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Can Lillard put Trailblazer on his back again?

Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard handles the ball against Golden State Warriors’ Juan Toscano-Anderson. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images via AFP.

The 2022-23 NBA regular season is just weeks away. That means it’s the perfect time to look for value in the NBA futures markets. We examine three value bets on potential playoff teams.

The Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics represented their respective conferences at last year’s NBA Finals, which ended with the Golden State Warriors winning their fourth title in eight years.

We’ve identified three teams that could make waves in the 2022-23 regular season en route to a playoff spot.

Here are my picks and predictions for three NBA teams that offer bettors good value thanks to their playoff odds (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet).

Which teams offer the best odds after the season?

Trailblazer (+154 via FanDuel)

The Portland Trail Blazers were a fixture in the Western Conference playoff race leading up to last season, with eight consecutive postseason appearances from 2013 through 2021.

However, last season was a different story. For the past six seasons, the tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum has been considered one of the best backcourt duos in the NBA. But the Trail Blazers sold McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans in hopes of lowering their salary cap and gaining a few assets in the process.

In the end, Portland won just 27 games last season, the team’s worst total since the 2010-11 season, when they posted a 28-38 record in a lockout-shortened season.

Although Lillard can drop out any night, his performance (24.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists) may not be enough to earn a playoff spot.

However, the interesting part of this bet is that FanDuel has the Trail Blazers as one of the favorites to qualify for the play-in tournament (-140). If Portland snags a play-in tournament spot, Lillard could very well propel his team into the postseason.

Check out the latest comprehensive and most trusted sports betting reviews from SBR.

Bulls (-125 via DraftKings)

Prior to last season, the Chicago Bulls had missed the playoffs in each of the last four campaigns. But thanks to a front office reorganization and some clever offseason acquisitions — namely DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso — the Bulls finally ended their playoff drought.

As expected, Caruso proved a valuable defender and Ball played well before a knee injury sidelined him for most of the second half of the season. For his part, DeRozan produced one of the best NBA seasons of his career. He averaged 27.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest.

The last time DeRozan crossed the 27 PPG threshold was in 2016-17 when he was a member of the Toronto Raptors. Based on what we’ve seen in his first year with the team, there’s no reason to think he won’t make a valuable contribution next season.

Unfortunately, Ball is unlikely to return before the start of the season and there is no definitive timeline for his recovery following recent surgery he had on his left knee.

The good news is that the Bulls played off-rotation with ball for a good chunk of last season. As long as Team Big Three DeRozan, Zach Lavine (24.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists) and Nikola Vucevic (17.6 points and 11 rebounds per game) can consistently play at a high level, the Bulls have enough firepower for a trip back the playoffs.

Pelicans (-155 via PointsBet)

The New Orleans Pelicans aren’t historically a perennial playoff contender. In fact, New Orleans has only advanced to the postseason four times since the 2010-11 season. Because of this trend, some may be wondering why this team has early favorable odds of making the playoffs.

A major reason is an apparent return to health for Zion Williamson. He made just 24 appearances in 2019/20, appeared in 61 games in his second campaign and missed the entire 2021/22 season with a foot injury. However, he appears to have improved his stamina this off-season and appears poised to return with a vengeance.

During his rookie season, he averaged 22.5 points and 6.3 boards per contest. He went on to average 27 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21. He also shot an efficient 60.4% from the field.

Things seem to be on the up for New Orleans. After acquiring McCollum from the Trail Blazers, the Pelicans clinched 8th place in the conference playoffs. Not only that, but they brought the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games.

The Pelicans will happily welcome Williamson back to join McCollum and the rest of their rising stars. You should hunt again in the postseason.

Where to bet on NBA futures tips

Here are our top rated sports bets:

SEE ALSO: All tips, odds and sports betting news. Be sure to check out the SportsbookReview.com community forums and betting tools.

NBA Playoffs Value Picks as of 9/30/2022 at 6:10 p.m. ET

Written by:
James Tilman III

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James is an accountant by day and a freelance writer by night. James has been publishing sports content for various outlets for over 13 years. The list includes FanSided, Latest Basketball News, Odds USA, Last Word on Sports and Onlinebetting.com (OBCOM). James is always researching team/player trends to ensure he is providing the best possible advice to his betting audience. Simply put, he takes his writing very seriously. An NBA handicapper who keeps tabs on most sports leagues, his preferences when it comes to betting content relate to the NBA and NFL. Alongside his work for OnlineBetting.com, James has also published sports betting content with other betting sites such as ODDS USA and Eat Watch Bet. Although sports betting is never an exact science, James always does his best to keep it simple when it comes to offering predictions on games, which in turn inspires confidence from beginners.

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