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Western Conference Preview by Marc Lawrence – Against The Number

Welcome to the 2018-19 NBA season.  Listed under is our preview of every staff in the Western Conference. Word that each one groups are listed alphabetically with the opening Westgate SuperBook season win totals on 8/5/18 contained in parenthesis.

Make sure you be a part of me this season for my prime insights and choices on the NBA card at Against The Number!

Dallas Mavericks (34.5) – Coming off their worst season since 1997-98, the Mavericks. Unusually, aside from the addition of free agent C DeAndre Jordan to a one-year deal, Dallas did little in the offseason to shake up the roster.  They may as an alternative rely on continued improvement from G Dennis Smith Jr., a second staff All-Rookie performer who averaged 15.2 PPG last season, and different young talent including first-round decide Luca Doncic. Veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes figure to settle this fledgling roster. A small step ahead is possible however will go doubtless unnoticeable within the powerful Western Conference. – Betting nugget: The Mavs are Zero-7 SUATS ATS as favorites towards .680 or larger division opponents since 2015.

Denver Nuggets (47.5) – A season ending loss to the Timberwolves denied Denver the opportunity to make the playoffs final yr. And with it it’s now been 5 years because the Nuggets final appeared within the postseason. They locked up C Nikola Jokic, signed PG Isaiah Thomas and drafted Michael Porter Jr. the previous prep phenom. A key this season would be the return to health of Paul Millsap, a former All-Star who was limited to 44 video games final season. But to ensure that it all to work they will need to enhance on a protection that hasn’t completed within the Prime 10 since 2008-09.  Notice: They’ll open the campaign at residence for 10 of their first 15 video games, which means a robust begin might be within the offing if they wish to avoid final yr’s season-ending practice wreck.  – Betting nugget: Denver is 41-18-1 ATS as a dog off a loss since December of 2015, including 29-9-2 ATS away.

Golden State Warriors (62.5) – Winners of the NBA championship three of the final four years, together with back-to-back titles, the Warriors are led by the star power of Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry – the most effective one-two punch within the NBA. It didn’t matter that Curry played in solely 51 games because of an ankle damage, the help forged is sweet sufficient to make the playoffs on their own benefit. The offseason addition of DeMarcus Cousins – recovering from an torn Achilles and expected to be in the lineup after the holidays – is horrifying and will carry them to a different degree this postseason. And while Father Time paid Andre Iguodala a visit last season he’ll provide the glue until Cousins is ready to contribute. Still, they are very a lot the group to beat. – Betting nugget: The Warriors are 2-11 ATS as favorites of 9 or more factors without rest towards rested opponents.

Houston Rockets (54.5) – After accepting the most important leap of all season win totals from 2017-17 to last yr (from 41.5 to 55.5) after which flying over the entire behind a dominant 65-17 effort, the Rockets are targeted on taking the Larry O’Brien Trophy away from the Golden State Warriors this season. GM Daryl Mobley acquired Carmelo Anthony and added James Ennis. Phrase has it that worthwhile sixth man Eric Gordon, a dangerous scorer off the bench, will probably be added to the starting lineup to open the spot up for Anthony. It must be famous that Anthony shined in that position with Staff USA in the Olympics. The key although is having the most effective guard tandem in the league – Chris Paul and James Harden – healthy throughout the playoffs this season. – Betting nugget: Houston is 20-8 ATS away in double no-rest conditions when coming off a double-digit win.

LA Clippers (35.5) – The Clippers season win complete has fallen from 53.5 to 43.5 to 35.5 the final three years. This isn’t what billionaire proprietor Steve Ballmer signed up for.  Nevertheless it’s what happens once you lose Chris Paul and Blake Griffin over the course of the past two seasons. To their credit, even with a rash of injuries and Griffin shifting on at midseason final yr, the Clippers managed to finish the season with a profitable report. Now with Mr. Clipper DeAndre Jordan, gone GM Jerry West is tasked with protecting head coach Doc Rivers in place (he traded his son, Austin, this summer time). Having super sixth man Lou Williams helps but with the excitement in La La land centering around LeBron James nowadays, they’ll probably be within the NBA lottery at season’s end.  – Betting nugget: The Clippers have been 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS as division favorites final season.

