James Harden has made it clear he is confident the arrival of Dwight Howard this offseason has made the Houston Rockets title contenders ahead of the new campaign.
The signing of the seven-time All-Star prompted some discussion in the betfair forums, ending Howard’s dismal spell with the LA Lakers, and giving the 27-year old the chance to rediscover his best form with a team that really wants him.
After a season in which Harden established himself as a star, racking up an average of 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 38.3 minutes per game, there had been some worry as to the impact adding another superstar to the roster would have on Harden.
But the 23-year old has insisted he is excited about the prospect of playing alongside Howard this season, admitting he feels the signing has given the Rockets a real chance of winning the championship this year.
“We did some good things last year, and I think adding Dwight really makes us contenders for a title. I know it will take a lot of hard work, but we have a lot to work with,” admitted the 2013 All Star.
Now while there is the possibility that Howard may take away some of Harden’s touches, that could help the youngster’s efficiency. Harden was extremely productive last season, but he only shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from three.
A lot of that inefficiency was because Harden was often left to do all the donkey work in the lead up to making a shot, but Howard’s presence should lessen Harden’s workload.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers decided to select Canadian player, Anthony Bennett, as the No 1 pick of the 2013 NBA draft.
The 6ft 8in forward averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds for the University of Nevada last season, catching the eye of every franchise in the NBA before being chosen by the Cavaliers ahead of the hotly-tipped Nerlens Noel and Alex Len.
The Cavs finished with a 24-58 record at the end of a dismal campaign last season to earn the first pick. The team surprised fans who bet on NHL with their decision to throw the eggs in Bennett’s basket.
“I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett. “I heard everything was up for grabs. But I’m just real happy, glad that I have this opportunity, and I just got to thank God for everything.”
“It’s just crazy. Made history. It’s just like a long-time dream that I had since I first started playing basketball.”
Elsewhere in the draft, Orlando Magic opted for Indiana guard, Victor Oladipo, with the second overall pick while the Washington Wizards chose forward, Otto Porter, from Georgetown University with their third overall pick.
The Charlotte Bobcats selected giant Indiana centre, Cody Zeller, who stands 7ft and weighs 240lbs, with the No 4 pick in the draft.
The Phoenix Suns eventually picked up the Ukrainian, Len, after the 7ft 1in centre averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds last season at Maryland to alert a number of NBA teams to his ability and convince the Suns to take him to Arizona.
The New Orleans Pelicans claimed Nerlens Noel, a favourite with NBA betting pundits prior to the draft, with the sixth pick, with the Sacramento Kings going for Kansas shooting guard, Ben McLemore.
The Detroit Pistons picked Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Michigan point guard, Trey Burke. The 10th pick saw the Portland Trail Blazers snap up 6ft 4in guard, CJ McCollum, from Lehigh to round off the top-10 of a fascinating draft.
Basketball is not only a hugely popular American sport, but one that’s loved the world over. Indeed, in the last ten years the proliferation of the game has been striking, with numerous countries now embracing the game with two hoops and a ball.
Such a surge in popularity means that betting opportunities are available at almost every online sports book and casino like Unibet across the world. From a game’s top scorer to the result of a match, basketball betting is now big business for both punters and bookies.
With so many options available to you as a punter there are a number of ways for you to make a healthy profit from basketball betting. One of the best ways to improve your overall ability is to take on the role of the bookie. Indeed, in order to beat the enemy you must become the enemy and learn how they think, act and operate.
Predicting your own odds before each game is a great way to improve your basketball betting prowess. Choose a selection of teams, do your own research and then set fictional odds for each game before it starts. Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to compare them with the actual odds offered by the major sportsbooks and ascertain whether or not your knowledge is on point. Indeed, by having the ability to correctly predict the market you’ll be more proactive when it comes to spotting value bets as they occur.
Another tip for basketball betting success is to take advantage of in-game betting. Because a game of basketball is divided into four quarters there are a number of opportunities to place bets during the game. In-game betting is great because you’ll often find more value then pre-game betting simply because the bookmakers are calculating odds quickly. This leaves them vulnerable to mistakes and if you’re able to capitalise on them before they are corrected you can find yourself making a lot of money very quickly.
Becoming a basketball betting balla requires a combination of knowledge, skill and timing. If you can learn all there is to know about the game and seize opportunities as they arise then you’ll find the game offers a wealth of opportunities to make money.