The Frigid Northwest 

 The weakest division in the Western conference features a group of rebuilding teams. Minnesota and Oklahoma City have almost no chance at reaching the playoffs in the stacked West. In fact, the Flint Tropics have about as good a shot at making the NBA playoffs than Oklahoma City. Denver basically indicated that they valued trimming payroll over competing for the playoffs when they dealt Marcus Camby to the Clippers for nothing. Portland has a nice young nucleus of Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Brandon Roy and may contend for the playoffs this year if Oden can successfully return from microfracture surgery on his knee and avoid any other serious injuries. However, the Blazers probably aren’t quite ready yet to challenge Utah for the division crown unless Oden can play at an all star level in his first season as a pro. The Jazz should be competitive once again but still lack a defensive presence in the paint that can slow down top big men in the West such as Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, or Yao Ming. 


 Dwyane Wade:

 Wade’s performance in the Olympics indicates that he is nearly back to the form that he exhibited in the finals against the Mavs. Also, the Heat’s lack of size will force Miami to play at a faster pace, which should only help Wade’s numbers.


 Raymond Felton:

 Larry Brown has always had the reputation for being tough on his point guards, and it is not a good sign for Felton that the Bobcats picked D.J. Augustin in the first round of the draft. Brown abhors shoot first point guards, and although Felton cannot exactly be classified as such, expect Brown to have him on a short leash.

 Goin’ South

 The Magic should glide to another division title unless Washington can get Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison back healthy in time to make a push for Southeastern title. While Miami will be better with the additions of Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley and the return of a healthy Dwyane Wade, they are young and inexperienced and lack a capable big man. Charlotte should also be improved with Larry Brown at the helm, but he must prove he still has his coaching mojo after his debacle with the Knicks a few years ago. Even with talents such as Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Josh Smith, the Hawks are still - well, the Hawks. Time will tell if their 7 game series against Boston was a fluke or an indication that Atlanta is actually ready to compete.

 Stock Watch

 Stock Watch


 T.J. Ford:

 If Ford can stay healthy, he should fit in nicely on an Indiana team in which Jim O’Brien basically gives his players free reign on offense. 


 Kirk Hinrich or Ben Gordon:

 Derrick Rose will cut into Hinrich’s minutes at the point. It remains to be seen whether the Bulls will play him more at off guard, which would cut into Gordon’s playing time or if it will be Hinrich that will ride the pine more often.

 Ray Allen:

 Allen is 33 years old and is clearly the third option behind Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. He struggled at times during the playoffs last year and has had his share of minor injury issues the past few seasons.

 A Resurgent Central?

 Entering last season, the Pistons, Cavs, and Bulls were all expected to contend for an Eastern conference title. While Detroit and Cleveland lived up to expectations, Chicago fell apart and fired coach Scott Skiles but lucked into Derrick Rose after winning the draft lottery. While Rose will take time to develop, Chicago will likely return to the playoffs this season if Rose is as good as advertised. Meanwhile, the Cavs added Milwaukee point guard Mo Williams and the Pistons have retained the same core that has gotten them to at least the Eastern conference finals for six straight years. Detroit will face an increasing challenge from Cleveland this year and could be in danger of falling to second place in the Central. Even Indiana may contend again for a playoff spot in the East if Danny Granger can continue to grow and make the leap into stardom. The Bucks brought in Nets forward Richard Jefferson to team up with Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, but then inexplicably traded Mo Williams to the Cavs for pennies on the dollar.

 Stock Watch


 Jose Calderon: 

 Calderon averaged 13 pts and 9 assists on almost 54% shooting during his time as the Raptor’s starting point guard last season and should enjoy similar numbers this season without T.J. Ford around.

 David Lee: 

 Lee should benefit from D’Antoni’s high flying offensive machine. He’s one of the few Knicks big men who can run the floor and finish on the break.


 Stephon Marbury: 

 Marbury was basically exiled from the team last season during his time on the injured list with an ankle injury. D’Antoni reportedly hated coaching Marbury in Phoenix and the Knicks brought in Chris Duhon in the offseason to play big minutes at point guard.

A Brief Division by Division Breakdown

 The Mighty Atlantic

 A couple years ago, the Atlantic was the joke of the NBA. Many pundits cited the paltry division as a prominent reason as to why the NBA should rid itself of division winners and just take the top teams in each conference. However, with Boston’s acquisitions of Garnett and Ray Allen last year, and the Sixers procurement of Elton Brand this past summer, the Atlantic will likely boast three playoff teams this season: Boston, Philadelphia, and Toronto. The Celtics will not be able to coast to another division crown this season as the Sixers now pose a legitimate threat after signing Brand. New York and New Jersey may battle one another all season long for the most ping pong balls in the draft lottery this Spring. Mike D’Antoni will look to implement his up tempo style in the Big Apple with a Knicks roster which features plodding big men Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry, as well as coach killer Stephon Marbury. In New Jersey, Vince Carter is the lone holdover from the trio of himself, Jason Kidd, and Richard Jefferson.

 One of the most obvious NBA and College basketball betting tips that anyone can give you is to keep a constant watch on the lineups of teams keenly watching the players who make up NBA and College basketball teams. This will give you a safe and accurate guideline on what the daily odds will be on certain teams, and tell you who is playing well and who is not. Make sure that you do your research going through news reports on teams and leagues on a regular basis. You should follow the various injury reports of all teams that make up the NBA and College Basketball leagues, as well. Remember, only five players can play at a time in the NBA and College basketball so it only takes a single injury to a key player to swing the odds to the opposing team favor. If you do not have the time to follow both leagues closely, don’t guess, just bet within the league that you can thoroughly follow.

 Another important NBA and College basketball betting tip that you need to consider is to take a look into the history of the rivalry between the teams. Once two teams begin to play regularly against each other in a certain league, there is every possible chance of a pattern forming, with one team being more dominant than the other or one team at least being much more dominant at home than the opponent.

 We say it over and over, if you are going to bet, you might as well win.  

 We do a lot of writing about sports and regularly provide free sports picks to our followers in order to establish our own ability with selecting a winning team. I have read and reread that short concise little sentence many times. Nowhere do I see any indication of flexibility in favor of your favorite team when betting your best college or NBA picks. On the contrary, I see an orange caution light begin flashing each and every time I hear the words “my favorite team.” In fact, a novice gambler who finds himself near a sports betting window could do a lot worse than talk to some people in the betting line in order to find the guys betting on their home team. Follow that guy to the window and bet the other team, would be my advice.

With the popularity of NBA and College Basketball today, sports betting enthusiasts have flocked to internet sports betting sites to try to establish their dominance over the millions of other handicappers who are clutching a couple of free NBA Picks in their sweaty hands sure that they are the next kazillionaire sports bettor. Any psychologist will tell you that a tendency to gamble regularly is not considered a characteristic of the strong willed individual. Thus, when an avid team fan extracts his wallet to make a bet, it often makes no difference how recently he has read the number one rule in sports betting: do not bet on games that your favorite team is involved in unless you can bet objectively. A third grader could read that rule and pretty well understand every word of it.

 Where in that short sentence does it address the idea that your favorite team should get as many as six or more final chances to cover the spread prior to you bringing an ounce of objectivity with you to the betting window? A good way to evaluate if you can bet objectively is to place a bet for your team to lose if it appears they might, because if you are unable to bet against your favorite team, you now know you are incapable of betting objectively. If you can’t be objective enough to even admit the possibility that your favorite team could loose…QUIT BETTING ON YOUR HOME TEAM.