Table of Contents

    By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast

    Forecasting the Odds

    As true hoops fans see football season beginning, the one thought that hits is “We’re close to camp.” While the vast majority of football-hungry fans are pigging out at the dining table, the salivation is here for winter sports fans who know that September means camps, rumors, and first looks. As we’re now very quietly a month away from the tip-off to the 2023-2024 NBA Season, it’s time to lay some futures down and get in those early (and possibly lucrative) forecasts for the year ahead.

    In a year where free agency produced its usual chaos of carouseling and Victor Wembanyama brought unprecedented hype to the entire season, there’s no shortage of storylines heading into the upcoming training camp season. Let’s get to the biggest awards and achievements that lie ahead this NBA season, and find some opportunities for future plays to become lottery tickets:

    Joker Three-Peat at MVP?

    Despite not capturing the MVP Three-Peat this past season, I’m not sure favorite  Nikola Jokic (+450) is sweating the defeat to Joel Embiid (+550) too much. He got the very last laughs of last season by hoisting the NBA Championship trophy after cake-walking the Denver Nuggets through the playoffs in dominant fashion. Now he sits favored again alongside Giannis Antetekounmpo at the same odds, while Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum sit as tier two possibilities – if they take their teams to the next level. Even with dark horse names like Steph Curry and KD lurking, it feels like it’s going to be hard for The Joker to get that elusive third MVP, which puts him in rare company.

    The Wemby Watch

    On the court, the sports world will be collectively holding its breath as we all collectively begin to witness Victor Wembanayama’s career unfold. In the sportsbooks his performance will go hand in hand with the NBA Rookie of the Year odds and how they fluctuate with time. As it stands now Wemby (-110) is pretty much an even-money pick to win the honor, which shows the amount of respect his highlight tape and limited summer league showcase is garnering already. He’s followed by Chet Holmgren (+300), last year’s no. 2 overall pick who didn’t play a minute and is still considered a rookie, and Scoot Henderson (+375), this year’s no. 3 draft pick overall.

    D Up…All Season Long

    The defensive player of the year category is a toss-up between a bunch of names and led by two names unfamiliar to most casual NBA fans. Last year’s winner Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Grizzlies was a fierce presence for their run to the postseason and always guarded the opponent’s best player to a T, and he and Evan Mobley are sitting around the same +700 odds to win. Mobley is the 2021 lottery pick of the Cavs who is giving off lots of Hakeem Olajuwon/Dikembe Mutombo vibes early in his career. From there, familiar names like Giannis, Bam Adebayo, Joel Embiid, and Anthony Davis are all formidable picks. Three-time champ of this award Rudy Gobert sits as a  +1400 dark horse to take it back one more time.

    The Biggest Trophy

    Now let’s get to the business of the season – who wins it all? As a pessimistic Celtics fan who’s seemingly stuck with more Jaylen Brown after his supermax was locked in, it’s slightly triggering to see the Celtics are not only outright favorites to win the Eastern Conference but are also tied as top pick in the books with the defending champion Denver Nuggets at +500 odds to win it all. There’s never been a futures bet for my hometown team that I’ve wanted LESS than to take this one. On the Western Conference side of the board, the Suns closely follow as a second contender to the Nuggets now that Bradley Beal has joined Devin Booker and KD. The public will love to see both the Lakers and Warriors at similar odds to win the western conference, but the Warriors (+1200) come at a lower payout than the Lakers (+1800) to win the whole damn thing due to that unmistakable championship pedigree.  

    Early NBA Futures Plays to Watch

    I’m leaning away from the Joker for MVP this season, mainly because I think his teammates around him stand a chance to improve more than he did this offseason. Luka Doncic at +1200 could be fun if the Mavs and Kyrie actually get it together.

    If you really do love Wemby, that -110 price will likely only get pricier come game one of the regular season when he does something silly.

    I’m feeling a re-invigorated Giannis for DPOY this year, and the Bucks atop the east standings. 

    As for who hoists in the end – sprinklings of a Nuggets repeat or a Bucks revenge year are in my forecast.

    Mark your calendars for October 24th as the last day to get pre-season picks in!

    NBA FAQs

    How do you win NBA pick'em pool?

    In order to win an NBA Pick'Em pool, players must have the most points at the end of the season. For each correct pick during the regular season, members will receive one point (customizable based on the pool commissioner). Some pools will choose picks based on the spread or straight up.

    What is NBA pick'em pool?

    In an NBA Pick'Em pool, players make weekly picks (either against the point spread or straight-up). The number of picks each week is customizable by the pool commissioner. Optional best-bet and confidence pick settings can be put into place as well. Commissioners can use a hosting site like RunYourPool to keep up with scoring and calculations.

    How to play an NBA basketball pool?

    The way one plays a basketball pool varies on the game type. For example, in Pick'em Pools, you simply pick every game each week.

    How to run a weekly basketball pool?

    In order to run a basketball pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like Survivor or Pick'Em. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.

    How do you win NBA Survivor Pool?

    In NBA Survivor, the last player standing wins. The name of the game is to make it to the next week. A member will select one game from all the games in that given week. If members choose the correct winner, they move on to the next week. If they pick incorrectly, they are eliminated from the contest.

    What is NBA Surivor Pool?

    In an NBA Survivor pool, players choose one NBA team each week that they believe will win. They may only pick a team one time per season. Picks are made "straight up," not using a point spread system. If their pick is correct, they survive until the next week. An incorrect pick eliminates the player from the pool for the remainder of the season.

    What is a basketball pool?

    "Basketball Pool" is a broad term for a group of people competitively guessing the outcome of one or more basketball game. There are many types of formats, each assigning winners differently. They can be played informally between friends or through a more formalized system.

    How to make a basketball pool?

    A basketball pool generally requires the creation of a shareable spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) so that members may pick teams. Then depending on the game type, creators must use several kinds of formulas (e.g. CountIF), data validation, and conditional formatting. Or, you can just use basketball pool hosting services like RunYourPool where we do all the work for you!

    How do you win NBA Playoff Bracket Pool?

    In NBA Playoff Bracket pools, the winning entry is the team with the most points at the end of Playoffs. Members try to pick the winner of each playoff series. For each series, they also pick how many games they think the series will go. Points are awarded for each winning pick, with bonus points for how close they come to the correct series length

    What is an NBA Playoff Bracket Pool?

    In an NBA Playoff Bracket pool, players pick the winner of each NBA Playoff series. Commissioners can choose to have members receive bonus points for guessing the series length. Points increase as the tournament progresses (points per round are configurable by the commissioner). The winning entry is the player with the most points at the end of the playoffs.

    Are there other Playoff Pools?

    Yes! RunYourPool offers plenty of contest types for various playoff events! March Madness squares and bracket pools aer very popular among basketball fanatics, while the Super Bowl Prop Pool is the most popular annual event game.

    How to set up a basketball pool?

    To set up a basketball pool, you'll need to first choose a pool type like Survivor or Pick'em. Then, you'll need to set the ground rules. As pool commissioner, you'll enforce these rules and make sure the game runs smoothly throughout the season. Many commissioners use pool hosting sites like RunYourPool to make it easier and more engaging.


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    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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