NBA Basketball Season Gets Underway – Who Will Challenge The Mighty Bucks?
The new and full 82-game NBA regular season is now underway across the United States and the 30 teams competing in the Eastern and Western Conference all have one goal in mind; make it to the post-season and try and win the NBA Finals.
Last year, it was the Milwaukee Bucks, inspired by the ‘Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo, who claimed victory in the finals defeating the Phoenix Suns 4-2 after losing the opening two matches of the series.
It was the first time since 1971 that the Bucks had landed the games’ top honour and meant a third time that the Suns had tasted defeat in the NBA Finals, following on from similar results in 1976 and 1993.
The Suns now hold the unwanted record of having reached the most NBA Finals series without ever winning the Championship.
Prior to the new season, we saw plenty of movement in the trade and free agency markets, not to mention the NBA Draft, all of which means that there are more than a few new looks for teams as the season gets underway.
With live NBA action being shown regularly throughout the season in the UK on Sky Sports, interest in the season will be high and you can enjoy a bet on the games with bet365 Sport, as well as enjoying In Play and futures market betting too.
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Of course, there is going to be even more interest in the NBA games across the United States and you can keep tabs across all the regular season action every week with BetRivers Sportsbook and its excellent NBA coverage.
NBA Season Preview
The new season sees the return of a full 82-game regular season. The league is split into two conferences, the Eastern and Western, although teams play opponents from either conference throughout the course of the season.
After the 82-game regular season is completed, we then enter the post-season.
This begins with the Play In games, a one-off match between the 9th and 10th seeds and the 7th and 8th seeds from each conference. The winner of the 7th & 8th seed game are the 7th seed in the playoffs, with the winner of the 9th & 10th seed game going on to face the loser of the 7th and 8th seed game for the right to be the 8th seed.
After the play-in games, the First Round of the playoffs begin, with teams competing in a best-of-seven series, the same format used throughout the rest of the playoffs.
The draw is based on the seedings of each team as follows:
- 1st Seed v 8th Seed
- 2nd Seed v 7th Seed
- 3rd Seed v 6th Seed
- 4th Seed v 5th Seed
Once a team has won four games the series ends and the winning team moves into the Conference Semifinals, and then the winners of those games meet in the Conference Finals. The two Conference Champions then meet in the NBA Finals series.
NBA Eastern Conference
The 15 teams in the Eastern Conference are as follows, they are shown in order of how they finished from 1st to 15th in the Conference last season.
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Brooklyn Nets
- Milwaukee Bucks
- New York Knicks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Miami Heat
- Boston Celtics
- Washington Wizards
- Indiana Pacers
- Charlotte Hornets
- Chicago Bulls
- Toronto Raptors
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Orlando Magic
- Detroit Pistons
Star Players In The Eastern Conference
- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
- Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)
- James Harden (Brooklyn Nets)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
- Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
- Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
- Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
- Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors)
- Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
- Nikola Vucevic (Chicago Bulls)
- DeMar De Rozan (Chicago Bulls)
- LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
- Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls)
- Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Kyle Lowry (Miami Heat)
- Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons) Rookie
- Jalen Suggs (Orlando Magic) – Rookie
- Kemba Walker (New York Knicks) – Rookie
Who Are The Bookies Favourites To Win The Eastern Conference?
In the Eastern Conference, it is the Brooklyn Nets who are the 6/5 favourites to top the conference at the end of the regular season ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (13/4) and Philadelphia 76ers (8/1). Miami Heat are 191, with the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks both at 16/1.
Having invested in some major NBA talent in the offseason and started the season very well, the Chicago Bulls are a very interesting possibility at 22/1, with the Knicks at 28/1, the Raptors and Hornets both 30/1, the Pacers and Wizards 33/1, while the outsiders are the Magic and Cavaliers (both 100/1) while the Pistons are the 150/1 rank outsiders.
I think the Milwaukee Bucks are the best value here at 13/4, but I would also be very tempted for an each way punt on the Chicago Bulls at 22/1, which will offer you a return of ½ the odds if they finish in the top two.
NBA Western Conference
As with the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference teams are listed below in the positions they finished the regular season last year.
- Utah Jazz
- Phoenix Suns
- Denver Nuggets
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Dallas Mavericks
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Sacramento Kings
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Houston Rockets
Star Players In The Western Conference
- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) – Current NBA MVP
- Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
- Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Russell Westbrook (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
- Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
- Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
- Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
- John Wall (Houston Rockets)
- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
- Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
- Jalen Green (Houston Rockets) – Rookie
- Alperin Sengun (Houston Rockets) – Rookie
Who Are The Bookies Favourites To Win The Western Conference?
In the Western Conference it is the perennial favourites the LA Lakers who are the 21/10 bookies shortest price team. The Golden State Warriors are 9/2, with the Utah Jazz 11/2, the Clippers and Suns both 15/2 along with the Denver Nuggets.
After that the prices drop to Dallas at 14/1, the Trail Blazers at 25/1, Grizzlies at 28/1, Pelicans at 33/1, San Antonio Spurs at 50/1 and the Timberwolves are. A 60/1 chance.
Outsiders are the Sacramento Kings at 100/1 and the Thunder and Rockets who are both 125/1 to win the conference.
While the Lakers seem to be the popular pick, I think the Golden State Warriors are due a good season and at 9/2, they look the best bet to me, along with an each way punt on Dallas at 14/1.