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Irish Coffee: Betting on the Celtics

Posted By Ben Rohrbach On December 14, 2010 @ 2:16 pm In General | 1 Comment

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Do the sportsbook oddsmakers know something that the people who cover the NBA don’t? I know, I know, you’d be shocked to find out that sportswriters aren’t always right. And it’s not like they have millions of dollars riding on their prognostications, as the bookies do.

In most publications’ NBA Power Rankings — including, likely, when WEEI’s come out on Thursday – the Celtics, Spurs and Mavericks are ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3, in some order. Yet, in most online sportsbooks, the Heat and Lakers are still heavy favorites to win the NBA title. Take a look:

THE SPORTSWRITERS

NBA.com …………………………………. ESPN.com ………………………………….. CBSSports.com
1. Celtics ………………………………… 1. Mavericks …………………………………….. 1. Mavericks
2. Spurs …………………………………….. 2. Celtics ………………………………………….. 2. Spurs
3. Mavericks ……………………………….. 3. Spurs …………………………………………… 3. Celtics
4. Lakers …………………………………….. 4. Bulls …………………………………………….. 4. Heat
5. Heat ……………………………………….. 5. Heat ……………………………………………. 5. Magic
6. Thunder ………………………………… 6. Lakers …………………………………………….. 6. Jazz
7. Jazz ………………………………………… 7. Jazz ……………………………………………. 7. Hawks
8. Magic ……………………………………… 8. Magic …………………………………………. 8. Nuggets
9. Knicks ……………………………………. 9. Thunder ………………………………………… 9. Lakers
10. Hawks ………………………………….. 10. Knicks ………………………………………. 10. Hornets

THE BOOKMAKERS

BetUS.com ……………………………… Sportsbook.com ………………………………. Bodog.com
1. Lakers (+210) …………………………… 1. Heat (+180) ………………………………. 1. Lakers (+210)
2. Heat (+220) ……………………………. 2. Lakers (+200) ………………………………… 2. Heat (+220)
3. Celtics (+500) …………………………. 3. Celtics (+220) ………………………………. 3. Celtics (+500)
4. Magic (+1,000) …………………………. 4. Spurs (+800) ……………………………… 4. Magic (+1,000)
5. Spurs (+1,100) ………………………… 5. Magic (+1,200) ……………………………. 5. Spurs (+1,100)
6. Mavericks (+1,200) ……………………. 6. Bulls (+1,500) ………………………… 6. Mavericks (+1,500)
7. Bulls (+2,000) ………………………. 7. Mavericks (+2,000) ………………………. 7. Thunder (+2,000)
7. Thunder (+2,000) ……………………. 7. Knicks (+2,000) ……………………………… 8. Bulls (+2,200)
9. Jazz (+2,500) ………………………… 9. Thunder (+3,000) …………………………….. 9. Jazz (+2,500)
10. Hornets/Nuggets (+4,000) …………. 9. Jazz (+3,000) ………………………….. 10. Hornets (+3,500)

There are two possible conclusions to draw from this: either 1) the bookmakers are right to anoint the Lakers and Heat as the NBA title favorites; or 2) there’s a lot of money to be made (you know, if online sports gambling were legal).

It’s hard to argue conclusion No. 1. Sure, as the two-time defending champions, the Lakers have to be considered one of the top-three favorites to win again. But the Heat? Yes, they’ve won nine straight games. But the Celtics are the defending Eastern Conference champions, own a better record and have beaten Miami convincingly in both their head-to-head matchups.

The Spurs (20-3), Celtics (19-4) and Mavericks (19-5) have the best three records in the NBA through the first quarter of the season, and yet you can still get them at plus-1,100, plus-500, and plus 2,000, respectively. At this point, throwing $100 down on each of those teams isn’t a bad bet.

According to the bookies, Paul Pierce is one of the top 16 NBA MVP candidates. (AP)

I came across two other interesting NBA Futures. According to Sportsbook.com [1], Kevin Durant is still the heavy MVP favorite at plus-130. Kobe Bryant (+400) is next, followed by Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and — for some reason — Monta Ellis (all at +600). The Celtics have two guys — Rajon Rondo (+1,000) and Paul Pierce (+2,000) among the top 16 MVP favorites. The best value for my buck? Paul or Deron Williams (+800).

Also, the Celtics’ next opponent (the Knicks) are the best team in the league against the spread so far this season at 17-7-1, and they’ve covered in four of their last five meetings against the Celtics, who are 13-9-1 against the spread this year (7th in the NBA). Food for thought.

NO SHANK JOB HERE

Among Boston sports media members, Dan Shaugnessy is pretty much Public Enemy No. 1 among Boston fans. They don’t call him “Shank” for nothing. If that’s the case, what do Celtics fans think about him jumping — nay, leaping! — on the bandwagon in a recent Sports Illustraded piece [2]?

I like the Boston Celtics.

Call me a homer, if you must, but the Celtics are scalding and probably have their best basketball in front of them as they take a 10-game winning streak into Madison Square Garden against the revived Knicks on Wednesday night.

None of us thought this was coming when the Celtics roared into the NBA Finals in June. The old C’s looked like they were on their last legs. We figured Doc Rivers was going to retire and that Ray Allen might be traded. Paul Pierce had the option to become a free agent, and starting center Kendrick Perkins demolished his knee in Game 6 at the Staples Center. It was the last roundup for the Old Guard, and the Celts came up short in Game 7.

