2023 NBA Southeast Division Sports Betting Preview
I don't know about you, but I'm excited for the NBA this season. In year's past, it seemed like a foregone conclusion who was going to win it all, but this year it seems like there are more teams than ever with legitimate shots. Of course, there will be games where the rest is an issue or effort is embarrassing. Nonetheless, it is my favorite sport and my favorite to bet on. I love the NBA and always will. I'm going to break down the Southeast division and share some thoughts on the teams. If you want all futures and daily NBA plays, purchase the 30-day package and you'll get them all to start the season!
Miami Heat, 44-38 last year, 1st in division
Miami barely squeaked by into the playoffs last season and were on the verge of being knocked out by the Bulls in one of the Play In Games before everything clicked. Jimmy Butler took over for three straight series and they were able to reach the NBA Finals, but he finally ran out of gas. Pat Reily recognized what he needed to do in order to help Butler and finally traded in Tyler Herro and other pieces to get Damian Lillard on his team. Being Lillard's only choice, it was clear this was going to be the best option for both teams. Wait... Lillard is a Buck. My bad. Well, a consolation prize was Jrue Holliday coming over and helping Butler. Oh... he's on Boston. So what did the Heat do this offseason? They added Josh Richardson and saw Kyle Lowry get a year older. They once again will not care about the regular season, and since Butler is a very moody person, I'd be surprised if he plays hard this season as he shows his displeasure with the fact that the team was not upgraded despite everything going right for them to make the Finals. I don't think they make the playoffs and I don't think they win 45 games.
Atlanta Hawks, 41-41, 2nd in division
I'll be the first to admit this. I am not a Trae Young fan. I don't like the Hawks and I don't really think he is a guy I would want on my team. Now, I do recognize he is talented and can be a difference maker. I try to put all that up front as I know being someone that provides picks for a living, you should know my biases, just like I know them. So what do I like about the Hawks? I like that Patty Mills and Bogdan Bogdanovic could be a very difficult second unit to defend against this season. Dejounte Murray and Young seemed to fit together better than I anticipated. Saddiq Bey will probably provide an accurate replacement and maybe even better fit than John Collins. Clint Capela will sporadically give double-doubles. The thing is the Hawks won't be able to guard anyone and seemingly are living off of their Conference Finals appearance rather than advancing. Last year was essentially turmoil and they ended up being a .500 team. There should be more success under Quinn Snyder this year (now a full season) and less distractions. Does that equate to a division title, probably, but I don't like betting much on them game-to-game, so investing in their futures would be futile to me.
Washington Wizards, 35-47, 3rd
Bradley Beal has finally left the team. It was rumored forever, but he finally is gone and is now on the Suns. The Wizards received Chris Paul in exchange and promptly flipped him for Jordan Poole. Tyus Jones, Jordan Poole, Corey Kispert, Kyle Kuzma, and Daniel Gafford are the starting five. It seems like a team that will score 110 per game and give up 120. Tyus Jones is an underrated point guard, but I wouldn't call him an offensive threat. It will be interesting to see how good Poole is when he is the primary scorer and Curry and Thompson aren't on the gameplan. He's going to try and prove a lot this season. Kuzma and Poole are likely to just have shooting contests with each other all game long. I do think Kuzma has shown flashes of being a really talented player that can do many things, but he also seems to care most about his stats and would be better served as a player with a second unit where his whole goal is to score and rebound. The books are expecting a really bad year from this group and have them at just 24.5 wins. I can't say I expect much more from them if we are being honest.
Orlando Magic, 34-48, 4th
Is this the year for the Magic? They have the reigning Rookie of the Year and one of the few players I thought looked good in the debacle of an international contest that the US participated in over the summer. Franz Wagner was outstanding for Germany in the same contest, but asking him to do that for 82 games in the NBA is probably not going to happen. I'd also think some of the guys going to the Olympics might make certain nights really hard on him this season. The best thing the Magic have going for them is they are young, have a group that seemingly goes well together, and their guards are pretty defensive-minded. I like Suggs and would prefer him in the starting lineup. The Magic could, and should compete for a play-in berth this year.
Charlotte Hornets, 27-55, 5th
Michael Jordan had enough. He had to get out of there and finally sold the team. It was probably for the best as they never really had any success with him. Can't really fully blame him though as there were a number of reasons the team lost. This could be an interesting year in Charlotte though as LaMelo Ball is healthy, Terry Rozier has games where he can be on-fire, Brandon Miller looks like a really talented player and might be a good addition for Ball. Then you have PJ Washington, an average power forward, and Mark Williams - a hustle guy that hopefully can set the tone for the team. Gordon Hayward, if healthy could be the best sixth man in the game, with the exception of maybe Miles Bridges who before he became a complete scumbag, was a really talented basketball player. Expect him to keep his head down and try to get people to remember how good he is this year instead of remember him for being a wife-beating loser. If healthy, they won't be the worst team in the league, but I'm not confident to say that they will improve a ton either.
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