The NBA season is almost a month old and already there has been a huge injury that greatly diminishes, if not extinguishes, a contending team’s chances of winning the NBA Title and even making the Finals.
Chicago’s Derrick Rose suffered a torn meniscus in his good knee – the right knee – and will miss the rest of the season following surgery. The injury occurred just as Rose was showing signs of being fully healthy following the injury to his left knee that sidelined the Bulls’ star all of last season.
Chicago’s chances of contending with Miami and Indiana have taken a huge nose dive. With a healthy Rose the Bulls were leading contenders in the East, going 62-20 in 2010-11 (with Rose winning NBA MVP honors) and 50-16 in the strike shortened following season (when he missed a fair part of the season).
With Rose out for the entirety of last season the Bulls fell to 45-37 and a second round exit from the Playoffs.
Rose’s injury leaves Miami and Indiana as the top teams in the East with Chicago still talented enough to contend for the third spot, especially with both New York and Brooklyn each struggling mightily.
The Knicks and Nets were each considered potential Eastern Conference contenders following the Knicks’ success of last season and the Nets’ off-season moves. The two New York City teams are a combined 6-19 through Sunday, occupying the bottom two spots in the Atlantic Division.
Their combined 6 wins equal the number of wins earned by Philadelphia – the team projected to be the worst in the league this season and whose projected wins for the entire season was in the 16 to 17 range.
But the loss of Rose may also provide some good opportunities, at least in the short run, at the betting windows. The Bulls remain an outstanding defensive team and that makes them dangerous as an underdog. And with Rose sidelined the offense will suffer which makes the UNDER an attractive option.
Of course the odds makers will waste little time in compensating for Rose’s absence but often the compensation is not great enough. Because of the dynamics of the betting marketplace odds makers are limited as to the magnitude of adjustments that can be made without causing an avalanche of one sided action.
Often the adjustments are gradual and take place over several weeks. This is especially true when in the initial games following a key injury teams often rally and overachieve in the absence of their fallen star, causing a temporary hesitation in continuing to make such adjustments.
But ultimately the absence of a star player is felt pretty much as had been expected and lines self-adjust down the road.
Here’s wishing all readers and their families a Happy Thanksgiving Day weekend. May your only turkeys be on your plates and in your bellies and not on the tickets you purchase at the betting windows!
Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.
Golden St. at OKC (Fri.): This could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. At 8-6 Golden State is in an early season slump, having lost 3 in a row through Sunday, but still has one of the most talented and deep rosters in the league. The Warriors are still a young and maturing team and should be quite strong and accomplished come April.
Oklahoma City has started 9-3 including a perfect 6-0 at home although they are just 3-3 ATS on their home court. Although both teams are more noted for offense than defense we often see games between elite teams played at a more deliberate pace. Five of Golden State’s 7 road games have stayed UNDER including 4 by double digits. UNDER.
Houston at SA (Sat.): Ho hum. Guess who is tied with Indiana for the best record in the NBA as 12-1 through Sunday? Yep, it’s those boring, bland but well coached and hugely cohesive San Antonio Spurs. Houston made noise with their off-season signing of Dwight Howard and the Rockets are off to a fine 9-5 start.
Yet the Rockets remain a poor defensive team, allowing 105.6 points per game, second highest in the league. Contrast that to the Spurs’ average of 89.8 ppg, second only to Indiana. That difference of nearly 16 points per game is huge – two buckets a quarter. And enough to suggest that the Spurs will be able to shut down the Houston offense while getting some easy baskets of their own. SAN ANTONIO.
Portland at LA Lakers (Sun.): Playing in the great Northwest and very much out of the media spotlight, Portland’s early season start has gone largely unnoticed in the national press. Yet their 12-2 start is very impressive when considering not that they are 5-1 at home but have started 7-1 on the road!
The Lakers receive much more attention and considering the absence of Kobe Bryant all season and injuries to Steve Nash and others their 7-7 start is better than many observers had expected. The Lakers are a solid 6-3 at home but, as with most teams, struggle on the road (1-4). Which makes Portland’s road accomplishments all the more impressive, notwithstanding the relatively weak road opponents.
Even though they are down the Lakers still represent a foe against whom other teams rise up. And right now the Blazers are the better team – the far better teams. The price should be reasonable to back Portland in the role of a modest favorite especially being well rested after having last played on Wednesday while the Lakers were in action on Friday. PORTLAND.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in- season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]