Los Angeles Lakers (47.5) – In contrast to their crosstown rivals, the Lakers have witnessed their season win totals climb from 24.5 to 33.5 to 47.5 over the course of the final three years. The latest leap in fact surrounds the arrival of the King in Hollywood, LeBron James. Before his arrival, the Lakers put the franchise within the palms of Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram who have been just too inexperienced to win enough video games to earn a playoff berth.  That is expected to finish this season, although, with James assuming the throne. They have been pressured to move Randle in free agency, although, and then signed four free agents to one-year offers. The query is whether or not any of the 4 have anything left in the tank. In consequence head coach Luke Walton is on the recent seat. – Betting nugget: The Lakers are 8-22-2 ATS residence on Sundays in non-division video games towards opponents coming off consecutive SUATS losses.

Memphis Grizzlies (33.5) – Nearly every part that would go mistaken for Memphis did last yr. Dropping tremendous PG Mike Conley to a season ending injuring and having All-Star C Marc Gasol embroiled in a dispute with former head coach David Fizdale took the Grizzlies utterly out of the playoff race before the top of the calendar yr. Present head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was ecstatic at touchdown prized draft decide Jaren Jackson Jr., as he’ll group with new additions in Kyle Anderson, Shelvin Mack and Omri Casspi to type a nice blend with Chandler Parsons. And it seems second-round decide Dillon Brooks from Oregon was an absolute steal. With Conley and Gasol two of the perfect players within the league at their positions, a bounce-back seems to be to be in order for the Grizzlies this season. – Betting nugget: Memphis is 2-13-1 ATS as division favorites towards foes off a double-digit loss, including Zero-Eight-1 ATS the last 9 video games.

Minnesota Timberwolves (44.5) – The opening season win complete took a tough hit from 44.5 right down to 41.5 upon phrase of Jimmy Butler’s request to be traded. It leaves the Wolves in a sticky state of affairs and the onus squarely on Karl-Anthony Cities, Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague to return to the playoffs for a second straight yr (after a earlier 13-years absence). Former Bulls and Heat F Luol Deng was signed as insurance coverage. But they’ll need Wiggins to step up as his stats fell closely last season instantly after signing a five-year max deal. Via it all head coach and president of operations Tom Thibodeau is underneath the microscope and he’ll hope that former All Star Derrick Rose has one thing left within the tank. – Betting nugget: The Wolves are 39-93-2 ATS as non-division residence canine of 6 or more points, including 2-18 ATS with out relaxation.

New Orleans Pelicans (45.5) – Anthony Davis, Jrue Vacation and Nikola Mirotic helped energy the Pelicans to the playoffs final season. So did DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo but they bailed as free agents in the course of the offseason. In their stead New Orleans inked Jahlil Okafor as a free agent and purchased Julius Randle in a trade with the Lakers. They’ll definitely want a breakout season type PG Elfrid Payton. Anchored by arguably probably the most gifted player within the loop (Davis), this staff will probably be again enjoying within the postseason as soon as again this yr if Okafor, only 22 years previous, revives his career. Mark it down. – Betting nugget: The Pelicans are 31-9 ATS as division residence canine since 2007, including 27-Three ATS versus .580 or larger opponents.

Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder (50.5) – The largest additions made by the Thunder within the offseason was one it weren’t pressured to make and the opposite they have been thrilled to land. When free agent swingman Paul George opted to re-sign with OKC they as soon as once more turned viable contenders in the West. Buying and selling Carmelo Anthony and landing G Dennis Schroeder (19.4 PPG) to return off the bench was an enormous upgrade. With 12 of the first 21 games at house, behind all-everything G Russell Westbrook, a fast start will make them the workforce to beat within the Northwest division. – Betting nugget: The Thunder is 17-7 ATS as a dog with out relaxation following a loss towards unrested opponents, together with 10-1 ATS towards foes also coming off a loss.

