When Thinking Before You Speak Isn’t Enough

The Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings 11/3/16

I feel a bit like that overzealous Family Feud contestant… You know the one I’m talking about! That one guy, or gal, that hits the buzzer all fast – before the host even has time to finish the question – then blurts out some random answer, and then has to stand there looking all remedial while the host actually finishes the question and they realize their answer has nothing to do with the actual question…

Yep, that’s me…

The question: rank all of the teams in the NBA based on offseason player acquisitions/losses, coaching changes, and the preseason (not really a question, but whatever). My response: a Preseason Power Rankings which had the 0-3 Washington Wizards ranked 10th, and the 4-0 OKC Thunder ranked 17th. *Kanye shrug*

Guess what though? I really don’t care. 1. I’m not on national TV, 2. about 7 people read my rankings, and 3. I’m used to it. Happens every year. Predicting the outcome, outside of say the top 5 or so, is ridiculously hard to do in the NBA… Especially in the preseason. *Double Kanye shrug*

Thing is, in the past, I’ve waited it out a few weeks – one at a minimum – before evaluating teams, and/or placing bets. This year, not so much. But, since I’m already committed, I might as well keep it going. So now that we’re a week deep, and I’ve already got my 1st strike, here’s the updated Gambler’s Power Rankings.

*The Gambler’s Power Rankings system is based on a team’s win-loss record, but also factors their record against the spread, statistical performance, and schedule strength (amongst other factors).

1. San Antonio Spurs (Preseason Rank: 3)

Record: 4-1

Record ATS: 3-1-1

The Spurs aren’t at 100%, but still routed the Warriors by 29 in Oakland. They haven’t played the toughest schedule to start the year, but who cares? They’re the NBA Patriots… Or the Patriots are the NFL Spurs. Whichever you prefer.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (Preseason Rank: 2)

Record: 4-0

Record ATS: 2-2

They’ve been favored by at least 9.5 in 3 of their first 4 games (all against teams pretty much universally projected to make the playoffs in the preseason – New York, Toronto, and Houston); so don’t let the record against the spread cause pause.

3. Golden State Warriors (Preseason Rank: 1)

Record: 3-1

Record ATS: 1-3

Similar to the Cavs, public perception (and stupidity) is to blame for their over-inflated spreads, and the resulting poor record in that regard. They’ll gel, but if they’re going to continue to allow an average of 112 points per game, and the public is going to continue to back them, there will be value betting against the ‘Dubs.

4. Los Angeles Clippers (Preseason Rank: 4)

Record: 3-1

Record ATS: 3-1

The Clippers are 1st in opponent points per game (91 ppg), and 2nd in defensive efficiency. I won’t go on listing all of their defensive ranks, but suffice it to say, they’ve been pretty damn good defensively… And we all know about their acting skills. Literally.

5. Chicago Bulls (Preseason Rank: 13)

Record: 3-1

Record ATS: 3-1

They’ve played the Celtics twice, the Pacers, and the surprisingly not terrible Nets. Their point differential? +11.5

6. Toronto Raptors (Preseason Rank: 5)

Record: 3-1

Record ATS: 2-2

They seem to turn it off, and on, when they see fit. But, when they’re on, they’re impressive, and they’re a half point against Cleveland away from being 3-1 against the spread.

7. Atlanta Hawks (Preseason Rank: 12)

Record: 3-1

Record ATS: 3-1

Their opponents have a combined 4-13 record; they haven’t exactly faced juggernauts. However, their bench looks better than expected, and they’re still one of the best defensive teams in the league.

8. Houston Rockets (Preseason Rank: 16)

Record: 3-2

Record ATS: 3-2

I knew the James Harden at PG move would be a good look, but I didn’t expect him to lead the league in assists. Even more surprising? The Rockets aren’t the worst defensive team in the league.

9. Boston Celtics (Preseason Rank: 9)

Record: 3-1

Record ATS: 2-2

They’re pretty banged up, but Olynyk should be back soon. Hopefully Crowder/Horford don’t miss much time, because their November schedule is pretty favorable.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (Preseason Rank: 17)

Record: 4-0

Record ATS: 2-2

Yes, they’re 4-0, and sitting atop the Western Conference standings, but their opponents’ combined record is 6-12. Big win at the Clippers, though… How far can Westbrook carry them? Pretty damn far, especially if they can maintain their defensive efficiency.

11. Utah Jazz (Preseason Rank: 7)

Record: 3-2

Record ATS: 2-3

They showed signs of what they’re capable of when they went into San Antonio and Ike Turner’d the Spurs, but it’s been an up and down start to the season. They’ll be scary once fully healthy, and at this point, George Hill may be the MVP amongst players on new teams.

12. Charlotte Hornets (Preseason Rank: 21)

Record: 3-1

Record ATS: 3-1

Balanced offensively (6 guys averaging at least 10 per game), solid defensively, decent depth… They won’t wow you, but they’ll compete with anyone.

