TRADER CHAT: The 78th NBA regular season begins on Tuesday running through to Sunday, April 14, 2024. We caught up with starsports.bet basketball trader Djordje in a Q&A session on the season ahead and what we can look forward to.
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Q: From a trading perspective, what’s a key aspect that makes basketball unique in sports betting compared to other sports? 🏀
A: Generally speaking, basketball has a really unique offering because European basketball and NBA have quite different dynamics. From certain game rules to game duration (8 minutes difference) it all presents a challenge to adapting to different approaches bettors have. NBA specifically evolves pretty quickly, scoring is on the raise pretty much year since 2012, teams can go from contenders to rebuilding in only couple of years. When you add last trend of “player load management” which finally got addressed by league this offseason you get a fast-changing environment which requires constant reviews of trading process.
Q: Milwaukee Bucks are favourites for the outright winner; do you think they can bounce back after last year’s shocking early postseason exit? 🏀
A: After trading for Damian Lillard, Bucks are deservedly considered favourites for winning the title. Adding such an offensive powerhouse change everything for them, especially half court-offense which was the main problem last couple of years. Giannis – Lillard pick and roll has the potential to be one of the most efficient offensive actions in NBA. Their defence and depth took a big hit but when you have a chance to trade for a legitimate super star – you take it. Question remains though, which line-up will close the games and can they survive without any wing depth.
I personally consider Boston Celtics a better team at this point but hopefully we get to see that fascinating match-up in playoffs.
Q: What have been some key trades and signings over the summer that you think will have a big impact on the upcoming season? 🏀
A: Above mentioned Damian Lillard trade was the most consequential transaction of the offseason. On the other side, Jrue Holiday getting traded to Boston Celtics as essentially part of that same transaction and having the opportunity to guard Lillard and play against his former team will add another wrinkle to Bucks – Celtics rivalry.
In the West, Bradley Beal trade to Phoenix Suns solidified their status as the second-best team of the conference behind the champions Denver Nuggets.
Q: Which division do you think will be the most competitive this season? 🏀
A: It would be a big surprise if we don’t see something similar to last year where Pacific division was by far the most competitive. All five teams finished within five games and all had winning record. Phoenix Suns enter the season as favourites but the race looks to be wide open. All teams have a legitimate case for winning the division but also question marks surrounding them – whether it’s the health and rotation depth for Suns, aging roster for Clippers or doubts about repeating last years offensive output and clutch performance for Kings. That being said I like Lakers at current price – 7/2 seems like a fair price for a team that improved its depth immensely and look well equipped to navigate hectic NBA schedule.
Q: Who are the teams to watch this year for divisional titles? Any underdogs? 🏀
A: Two interesting divisions are Southeast and Southwest. Miami Heat are front runners to win Southeast but they’ve lost a couple of valuable pieces from last year in Gabe Vincent and Max Strus and are short enough to be worth taking on. Altanta Hawks and Orlando Magic are main opponents and could pose a legitimate threat. Hawks at 21/10 and Magic at 8/1 present a value in my mind even though betting against Jimmy Butler rarely goes well.
Southwest division also looks like a three-runner race and New Orleans Pelicans at 9/4 look like an underrated team. They had their fair share of injury, personal and off-court issues but their talent in undeniable and hopefully we get to see them play at full strength this year. Dallas and Memphis are also facing their own set oof challenges and can’t help but think that all three teams should be close in the betting.
Q: On the flip side, are there any teams you think will really struggle this season? 🏀
A: One team whose roster looks poorly assembled are Dallas Mavericks. Having Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on the same team might look exciting on the paper but brings a lot of issues offensively and defensively. Both love having ball in the hands and don’t really do much off the ball. On the other side, their lack of defensive effort is well known. Mavericks lack size and toughness on most of the positions and certainly have their work cut out for them in current Western Conference landscape. Also, starting rookie centre is rarely a good thing especially when the rest of the line-up doesn’t excel defensively. I see them missing the playoffs once again and probably going through another set of roster changes.
Q: Are there any standout team or player storylines to follow this season? 🏀
A: Victor Wembanyama was drafted as the 1st overall in 2023 NBA draft and his skills were on full display during pre-season. Listed at 7’4’’ with 8-foot wingspan he brings game changing potential of both sides of the floor. San Antonio Spurs were lucky enough to win the lottery and land a generational talent with a combination of size, ball handling and shooting that we have never seen before. His potential is limitless and Spurs suddenly became a must-see team that should be ready to contend for a title in couple of years.
Q: What are some unique markets that Star Sports are offering for the NBA season? 🏀
A: We have a quite strong offering this year – from usual outrights to player awards, team props and specials. Of course, In-Season tournament is a big novelty this year and brings another element to already exciting betting landscape. We will also be running “Time & A Half “promo which returns 50% of your stake as a free bet if your selections is beaten in overtime.
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Thanks Djordje for the answers!