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A Preview of What Lies Ahead For the NBA As the All-Star Break Comes to an End
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

A Preview of What Lies Ahead For the NBA As the All-Star Break Comes to an End


MIAMI HEAT 38-21: Miami has been the most consistent team in the conference to this point. They have fought through injuries and are tied for the best record in the East. They have a star player in Jimmy Butler, and he has plenty of support from Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry. They have plenty of depth as eight players are averaging at least 9 points per game. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 10/1 *PAPA DUDES RECOMMENDED WAGER*

CHICAGO BULLS 38-21: The Bulls are tied with the Heat for the best record in the East. However, they are not that well thought of by Vegas. They have three very good players in DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucecic who are averaging 71 points per game between them. They might not have the defensive ability to win it all. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 30/1 Might be worth a small wager.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS 36-24: The defending champs have been somewhat disappointing to this point. But, they can’t be overlooked and Vegas thinks so too. They have played through some injuries and seem to be getting healthy at the right time. They have a superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo and good players surrounding him. Consistency and defense have been an issue, but you still have to take them seriously. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 6/1

BROOKLYN NETS 31-28: Despite their poor record and the fact they are in 8th place in the standings, the Nets are the favorites behind Phoenix and Golden State to win the NBA title. Of course, all this is predicated on the fact that superstar Kevin Durant, is due to come back from injuries, that have limited him to only 36 games. He will bring back 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists per game and unmeasured leadership. Another wild card is the acquisition of Ben Simmons and what he might bring to the lineup. They have a long way to climb and I would not take their odds. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL 6/1.


BOSTON CELTICS 34-26: The Celtics didn’t want to see the break come as it broke up a stretch where they won 9 in a row and played their way into 6th place in the East. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have emerged as stars and Boston can score with anyone. However, it is a stretch to think they can make it all the way to the end. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 25/1

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 35-23: In a curious trade, they acquired James Harden from the Nets for the disgruntled Ben Simmons. Harden is on the downhill part of his career judged on his play this year. They have a force in the middle with Joel Embiid but it won’t be enough. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 7/1


Phoenix Suns 48-10: The Suns were 6.5 games better than anyone else before the break. They are 22-5 on the road and 26-5 at home which is remarkably consistent. They are led by the consummate pro in veteran Chris Paul, and his leadership is vital. They also have the added experience of playing in the finals a year ago. The Suns have 9 players averaging at least 9 points per game and play very well together. Devin Booker is averaging 25.5 points per game and he is developing into a go-to guy as well. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 4.5/1

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 42-17: The Warriors have been in a funk for the past couple of weeks and have dropped off the torrid pace the Suns are setting. After winning 9 in a row, they went 1-4 in their last five games before the break. They have been fighting through injuries all year long and are trying to get healthy for the stretch run. With Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, and Poole on the floor they are a formidable foe for anyone. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 4.5/1

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 41-19: This is a dangerous team if they can keep up the pace they have been setting. They have won 20 out of their last 25 and are currently only 1.5 games behind 2nd place Golden State. They have one of the most exciting players in the league in Ja Marant who is the best player no one has heard of. He is averaging 27 points per game and can light it up from anywhere. He has plenty of support from Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson. An added plus, is the impending return of Dillon Brooks who has been limited on only 18 games. They could surprise everyone. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 25/1 *PAPA DUDES RECOMMENDED WAGER*


UTAH JAZZ 36-22: The Jazz have been slumping and have fallen off. An injury to Rudy Gobert has hurt, but he has returned to the lineup and they have the potential to improve. Donovan Mitchell has been a consistent scorer and is averaging 26 points per game. The Jazz are one of those teams that play well in the regular season but flame out in the playoffs. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 16/1

DALLAS MAVERICKS 35-24: The Mavericks have been playing well of late, and they have some very good players who can carry a team through the playoffs. Luka Doncic is pouring in 28 points per game and if they could get Kristaps Porzingis back from injury, they could be a tough out. They are a team to watch. ODDS TO WIN IT ALL: 40/1

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