13. Memphis Grizzlies (Preseason Rank: 11)

Record: 3-2

Record ATS: 3-2

Knowing they had several key guys either injured, or coming off injury, the schedule makers purposely gave them a light schedule to start the season… My 1st NBA conspiracy of the season. Zach Randolph, way too early 6th man of the year. 

14. Los Angeles Lakers (Preseason Rank: 29)

Record: 2-3

Record ATS: 4-1

Their two wins? Atlanta and Houston. Combined record? 6-3. Their three losses? Indiana, OKC, Utah. Combined record? 9-4. They’ve played one of the toughest schedules, and covered 4 of 5. Clearly, Kobe was holding them back last season.

15. Detroit Pistons (Preseason Rank: 15)

Record: 3-2

Record ATS: 3-2

While they haven’t beaten anyone worth a damn (Orlando, Milwaukee, and New York), they beaten them all convincingly (26, 15, 13 respectively).

16. Denver Nuggets (Preseason Rank: 24)

Record: 1-2

Record ATS: 2-1

They lost to Portland, and Toronto – but had a chance to win both games – and they’re a half point away from being 3-0 against the spread. Too early to proclaim them as a contender, but they look like a solid bet to make the playoffs.

17. Portland Trailblazers (Preseason Rank: 8)

Record: 2-3

Record ATS: 2-3

They’re off to a slow start, but I’m not too concerned… Yet. Their defense has been non-existent, however, so maybe I am.

18. Miami Heat (Preseason Rank: 26)

Record: 2-2

Record ATS: 2-2

They’ve won the games they were supposed to win, and lost the ones they were supposed to lose. Keep an eye on the over/under. They’ve gone over the total in 3 of 4, and while they’re still good defensively, they may be a bit overvalued.

19. Indiana Pacers (Preseason Rank: 6)

Record: 2-2

Record ATS: 1-3

A lot of new faces, including Jeff Teague, who’s putting up career low numbers to start the season.

20. Washington Wizards (Preseason Rank: 10)

Record: 0-3

Record ATS: 0-3

As surprising as the Lakers have been, the Wizards have been twice as disappointing, and they don’t look like they care.

21. Brooklyn Nets (Preseason Rank: 28)

Record: 2-3

Record ATS: 4-1

The Nets have been fairly competitive, outside of their blowout loss to Chicago. They won’t win many games, so lay off the moneyline, but they’ve shown great value against the spread.

22. Sacramento Kings (Preseason Rank: 20)

Record: 2-3

Record ATS: 2-2-1

They’re still dysfunctional. How does one commit 6 personal fouls in one quarter?

23. Phoenix Suns (Preseason Rank: 27)

Record: 1-4

Record ATS: 3-2

My playoff prediction may have been a wee bit premature, but they did give OKC and GS a run for their money, and beat Portland by 3… They also got blasted by Sacramento. Not really sure what any of this means.

24. Dallas Mavericks (Preseason Rank: 19)

Record: 0-4

Record ATS: 1-3

The Mavs haven’t started a season 0-4 since 2016. They finished that season 67-15. They’ll finish behind the Spurs, and Warriors.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves (Preseason Rank: 18)

Record: 1-2

Record ATS: 1-2

I was just kidding about the Mavs. The stat was real, but they’ll be lucky to win 45 games… Ok, back to the Wolves. They’ve played Memphis twice, and Sacramento once. Their record is 1-2. Zach LaVine can jump high.

26. Philadelphia 76ers (Preseason Rank: 30)

Record: 0-4

Record ATS: 2-2

They’ve alternated close games, and blowouts. Let’s see how long that lasts. Seems about as exciting as trying to figure out who their players are.

27. New York Knicks (Preseason Rank: 14)

Record: 1-3

Record ATS: 1-3

Remember when Derrick Rose said they were a super team? Hilarity.

28. Milwaukee Bucks (Preseason Rank: 22)

Record: 2-2

Record ATS: 1-3

Just two seasons ago, they were a playoff team with so much promise… Now? They’re the Bucks.

29. Orlando Magic (Preseason Rank: 23)

Record: 1-3

Record ATS: 1-3

They look decent… On paper… Or if you don’t have a HDTV… Or if you squint.

30. New Orleans Pelicans (Preseason Rank: 25)

Record: 0-5

Record ATS: 1-4

Anthony Davis leads the Pels in more statistical categories (4 – Points, Rebounds, Steals, Blocks), than I can name players on their team not named Anthony Davis… He leads them in 5 if you count turnovers.

As always, be sure to check me out on Instagram: maximizeyourodds, Facebook: maximizeyourodds, and Twitter: maxingyourodds or shoot me an email: leonard@maximizeyourodds.com for free plays, and/or fantasy advice.

 

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