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NBA Futures Wagers

   by ASA - 04/15/2016

Efficiency ratings and rankings have become the standard measurement of teams and players and if you are not familiar with those numbers, and you’re a sports bettor, you might want to do a little research and get to know what they mean. Very simply put Offensive Efficiency (OEFF = points scored per 100 possessions) and Defensive Efficiency (DEFF = points allowed per 100 possessions) are great ways to evaluate teams and players and how good they truly are. The league average for OEFF this season was 106 while the defensive number was 106.8 It's no surprise the Golden State Warriors were the most efficient offensive team in the NBA at 114.5 points per 100 possessions while the San Antonio Spurs held the best defensive efficiency rating in the league of 99. These numbers can be useful in predicting an NBA Champion if past history tells us anything which we’ll explain below.

Going back to the 2008-09 season the Finals featured the LA Lakers and the Orlando Magic which the Lakers won 4 games to 1. The Lakers finished the regular season ranked 3rd in OEFF and 6th in DEFF. Below are the Finals Champions and their overall efficiency rankings for the past seven Championships.


2008-09 LA Lakers (OEFF 3rd, DEFF 6th)

2009-10 LA Lakers (OEFF 11th, DEFF 4th)

2010-11 Dallas Mavericks (OEFF 8th, DEFF 7th)

2011-12 Miami Heat (OEFF 8th, DEFF 4th)

2012-13 Miami Heat (OEFF 1st, DEFF 9th)

2013-14 San Antonio Spurs (OEFF 7th, DEFF 3rd)

2014-15 Golden State Warriors (OEFF 2nd, DEFF 1st)

So you can see for yourself the only team that won a Championship in the last seven years that had an OEFF or DEFF not in the top 10 of the NBA for that season was the 09-10 Lakers (11th in offensive efficiency). So using this model to predict this year’s Champion we can eliminate everyone but the following seven teams: Golden State, San Antonio, LA Clippers, Charlotte, Cleveland, Boston and Toronto. Now the tough part is figuring out just which one of these ‘efficient’ teams will win it all this year.

2015-16 Regular Season Efficiency Rankings for the Math Model "Contenders"

Golden State Warriors: OEFF 1st, DEFF 5th

San Antonio Spurs: OEFF 4th, DEFF 1st

LA Clippers: OEFF 7th, DEFF 6th

Charlotte Hornets: OEFF 9th, DEFF 8th

Cleveland Cavaliers: OEFF 3rd, DEFF 10th

Boston Celtics: OEFF 10th, DEFF 4th

Toronto Raptors: OEFF 5th, DEFF 11th

The one 'big' contender that is missing from the above list is the Oklahoma City Thunder who have the 2nd most efficient offense in the NBA (OEFF) but rank outside the top 11 in defensive efficiency (DEFF) at the 13th position. But the Thunder are a team that can certainly win it all in 15-16 as they have the 3rd best overall efficiency differential (OEFF minus DEFF) at +7.5, just behind the Spurs and Warriors. OKC also has the 3rd best overall point differential in the league at +7.3PPG. The Thunder were 2-2 against the Spurs this year and could potentially win that series but they were 0-3 against the Warriors who they simply don't match up with (1-6 L7 meetings) so it's unlikely they will come out of the West. But with Triple-Double machine Russell Westbrook and scoring wiz Kevin Durant it's not impossible.

NBA Champions: Spurs

The eventual Champion comes from the West and will be either the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs. Golden State is incredible and set the record for the most wins in the regular season at 73 but they offer no value what-so-ever with a future wager as they are -$200 at most Sports Books to win it all. San Antonio offers a better return on your investment at +$300 and statistically is just as good or even better than Golden State. San Antonio is deep, has veteran leadership, size, toughness, rebounding and the best coach in the NBA. Their efficiency differential was +11.3 which was better than Golden State's +10.7 and remember that is with Coach "Popp" resting players on a nightly basis all season long. The Spurs scoring or point differential was +10.6PPG which was slightly less than Golden State's point differential of +10.8PPG but you don't know that as the Warriors offense gets all the media hype. As they say, defense wins Championships and the Spurs have the best in the league by far. Small future bet on San Antonio.

Opening Round Series winners:

The Boston Celtics have better efficiency numbers than the Hawks but when it comes to the efficiency differentials the Hawks are better and they have the better defense. Atlanta (-$145) is a veteran team while the Celtics are young and a few years away yet. The Hawks won 3 of four in this series and should move on after the first round. LA Clippers @ -$275: The Clippers are quietly going about their business in the West while the Warriors and Spurs get all the attention but with the 7th best OEFF and 6th best DEFF they can certainly contend in the West. LA got it done for most of the season without Blake Griffin and don't forget they still have one of the best point guards in the league in Chris Paul. The veteran Clippers have a decided advantage over the young Blazers who had to replace 4 starters from last year's unit. The Clippers won 3 of four during the regular season against Portland and should advance here.

The media attention surrounding the Warriors and their chase for the regular season win record, the Spurs and their home dominance and then Kobe’s farewell tour and finale have all eyes on the NBA right now.We expect some great games and series and can’t wait for the fun to begin. Best of luck with all your wagers.

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