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I vividly remember thinking eight months ago how the NBA's lack of parity really screwed me out of playing seriously in this market. When the same six teams from each conference make the postseason on an annual basis along with a couple of lucky, random teams, finding value becomes extremely hard with the favorites' numbers inflated and the long shots actually short.
Thankfully, today is my final day of taking it on the chin for preseason NBA futures. I did not do well. Here's who I had to make or miss the playoffs this summer.
Reasoning: "Golden State might need a horseshoe to win a loaded Western Conference, but this bet to make the playoffs is a no-brainer.
Yup, that'll do it.
Hey, I did something right!
Reasoning: "Atlanta's fast-paced offense and Trae Young's highlight-reel-stuffing rookie year must have tricked some basketball minds into thinking the Hawks are primed for a huge leap. Right now, they're pretty damn fun. But they're also pretty damn bad.
"You wouldn't know it based on the bandwagon, but the Hawks won a mere 29 games last season. Toss in their Pythagorean win total (points scored minus points allowed) and that number drops, making Atlanta an expected 24-win team. Even in a weak East, the Hawks will likely need a .500 record to seal a playoff bid. That just doesn't seem feasible."
I will continue to fade the Hawks until they find some defense. After Atlanta entered the hiatus ranked dead last in the league in points allowed per game, it might take a while. Only the Cavaliers sit lower in the Eastern Conference standings, making this one a breeze.
I really did get too fancy fading the Lakers. Taking a team's win total under somewhere in the neighborhood of 52.5 is a lot more feasible than hoping a squad with a super duo finishes outside the playoffs. To make matters worse, Los Angeles was leading the West with a 49-14 record when the league halted play.
Reasoning: "The Lakers possess arguably the best tandem in the league right now with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the team's depth is worrisome. Though it's tough to account for the randomness of injuries, the Lakers are one Davis injury away from being right back to where they were a season ago.
"If you're looking for more value while fading the Lakers this season, forget the win total under and grab a piece of this action."
Here's to next season, which can't be much worse.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.