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NBA Futures: Best Bets for the NBA’s No. 8 Seeds (2020)

by July 4, 2020

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The NBA is back Jul. 30, and the race for the playoffs resumes. The formatting of league play is quite enjoyable, allowing 22 total teams to meet in Orlando for an eight-game schedule to determine playoff seeding. Once the playoffs begin, the standard seven-game format will ensue, and the battle to the NBA Finals for the Eastern and Western Conferences will commence.

DraftKings Sportsbook and plenty of other sites have odds worth snatching now on which teams will be the No. 8 seeds in both conferences as they’re both up for grabs. Betting sites are allowing the ability to parlay the conference eight seed outcomes together, making for a juicy result. There are six teams worth noting in contention for the eighth seed, Brooklyn, Orlando, and Washington in the East, and Memphis, New Orleans, and Portland in the West.

In this article, I’ll cover the only three teams in two parlays worth betting on to become the No. 8 seed in each conference.

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The Best Bet +240

Memphis Grizzlies (-140) and the Brooklyn Nets (+100)

Brooklyn’s Preview
The Brooklyn Nets announced DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie both have COVID-19, and because of that, Jordan has opted to sit out the NBA’s restart. Dinwiddie will suit up while teammate Wilson Chandler has decided he’s a no-go for Orlando despite being healthy. Dinwiddie has averaged career-highs in points per game (20.3), assists (6.8), and rebounds (3.4) this season and will be their primary ball-handler and scoring option with the Nets.

Orlando is half a game back of Brooklyn, but the home-court advantage, as well as the more healthy roster, gives them the upper hand. Brooklyn and Orlando both finished the season on three-game win streaks before the postponement, and neither team should fear the Washington Wizards chances of overcoming a 5.5 game deficit to steal the No. 8 seed. 

Orlando’s Jonathan Issac and Al Farouq-Aminu are questionable for the NBA resumption, and it’s unclear whether or not Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving will play. Orlando finished the paused season winners of six of their last nine games. The Magic were on fire, hitting the over in 12-straight games and scoring an NBA-best 120.8 points per game from Feb. 10 to Mar. 10. 

My bet is on Orlando to finish the regular season as the seven seed and Brooklyn as the eight in the East. 

Memphis’ Preview
The Grizzlies hold a 3.5 game lead over the Pelicans but haven’t had much success versus them outside of scoring. When Memphis and New Orleans met, the offenses produced fireworks combing for 242 and 250 points, respectively.

The Pelicans came away with two victories in their only two meetings of the season, and winning four-straight versus a quality opponent would be quite the feat for New Orleans. The Grizzlies currently sit at 32-33 and have a reasonable -140 odds for a team holding a 3.5 game lead with eight games remaining. 

New Orleans could be a suckers bet, but they’re certainly worth a parlay if you’re looking for a significant cash-out. It would take a significant meltdown in Memphis to let their first postseason appearance since 2016-17 slip away. Rookie Ja Morant has prematurely locked up the Rookie of the Year Award, at -3000 odds right now, but Zion could steal more than the 2K cover from him if the Pelicans sweep the Grizzlies.

Memphis is the safe pick and rightfully so for the eighth seed owning a 3.5-game lead. For an extra bang for your buck, throw the Nets in for +240 parlay, and chances are, you’re cashing out on Aug. 14.

Most books are eliminating the Nets from betting because of their uncertainty of who is playing and who isn’t, but if you’re able to snag them, do it before it’s too late.

Big Money Parlay +700

New Orleans Pelicans (+300) and Brooklyn Nets (+100)

New Orleans’ Preview
The Pelicans require a 6-2 finish and a sweep over Memphis to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, and it’s not the most far-fetched possibility. The Pelicans finished their 19 games with Zion Williams first in points per game (120.1), first in assists per game (30.3), second in rebounds (49.6), and sixth in plus-minus (4.4) since joining the team on Jan. 22.

New Orleans’ remaining schedule will include the Clippers, the Grizzlies (twice), the Jazz, the Kings (twice), the Magic, and the Spurs. They open as two-point favorites versus the Jazz on Thursday, Jul. 30, and five-point underdogs versus the Clippers on Saturday, Aug. 1.

The Jazz reportedly has problems inside their locker room, starting with Rudy Gobert, and one game won’t solve those issues. The Clippers’ plans of how often they rest their key players are unknown while sitting 1.5 games ahead of the three seed.

If the Pelicans can win their first two games, beat Memphis twice, and handle the Kings and Spurs, we could be talking about a comeback for the ages. The Pelicans odds started at +400 and have dropped to +360 and now +300 over the last two weeks. 

New Orleans versus the Los Angeles Lakers is an enticing first-round matchup for tv providers and the league in general after losing a ton of money. Between four and seven games of Zion versus LeBron alone could be sold separately on HBO, and let’s be honest, most of us would rather watch that match up over the Grizzlies and Lakers.

If you’re trying to turn a considerable profit on playoff seeding, this is the way to do it, but it’s odds are lower than it should be to entice the public to bet on Zion and the Pelicans. Throwing the Nets in for a +700 parlay payout would be a lovely money-maker, and if the Pelicans weren’t so hot offensively with Zion in the lineup, I’d consider this a sucker bet. 

There is definitely a possibility of New Orleans stealing the eight seed, and it’s worth throwing a small wager on the line.

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Vaughn Dalzell is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Vaughn, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @VaughnDalzell.