For more picks and Brad’s thoughts on the controversial coaching decisions in the NFL Playoffs in the Divisional Round, listen to the full Givin Props podcast here.
So after going over all of the crazy bad beats, for some, in the NFL Divisional Round, let’s of course talk futures. We start with a favorite of the podcast, Evan Mobley for Rookie of the Year, minus-150.
Brad: He’s going to win this award if he does not get hurt, for many reasons. First of all, he blatantly deserves it. This Cavaliers team just beat the Knicks as we are taping this. Mobley is just a stud. He’s the main reason this team has been good. He’s averaging 15 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 blocks playing just incredible defense. He’s, dare I say he, a little bit like the new Tim Duncan. The fact he’s on a really good team and the best player on a really good team is so overwhelming for the award. I don’t see any way where he cannot win if he doesn’t get hurt. He already got hurt. You’re going to put up 150 or whatever but I think this is free money if he stays healthy and there’s a far better than 60% chance he doesn’t suffer a serious injury. I really think there’s a lot of value in this one
Joel Embiid you can find now at 7/1 to win the NBA MVP and you think that’s too cheap.
Brad: I think he’s been the best player in pro basketball. Now, what’s interesting is the favorite: Steph Curry. Kevin Durant’s going to miss six weeks. He’s out. The Curry thing is actually fascinating. I’m gonna be honest, I think this has been Curry’s worst year he’s had in the last seven years of his career. Maybe even more. He’s actually gone through the first shooting slump of his career. I wouldn’t have him as a candidate. I’m using him being the favorite to my advantage. Embiid is just so dominant now. And he’s not playing any big minutes. He’s doing an incredibly efficient job in all facets but especially points per minute. (And he did it again on Tuesday, scoring 42 points in 33 minutes. It’s his fifth straight game where he’s had more points than minutes.) The guy who I think maybe you want to say, Giannis Antekokounmpo, has not shot as well and he’s plus-250 now (so not a value).
On to some teams. You like the Mavericks to win the West at 25/1 and a smaller bet on the Suns to do the same, at +320.
Brad: I think it was around early January, versus Dallas, where I watched the Warriors intensely after a friend had been talking about how good a bet they were. They won by about 15 to 20 points over Golden State. I’m watching the game, thinking to myself, “Wow, I really like their defense. It’s really good.” And then after the game, I heard Luka Doncic being interviewed. And he’s like, “We’re the best defensive team in the NBA now.” This is when the Warriors were playing really well by the way. So I started following this team defensively; the last month, they’re number one in the NBA in defense. (As we record) they’re 11-2 in the last 13 games. I’m not picking them to go to the title. But 25-1 in a weak conference? That’s the key. I’m not predicting this to happen. I don’t think it’s going to win. But I think we can maybe have some fun with that. But yeah, it’d be a tiny bet in my portfolio because it’s priced to win a lot more than it should if it hits.
Now, again, I think the most likely winner to go to the Finals is Phoenix. I really like Phoenix, a perfect team. You can cover the Mavs bet with this so easily. And you don’t need much on each one. But the Suns plus-320: that’s saying, there’s a 24% chance that they will go to the finals. I think the Suns probably have a 33% chance. This should be closer to 2-1 to go to the finals because the Suns have a really great team.
You like them even minus-250 to win the division.
Brad: I like this bet. Look how the Warriors are playing. They lose to Dallas. Lose to New Orleans. They beat Cleveland. Lose to Memphis. Blown out by Milwaukee. Beat Chicago. Blown out by Minnesota. Beat Detroit. Lose to Indiana. Beat Houston on the last shot of the game. Utah is missing their entire team and they win by two. The key to this bet is Draymond Green being injured. He’s not even being reevaluated for two weeks. What does that mean? I know it’s not fun to lay minus-250, I get it. But I always say on the show, “Sometimes the most value we’re going to get is by laying a big number because most people don’t want to lay a big number; they’re scared.” I get it. But we bet bad numbers here, big or small.
Taylor Jenkins of the Grizzlies for Coach of the Year at 7/1.
Brad: Billy Donovan, you could argue, but I think the Bulls are going to slide down. And then when you know, Cleveland, we gave out Bickerstaff on an earlier show at 25/1. To me, it has to be Monty Williams or Jenkins. Memphis (as we record) is 32-17. And the Grizzlies have a top-five player. Williams can win two years in a row but has that ever happened? That’s not typically the narrative. He’s the favorite though, Williams. But Jenkins has a 20% chance so should be 4/1 and not 7/1, at least in my opinion. Jenkins does have a great narrative, an amazing narrative. This team has been doing nothing for years. Of course, you’re betting on Memphis to continue to play great. And maybe the Grizzlies won’t. But I told you I think Ja Morant is a top player. So they have an amazing superstar player at a key position in today’s game.