Phoenix Suns (28.5) – With Igor Kokoskov agreeing to turn into the Suns new head coach this season, he would have fit like peanut butter to jelly had he opted to pick Luka Doncic, the MVP of the European League, with the first decide on this yr’s draft.  In any case, as coach of the Slovenian national workforce he coached him in the EuroBasket event. Phoenix as an alternative opted for native expertise Deandre Ayton who brings an athletic NBA-ready body into the league from Arizona. With main scorer Devin Booker and complimentary gamers TJ Warren and Josh Jackson alongside, the climb back to respectability begins. – Betting nugget: The Suns are 32-10 ATS as house canine towards foes off back-to-back SUATS wins, together with 15-1 ATS when Phoenix is coming off a double-digit loss.

Portland Path Blazers (41.5)– The defending Northwest Division champs are nonetheless peeved after being swept by New Orleans within the first spherical of final yr’s NBA playoffs. Anticipate first group NBA G Damian Lillard (26.9 PPG) to take full cost this season.  His 1,052 factors within the second half final season have been second solely to LeBron James’ 1,073. With operating mate CJ McCollum’s 21.four PPG they type a lethal one-two guard mixture. With just about a pat hand coming back this season something however one other playoff push can be disappointing in the Rose Backyard this season. – Betting nugget: The Blazers are 9-5 SU and 11-3 ATS as division house canine following a win, together with 6-Zero ATS off a win of 6 or more factors.

Sacramento Kings (25.5) – Meet the workforce with the longest current playoff drought in the NBA.  The final time the Kings drank Gator Help from a playoff cooler was through the 2005-06 postseason.  And in line with moderately than making wholesale modifications, the Kings are locked into a build-from-within mindset. They’ve determined to keep their cap area flexible in case of a trade opportunity on the deadline. The choice of Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 decide of the draft met with some shock once they passed on Luca Doncic, who probably would have given them some desperately wanted prompt firepower (the Kings have been lifeless final in scoring last season, averaging 98.Eight PPG). Enchancment will need to come from final yr’s prime decide, 7-foot C Willie Cauley-Stein. As well as, potential stars in the making might be De’Aaron Fox and 6-foot-10 F Harry Giles, who missed his rookie season with a knee damage. – Betting nugget: The Kings are 3-12-1 ATS as favorites towards opponents coming off a loss.

San Antonio Spurs (43.5) – After profitable 61 regular season video games two years ago, after which failing to win 50 video games last season, the Spurs season win complete is as little as its been in memory underneath Greg Popovich this yr. It’s what happened when time caught up with the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. Topping it off, the perfect participant on the roster since Duncan’s retirement, Kawhi Leonard, was traded for All-Star G DeMar Rozan. One factor is for certain: LaMarcus Alridge and Pau Gasol are going to wish to select up their games if the Spurs hope to make the playoffs this season. – Betting nugget: The Spurs are 17-7 ATS as house underdogs when coming off a SUATS loss and dealing with an opponent coming off a win.

Utah Jazz (48.5 / 40.5)– The Jazz rallied win 29 of their last 35 games to succeed in the playoffs final season. They have been driven by the outstanding play of rookie Donovan Mitchell, along with and the league’s Defensive Player of the Yr Rudy Gobert. Utah instantly went to work in the offseason to re-sign free brokers Derrick Favors and Dante Exum, before adding added Duke marksman Grayson Allen with their first-round decide. If Exum can stay wholesome and Mitchell does not regress, PG Ricky Rubio could possibly be in for a career yr. – Betting nugget: Utah is a long-term 28-5 SU and 24-Eight-1 ATS house off a win towards non-rested foes off consecutive SUATS losses, including 20-2 SU and 18-Three-1 ATS in non-division games.

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Writer: Marc Lawrence

Marc started handicapping professionally in 1975. He developed a love for the career as a scholar in highschool, where he met his lovely spouse and has been fortunately married with one youngster (Marc Jr.) since.

