Will James Harden win MVP? Will the Houston Rockets win the title? Can Dwight Howard lead the NBA in rebounding?
Actually, remove the rhetorical question on the last one. Dwight Howard will not lead the league in rebounding. Hold out hope for the other two.
Before the Houston Rockets opened their season against the Denver Nuggets, gamblers across the world had already weighed in. Here's the most interesting odds from Las Vegas aka Bovada, which is an online gambling site Americans should not use.
NBA Title Odds:
2016 odds for the Houston Rockets to win the title opened in June at 20 to 1. The acquisition of Ty Lawson and betting brought that number down to 14-1 before opening tip on Bovada last night. Here's how that stacks up:
Odds makers view the Houston Rockets as the last of the NBA's title contenders with a margin between Houston and Memphis exceeding that between Houston and Cleveland.
Verdict: Should have put down some simoleons the day the betting opened.
James Harden MVP Odds:
This isn't a full list of Bovada odds. Just a small selection of the odds. This is the second best chance you have to win money on a Houston Rockets if you're following the betting lines... not your heart, as instructed to do in most movies.
LeBron James +280
Anthony Davis +300
James Harden +700
If you think this is a surprise, wait until you see that James Harden is listed in the odds to lead the league in assists. This is the bet with the highest likelihood of coming true. Harden was awarded the Players MVP by his peers last season and came just shy of Stephen Curry's season.
Verdict: One of the better bets you can make only because it has a serious chance to come true.
Scoring Title Odds:
Straightforward. Odds James Harden will win the NBA scoring title (Vegas).
Kevin Durant 7/2
James Harden 7/2
Russell Westbrook 5/1
Harden lost this race by 0.7 ppg last season and it took a herculean effort from Russell Westbrook to take it from him. Disclaimer: Curry is averaging 40 points per three quarters right now.
Verdict: Good odds produces low winnings.
Rebound Title Odds:
This ain't happening. High opening odds likely attracted bets and brought this down based on nothing but name recognition.
Andre Drummond +150
DeAndre Jordan +225
Dwight Howard +600
Rudy Gobert +750
DeMarcus Cousins +1100
Pau Gasol +6500
Not. A. Chance. Playoff Dwight only exists in the playoffs. That's why he's named Playoff Dwight.
Verdict: Surprised Dwight has better odds than DeMarcus, but six to one doesn't make this worth it.
Assists Title Odds:
James Harden is on this list. I repeat, James Harden is on this list. Name recognition attracts money when it comes to prop bets.
John Wall +333
Ricky Rubio +850
Steph Curry +2000
LeBron James +2000
James Harden +5000
Verdict: Keep your money in your wallet. Ty Lawson is a better bet
Defensive Player of the Year (5Dimes)
A volatile award often judged on different metrics each season. Be certain the Rockets won't have a team defense contributing to Dwight Howard's pursuit of this award.
Rudy Gobert +400
DeAndre Jordan +500
Kawhi Leonard +550
Dwight Howard +2500
Joakim Noah +3000
Serge Ibaka +3300
I'm astounded Dwight has lower odds than Serge Ibaka. There has to have been significant movement of this line. This statement also astounds me. Enough people are betting on defensive player of the year that the line moves?
Verdict: Gotta like the payout! But only wager if you expect Dwight to play enough games to contend.
Would you throw any money down on these bets in Vegas?