NBA Teams of Interest 1/27/09

NBA Teams of Interest

A Exclusive

       Welcome to the inaugural edition of SportsInsight’s “NBA Teams of Interest” article! Each week, we’re going to take a look at a few teams around The Association that we think deserve extra consideration. We will not be giving picks; however, we believe this information can help the prudent bettor looking for that extra bit of information to help them make a more informed decision on upcoming games.

Golden State

     We are big fans of Golden State right now, and not just because Monta Ellis is finally seeing the court this season. The fact that Ellis hadn’t played a game until Friday means that key role players like Kelenna Azubuike, Marco Belinelli and Anthony Morrow have had the opportunity to gain valuable experience and improve their games. Once Jamal Crawford returns to action (questionable for Wednesday), the Warriors will boast one of the best Starting 5 + 1 in the league. Don’t believe us? Check it out:

G Jamal Crawford (20.4 PPG)

G Monta Ellis (20.2 PPG last year)

F Stephen Jackson (19.8 PPG)

F Corey Maggette (19.7 PPG)

C Andris Biedrins (13.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG [2nd in NBA])

B1 Kelenna Azubuike (13.8 PPG)

That’s a lot of scoring, no matter how you cut it. It’s not a lot of defense, however, but they should be outscoring most opponents regardless. We think there is value in Golden State, and although sportsbooks will be sure to take Ellis’ return into account when setting lines, we still think the Warriors are a better team than the public believe them to be and could go on a nice run.  In addition, they have the type of players that can put up 10 points in about one minute, making them a nice team to back as an underdog as they are sure to pour in points, even late in games when trailing by large margins. The Warriors are 21-24 against the spread season-to-date, but look for that trend to reverse in the second half of the season.

Philadelphia 76ers

The return of Elton Brand is a situation we wanted to touch on because it is sure to have repercussions in the sports betting marketplace. Brand is undoubtedly a great player, having consistently averaged about 20 points and 10 rebounds while playing for the terrible L.A. Clippers.  However, it has become apparent that Brand’s game just doesn’t translate very well to the 76ers, whose up-tempo offense operates much better when the athletic Andre Igoudala is the alpha dog. Philadelphia has performed much better in the “run-n-gun” offense, which they’ve played while Brand has been out, than in the halfcourt offense they were running when Brand was healthy. There are two ways to look at the inevitable return of Brand: either they return to the methodical halfcourt offense, resulting in lower points scored, or they try to integrate Brand into the fast-paced style of play they’ve been featuring in his absence.

Many people are thinking themselves to be clever by planning to downgrade the 76ers upon Brand’s return. If you are one of those people, with plans to fade the 76ers and bet heavily on the Under, then we advise you to think twice. Players like Andre Miller have been quoted as saying they aren’t worried about integrating Brand into the new offense, and that his injury has actually given him the opportunity to study the offense in action and learn how the 76ers like to push the ball on offense and force turnovers on defense. You can bet that Brand, having spent all those years on the wrong side of La La Land, is more interested in winning than padding his own statistics. We see the 76ers continuing to play an up-tempo game and we think that Brand will acclimate well to the change. The 76ers are a better team than they’ve shown so far this year, so expect a big improvement in the second half as all the pieces begin to come together. Keep an eye on the 76ers as they may actually be less favored moving forward than in Brand’s absence and their O/U line is likely to drop as well, presenting value if you agree with our analysis.

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