Achievements in handicapping: By way of numerous hours of arduous work, willpower, and his trusted database, Marc has been lucky enough to win more documented Prime 10 Handicapping Achievement Awards than anyone within the nation (over 500). Newer accomplishments embrace 8 profitable seasons in final 9 years combined on the NFL and School Football gridiron (suffered first dropping season in nine years in 2016). In consequence he additionally had a string of 10 consecutive profitable seasons in the NFL snapped final yr as properly. As well as he established an NFL season-long report going 28-9 in the course of the 2014 regular season campaign as documented by the Sports Monitor in Oklahoma. Different prime achievements embrace profitable the 2008 Playbook Soccer Sensible Guys Contest and the No.1 ranking in NFL Win Proportion in 2008 (by SPORTS WATCH in Las Vegas), Playbook Soccer Sensible Guys Contest Greatest Guess Champion in 2007, No.1 rating NFL Win Proportion (by SPORTS MONITOR in Oklahoma City) in 2006, and No. 1 ranking in School Soccer in 2005 (by SPORTS MONITOR in Oklahoma). Marc was also fortunate sufficient to win the distinguished STARDUST INVITATIONAL FOOTBALL CONTEST in 2005. As well as, and was named HANDICAPPER OF THE YEAR in 2005 by FOOTBALL NEWS. He reached the semifinals of the 2006 LEROYS MONEY TALKS CONTEST and the quarterfinals of the 2007 LEROYS MONEY TALKS CONTEST. in addition he additionally managed to determine a personal greatest 16-game win streak in MLB previous to the 2011 All-Star break.

Marc hosted each a weekly tv and radio show referred to as Marc Lawrence Against The Spread for 10 years in the late 1990’s. He at present writes a weekly NFL column for the USA TODAY Sports Weekly and has authored hundreds of articles, while illuminating on the truth that three main forms of sports activities handicapping exist. These are Elementary, Statistical and Technical. He believes that with a purpose to be a successful handicapper one have to be a well-rounded handicapper, which means it’s critically necessary to blend all three varieties into the handicapping equation. Marc depends closely on a strong database that permits me to question scores, stat and outcomes of games played since 1980 in School and Pro Football, together with School and Professional Basketball. By with the ability to determine and recreate similar situations, and checking them towards the database, he has come to rely on comparable results created by this technical ‘cause and effect’. It’s like Winston Churchill once stated, “The farther back you can look the farther forward you can see.” Applying these findings to statistical and elementary matchups makes for a strong handicap. By making use of ‘value’ to the handicap we study to win in the long run. And profitable, in the long run, is what it’s all about.

Marc also believes that deadly errors are made by players who fall in love with a sure staff(s). The bottom line is they’re all ‘machines’ and our job as handicappers is to determine those which are properly oiled and hitting on all cylinders, and conversely those who are usually not. His main focus is isolating on profitable groups in underdog situations which have a very good probability of profitable the game in straight-up style. If they do, you win. If they don’t, but play properly, you still win. In the event that they do neither, you lose. I like those sorts of odds. Hence, Marc lives by the ‘Woody Hayes’ principle of handicapping. Hayes’ rivalry was that whenever you move the ball, three things can happen and two of them are dangerous. In relation to handicapping sporting events, three issues can happen if you guess on a favourite, and two of them are dangerous. Conversely, three issues can occur whenever you guess on a dog, and two of them are good. Take into consideration that the subsequent time you’re convinced a favourite can’t lose.
He lives his life by the GOLDEN RULE and applies it to his enterprise practices as nicely. Nothing, completely nothing, overcomes dedication, expertise, onerous work and knowledge. Together they assist one make knowledgeable selections. Relating to Sports activities Handicapping Marc is actually one of many hardest working professionals within the business. Due to his want to be the easiest handicapper he can probably be, and his work ethic, he continues to burn the midnight oil working 12-14 hours a day, 7 days every week. The last time he took a vacation was on his 25th wedding ceremony anniversary over 25 years in the past. Marc has discovered through the years that the more durable he works, the luckier he gets… and he’s an actual fortunate guy.