The NBA season is a month old and there are two main stories surrounding the start of the season. One is very good, the other quite the opposite.
With their 118-105 win at Denver last Sunday night the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors are 15-0, tying the record for the best start to a season. The Warriors will attempt to set the record Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers and will be heavily favored to do so.
Golden State will attempt to accomplish what the 1948-49 Washington Capitals and the 1994-95 Houston Rockets could not do. Neither of those teams was a defending NBA champ when they began 15-0, although the Rockets did go on to win the first of back-to-back titles.
At the other end of the spectrum, ironically the name of the arena they used to call home for many years, are the Philadelphia 76ers. Enduring one of the longest multi-seasons of futility in NBA history the Sixers have started the new season dropping their first 14 games.
Fans in the City of Brotherly Love have suffered through several seasons of noncompetitive basketball. Over the past couple of seasons the 76ers have been accused of “tanking” in order to acquire top draft choices. Whether or not such accusations are true, the performance of the team on the court over the past few seasons certainly can raise that possibility. But even with high draft choices the 76ers have not gotten any better with some of those draft choices being either curious or involving injury-prone players.
Since the dawn of civilization a long held maxim has been that “opposites attract.” That maxim has been applicable in many areas of life and can even be used in the world of sports, in a sense.
In a profession in which creativity often results in widespread publicity, especially in an era in which the profession is gaining more and more widespread acceptance, sports book directors are able to use the polar opposite starts by the Warriors and 76ers to attract both betting action and widespread publicity.
Two proposition wagers come to mind and at least one of them has already appeared in some of the Sports Books of Las Vegas. One is more of a short term prop that could be decided any day (or week if their streaks continue). The other is more of a season long prop that may not be decided until the season’s final weeks.
The prop that may not have yet appeared and would have a short shelf life would be “Which will occur first – a Warriors loss or a 76ers win?’” Such a prop would be evaluated by looking at the schedules of the two teams over the next couple of weeks and would be priced based upon the game by game prices by which the Warriors will be favored and by which the 76ers will be underdogs.
The Sixers may not be favored in any game this season, at least until they win their first (in which they should be solid underdogs). Golden State may be underdogs only a handful of times, most likely when they play in San Antonio or perhaps in a visit to Cleveland.
The longer term proposition has already been posted at Stations Casinos.
Priced currently at -110 each was, the prop involves which will be greater at the end of the season, Warriors wins or 76ers losses. The teams must play 82 regular season games for the prop to pay off.
The worst record for an 82 game schedule is held by a previous generation of the 76ers. Philadelphia went 9-73 in the 1972-73 season. The best 82 game regular season record is held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls at 72-10. On the surface it appears to be virtually even in that the difference between the most wins and the most losses over the course of a season is just a single game.
The 76ers may be more likely to have more wins than the Warriors have losses due to several factors. Firstly, injuries would be more likely to have a negative impact on the Warriors than they would on Philly. Taking away a key player on a very good team often results in a decrease in productivity.
Taking away a key player on a bad team (if there can be such a guy) likely results in a very small decline in productivity relative to what is lost by the very good team.
At the very least it will be fun to follow the paths of the 76ers and Warriors over the course of the season to see whether either, or both, can establish a new record for futility or excellence.
Unlike Christmas when a full one third of the league will be in action with 5 games, the NBA gives every team Thanksgiving Day off such that the 24 teams back in action on Friday will have had least one full day of rest.
Here’s a look at three games to be played over the holiday weekend.
Miami at New York (Fri): Both teams have strong UNDER profiles, Entering that Monday contest the Heat was 10-2 to the UNDER and after starting the season with 3 straight OVERs the Knicks had gone 9-2 to the UNDER since. Rookie Kristaps Porzingis has become a Knicks favorite. UNDER.
Toronto at Washington (Sat): A revenge spot for the Raptors who were swept out of the first round of last season’s Playoffs by Washington. Toronto is also rested having last played on Wednesday and prior that this past Sunday. TORONTO.
Boston at Orlando (Sun): The Magic are 4-3 SU at home with competitive losses by 1,3 and 6 points with one of the losses in overtime. Both teams last played Friday and the Celtics do play in Miami on Monday while Orlando begins a road trip on Tuesday. ORLANDO.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]