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Westbrook Season Props
Russell Westbrook Triple-Double & MVP Odds

Is there really much team drama in the NBA following the All-Star break?

The Golden State Warriors look unbeatable, and by some statistical numbers are better than last year’s club that won a record 73 regular-season games. Adding Kevin Durant to three All-Stars will do that.

On BetOnline’s NBA odds, the Warriors are -175 to win their second championship in three years – they would be going for a threepeat most likely if not for Draymond Green’s temper – and the field is +145.

A LeBron James-led team has won the Eastern Conference the past six seasons, and is there much doubt that his Cavaliers get to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year? Perhaps Cleveland’s only Achilles’ heel is the knee surgery that Kevin Love underwent last week. He’s expected out 4-6 weeks, but if Love, James and Kyrie Irving are healthy when the playoffs start, the Cavs should win the East again. They are heavy -250 favorites to do so.

With all due respect to Toronto and its trade addition of Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic, likely the only team that could beat out Cleveland in the East would be Boston if it makes a big trade. The Celtics are currently +500 to win the conference, but they could well make a splash ahead of Friday’s trade deadline. A backcourt of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Isaiah Thomas could perhaps beat Cleveland. It seems, however, that GM Danny Ainge doesn’t want to give up any of those coveted Nets first-round picks to land Butler from the Bulls.

So presuming a historic third straight NBA Finals meeting between the Warriors and Cavaliers, the biggest second-half NBA story line will be Russell Westbrook’s chase for a season triple-double. The Thunder superstar is given NBA odds of -105 to do it and -125 to miss out. Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson is the only player in league history to average a triple-double for a full season. The Big O put up 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists in 1961-62 for the Cincinnati Royals. 

Robertson had a league-record 41 triple-doubles that season. He didn’t win MVP honors, as that went to Celtics center Bill Russell – even though Russell wasn’t even named first-team All-NBA (he was second team).

Westbrook isn’t favored for MVP at BetOnline as he’s +135 with Houston’s James Harden at -130.

Westbrook, who somehow wasn’t chosen to start Sunday’s All-Star Game, enters the second half averaging 31,1 points (first in NBA), 10.5 rebounds (12th) and 10.1 assists (third). He and Robertson are the only players to average a triple-double entering the month of February. Westbrook has 27 triple-doubles on the year, the third-most in NBA single-season annals and six from passing Wilt Chamberlain (1967-68) for second. The Thunder are 21-6 in those 27 games.

Most statistical models now give Westbrook around a 60 percent chance of the full-season triple-double. At the same point of the 1961-62 season, Robertson had 31 triple-doubles and was averaging 30.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 11.6 assists. It should be noted that teams played at a faster pace back then so there were more opportunities for points, rebounds and assists.

In 1961-62, teams averaged 71.4 rebounds per game, 23.9 assists and 118.8 points per game.  Robertson’s Royals put up 123.1 points per game. Westbrook’s Thunder score 105.9 points per night. Golden State leads the league at 118.2 ppg.

It could be tough for Westbrook to win MVP honors even if he averages a triple-double because the Thunder are likely going to finish no better than seventh in the West, while Houston seems ticketed for the No. 3 spot. MVP voters tend to reward the best player on the league’s top teams.


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