most-picked team at the beginning of the season and led the betting markets for most of the year. Although they may not have had the most impressive record during the regular season, the Warriors were the best team in the league after the All-Star break. Much like the Lakers and Knicks, the Warriors and 49ers clash for the fifth time this season with the betting public favoring the home team. What will be different this time around is that the game is at Candlestick Park which is outside of San Francisco. This could cause some unexpected results as the public has a soft spot for football. The Warriors will need to prove that they are for real this time around.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
The Rockets were the second-most-picked team at the beginning of the season and continued their hot streak into the second half of the year. The majority of those who picked the Rockets had them as a touchdown or higher favorite, while the Clippers were picked as underdogs in most of their games. Despite their success this year, the Rockets are still a low-scoring team and have a history of slow starts, which may cause trouble as we get closer to the start of the season.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers
The 76ers, who boast one of the best back courts in basketball, are one of the most popular picks in the 2019–20 NBA season. The back-court duo of Ben Simmons and JJ Redick prove to be popular choices with Philadelphia receiving the highest bet total among all NBA teams. Indiana was the clear underdogs going into the season with most people expecting the under-the-radar Magic to outperform most experts’ expectations. Even with their additions of players like Eric Bogle and Dame Grant, the Pacers will need to prove they are a force to be reckoned with.
Minneapolis/St. Paul Timberwolves vs. Denver Nuggets
After a strong first half of the year, the Timberwolves faded down the stretch with only one playoff berth all season. If you had told fans at the beginning of the year that the Timberwolves would be a serious threat to win the NBA title and that they would go on a 13-game winning streak at one point, they probably would have disagreed. Despite the disappointing season overall, the Timberwolves still managed to outscore their opponents by 7.3 points per game during the streak, which was the largest differential among all NBA teams this season.
This was due in part to the success of Kevin Garnett and company, who led the league in assists with 11.7 per game and finished second in scoring behind only the champion Lakers. What will be most interesting to see this upcoming season is how well the Timberwolves play as they attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003–04. There is a clear path to the postseason for the T’Wolves as they have the seventh-best record in the league.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns
The biggest surprise this season was the Bucks, who came out of nowhere to win the NBA title. With little expectation coming into the year, the Bucks had a 9.5-game lead over the second-place Rockets at the All-Star break. While most teams would have packed it in by now, the Bucks kept fighting and won the second half of the year on an impressive run. Even in their first-round loss to the Celtics, the Bucks showed tremendous resiliency as they battled back from a 3-1 series deficit.
With the core of a true champion on their roster, including MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are once again expected to be a force in the east. At the same time, the league’s sixth-best defense still has them as underdogs in most of their games.
Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings
The surprise package of the 2019 playoffs was the Raptors, who were widely considered to be the biggest underdogs in the postseason. Despite their odds, the Raptors surprised everyone as they knocked off the heavily favored Cavs in seven games. In fact, the Raptors were so unexpected that many figured that the NBA had accidentally placed them in the west instead of the east. Despite their Cinderella story, the Raptors finished fourth in the conference as they get set for another season and attempt to defend their crown.
The Kings had one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory as they missed the playoffs for the first time since their move from New York. The team scored just 84.1 points per game this season, which was 28% below their 2018–19 total, and they suffered through an 0-8 record when scored more than 100 points. They had one of the largest point differentials in the league when scored more than 100 points, but even in their wins, their offense was often ineffective as they struggled to score.
The Kings did have some solid performances in the late stages of the season as they went on a 9-game winning streak and forced a dozen games into overtime, but their lack of offense proved to be their undoing as they could not keep up with the high-powered Raptors squad.
Utah Jazz vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Jazz, who were in the middle of a 10-game losing streak, turned things around during the final quarter of the season as they went on a 7-game winning streak and finished with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. The key to their turnaround was the play of rookie Joe Ingles, who led the league in three-pointers made with 104. One could argue that his performance in the season’s last quarter led to his team’s improvement as he hit five three-pointers in the final quarter alone, which helped them secure a playoff spot. The Jazz, who made the postseason for the first time since 2012, will look to build off of their strong finish and make another strong run for the title.
Boston Celtics vs. New Orleans Pelicans
The defending champions did not have an easy time of it as they had to go through the Sixers, Nuggets, and Hawks in the playoffs. Once there, they finally faced a team they were expected to beat, the Cavs, who they defeated in five games. However, in typical Celtics fashion, they did not rest on their laurels and immediately started working toward another title.
The Pelicans had an up-and-down season as they had one of the largest point differentials in the league, scoring 105 points per game, but they shot just 34.7% from the field, which was 24% below their 2018–19 average, and they also had one of the worst offenses in the league. The Pelicans were a dark horse in the west, but they will have trouble getting past the Celtics in the playoffs for a third consecutive year.