Harden Deal Doesn't Shift Futures, But Book Exposed On Rockets In Southwest
The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a stunning trade on the eve of the 2012-13 season, with Houston finally landing a post-Yao Ming star-quality player in James Harden for a package built around Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb and picks.
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Harden, the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, wasn't going to get a maximum deal from OKC so the Thunder were proactive in shipping him where he will. It's an impressive haul for the Thunder but more in future assets. OKC was 9/2 to win the NBA title before the trade and 9/5 to win the West, but those odds didn't change.
Houston, meanwhile also stayed put: 150/1 to win the NBA title and 75/1 to win the West. Houston's wins total shifted slightly to 33.5. There is one future exposure for the book on the Rockets: +2500 to win the Southwest Division, easily the most of any club in that division (most of the action was before the Harden trade). San Antonio remains the -175 favorite. The book also has slight exposure on Memphis at +300 to dethrone the Spurs.
The biggest division favorite in the NBA is Miami at -2500 in the Southeast. But the book is most exposed there on Atlanta at +1000. Of course the Hawks traded star guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn this offseason in a salary dump.
The tightest division race looks to be the Central as Chicago plays without Derrick Rose for at least the first half of the season. The Bulls and Indiana Pacers are both at -110 to win the division. The Pacers also will open the season without their star as forward Danny Granger is out indefinitely. He's still dealing with a knee injury that plagued him in last year's playoffs and is getting a second opinion from doctors on treatment. He averaged a team-best 18.7 points last season. The book is most exposed in the Central on the Detroit Pistons at 50/1.
Live Betting Schedule
The season tipped off Tuesday night with two live betting games at Bovada: Celtics at Heat and Mavericks at Lakers, with Miami and Dallas winning. There will be live betting options on the NBA Wednesday-Friday at the book before football takes over on the weekend.
On Wednesday, the options are Spurs at Hornets and Lakers at Trail Blazers. San Antonio will be without star Manu Ginobili for that first game. The injury-plagued 35-year-old already has dealt with multiple maladies in the preseason, but it's a back issue that will force Ginobili to miss at least the opener.
Meanwhile, it will be the NBA debut of Hornets No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, the 8/5 overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year. Davis averaged 14.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in seven preseason games. Those numbers almost certainly would win him the ROY award. Fellow Hornets rookie Austin Rivers, the No. 10 overall pick out of Duke, struggled in the preseason by averaging 7.3 points and 2.0 assists. He is 30/1 to win Rookie of the Year.
Another top ROY candidate will be on display in the nightcap in Portland, point guard Damian Lillard. He's the 5/1 second-favorite to Davis for ROY. Lillard, from Weber State, averaged 16.2 points in the preseason.
On Thursday, the Brooklyn debut of the Nets versus the Knicks is scheduled for live betting, and the game will be played despite Hurricane Sandy's devastating impact on that area of the country. The Knicks already are reeling a bit with the news that Amar'e Stoudemire could miss up to eight more weeks with a knee injury. The Knicks originally thought he would be out 2-3 weeks when he suffered the injury October 19.
The other live betting game Thursday is Thunder at Spurs in a rematch of last season's West Finals. It's OKC's season opener as it adjusts to life without Harden.
Finally, on Friday, the options are Heat-Knicks, another rematch from last year's playoffs, and Clippers-Lakers. It should be two great matchups. LeBron always performs on the big stage that is Madison Square Garden. New York was 1-7 versus the Heat in 2011 including playoffs.
The Clippers nearly unseated the Lakers atop the Pacific Division last year but lost two of three regular-season meetings. This year, it's Steve Nash versus Chris Paul and Blake Griffin potentially posterizing Dwight Howard. It should be must-see TV.
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