But they all came back. Rivers shocked the NBA by announcing that he would return. Then Pierce, after opting out, signed a four-year contract. General manager Danny Ainge held on to Allen (with a new two-year deal), then went out and picked up an old center by the name of Shaquille O’Neal. And it has worked out beautifully.

Perkins is expected to return around the All-Star break. In the meantime, Rivers is rolling out a starting lineup of four Hall of Famers — Shaq, Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett — plus one of the best point guards in basketball, Rajon Rondo.

It has been a magical combination.

FUTURE CELTIC AUSTIN RIVERS?

In a bizarre story [3] making wild assumptions, RealGM.com predicted that Doc’s son Austin Rivers will threaten to sit out his first two years of NBA draft eligibility in order to land on the Celtics. You see, under the current collective bargaining agreement, a player can be drafted one season, sit out, be drafted the next season, sit out, and then sign with whomever he pleases.

The writer then proceeds to use the logic that because Austin is Doc’s son, 1) he doesn’t have to play right away because his dad is rich, and 2) he will only want to play for the Celtics:

If a player is drafted and does not sign and does not play professional basketball for anyone, he re-enters the draft the following season. If he gets drafted again and does not sign for another year, then, two years after he was first drafted, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Anyone can sign him, for whatever they can afford given their cap situation.   Would Austin have to give up two years of his career to play for the Celtics? Almost certainly not. Whatever year he entered the draft, he would simply send a letter to all teams other than the Celtics advising them that if he is drafted by them he will not sign, and he will not play basketball professionally for anyone anywhere, and he has a contract to that enforce that if any of those teams do draft him. So there is no point in drafting him.

That also would probably be enough to get teams high in the draft negotiating to see what the Cs would give them for their draft pick. And no team picking very high in the draft would torch a No. 1 pick by selecting Austin just to spite the Celtics. The NBA would certainly not want to have a major talent collecting rust when he could be starring for the league. It is highly likely Austin Rivers misses no time and plays for the Cs immediately after ending his college career.

Wait a second, “It’s highly likely Austin Rivers misses no time and plays for the C’s immediately”? I’m not sure you can assume 1) Doc will still be coaching, 2) Austin won’t play for anyone but Doc and 3) Austin will want to alienate the rest of the NBA and its fans outside of Boston. Doc’s smart enough to realize that would be the case, and — as a result — I’m guessing Austin is, too.

As long as we’re talking potential Celtics draft picks down the line, how about BYU senior Jimmer Fredette? We’ve discussed it here previously [4]. Ainge and the Fredettes reportedly have a relationship, and the Celtics’ GM attended [5] Fredette’s game against Vermont last week.

In most 2011 mock drafts, Fredette is a late second-round pick [6], although he’s listed as high as No. 24 overall on at least one draft board [7]. It’s worth monitoring his senior season. As of right now, his only scheduled nationally televised game is against No. 10 San Diego State on Feb. 26.

LAYUP DRILL

Our latest Perkins update comes from Jessica Camerato, who caught up with [8] him on his road to recovery — scheduled at this point for February. Here’s what he’s been working on lately:

“Believe it or not, just more of my jumper, just touch around the 12, 15-foot area,” he said. “If I have a shot, take it, stuff like that. And improving my free-throw shooting (60.4% FT career), that’s been my thing. So I’m trying to drop a few more pounds. I want to lose about 10 more to get down to 260.” …

The Sports Business Journal released its list of the 50 most powerful people in sports [9], and just four NBA-related guys made the list: 3) Commissioner David Stern, 27) Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, 30) Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter and 37) Wizards/Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. Shockingly, Brian Scalabrine did not make the list. …

Twitter unveiled its top trends of 2010 [10], and the Celtics ranked fifth among all sports topics. For obvious reasons, LeBron ranked No. 1. NBA players Tony Parker (7th) and Blake Griffin (9th) also ranked in the top 10, but no other NBA team made the list.

Considering the NFL, MLB and NHL combined for two slots on that list, those numbers mean good things for the Celtics and the NBA. After all, Twitter has about 190 million users, and that’s a whole lot of prospective customers.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach [11] on Twitter.)


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URL to article: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2010/12/14/irish-coffee-betting-on-the-celtics/

URLs in this post:

[1] According to Sportsbook.com: http://www.sportsbook.com/livesports/indexmember.php?sportsname=basketball

[2] in a recent Sports Illustraded piece: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/dan_shaughnessy/12/13/celtics/

[3] a bizarre story: http://www.realgm.com/src_feature/1708/20101214/the_next_celtics_superstar_austin_rivers/

[4] previously: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2010/11/02/irish-coffee-celtics-lack-killer-instinct/

[5] attended: http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2010/12/09/sports/doc4d00574b2dbc7877844595.txt?viewmode=2

[6] late second-round pick: http://www.thehoopsreport.com/draft.aspx

[7] one draft board: http://www.nbadraft.net/2011mock_draft

[8] caught up with: http://www.necn.com/12/14/10/Perkins-improves-his-game-while-on-the-s/landing_sports.html?blockID=372667&feedID=3352

[9] 50 most powerful people in sports: http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/67548

[10] top trends of 2010: http://yearinreview.twitter.com/trends/

[11] @brohrbach: http://twitter.com/brohrbach

[12] > Irish Coffee: Betting on the Celtics" data-url="http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2010/12/14/irish-coffee-betting-on-the-celtics/">Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[13]  : #disqus_thread

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