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These 5 NBA Contenders Are Struggling To Keep Pace With Their Preseason Win O/Us

There's a lot of basketball left in the season, but these 2020 playoffs teams are off to a rocky start 🤕 (5 minute read)

Welcome new readers! If the parlay below hits, the first person to email [email protected] gets $100 🤑

Collapsing Contenders?

The NBA season is very long - there’s enough time for multiple hot and cold streaks. However, these five contenders have each started off the 2021-22 NBA season in jeopardy of hitting their preseason over/unders

  • Bucks: 4-4, preseason O/U: 54.5 wins

  • Suns: 3-3, preseason O/U: 51.5 wins

  • Celtics: 2-5, preseason O/U: 45.5 wins

  • Clippers: 2-4, preseason O/U: 45.5 wins

  • Blazers: 3-4, preseason O/U: 44.5 wins

All of these teams were favored to finish near the top of their respective conference, and all of these teams reached the playoffs, two played in the Finals, and none of them finished with a record below .500. With that said, it’s too soon to overreact. Let’s dive in 👇

Sound the Alarm

The Clippers’ offense has stalled whenever new additions Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow step on the floor, giving Paul George (28.3 PPG) an impossible load to carry all by himself

  • Head Coach Ty Lue will need to figure out how to turn Bledsoe in particular into a positive contributor on offense or phase him out of the rotation entirely

Then there are the Celtics, who have looked deeply out of sorts, culminating in a 14-point loss to the Bulls on Monday night after leading by 19. Marcus Smart even called out his co-stars for not sharing the ball down the stretch

  • Combined with shaky play from their main front-court contributors, Grant Williams and Al Horford, the Celtics are a ways away from being the Eastern Conference powerhouse they were promised to be

The Blazers are confusing, and Damian Lillard has doubled down on his commitment to Portland. His offseason request for an improved roster isn’t looking like a fair complaint right now considering his early struggles 💀

  • Career-low points per game (18.6)

  • Career-low field goal percentage (35%)

  • Career-low minutes per game (33)

Dame will find his stroke, but Portland has to pray its roster will be good enough to contend once his play improves

Keep Calm, and Carry On

Coming off of the shortest offseason of any team (especially considering the number of stars who played in the Olympics), the Bucks have struggled to replicate their awesome play from the previous postseason

However, Milwaukee has suffered as much as any other team this season from injury-related absences. Giannis has played in every game, but a number of his teammates have been unable to suit up

  • Khris Middleton: 1 missed game

  • Jrue Holiday: 5 missed games

  • Brook Lopez: 6 missed games

  • Donte DiVincenzo: still not back from injury

Expect the Bucks to even things out as their health improves and hit their projected 54 win mark

Trivia Question: Who is the Bucks’ all-time leading scorer? (answer below)

All Burnt Out?

The Suns came into the season with the black cloud of Deandre Ayton’s contract extension negotiations looming large, and eventually failed to agree on a deal

However, Phoenix’s struggles have far more to do with their star guard-play, as Ayton’s production has remained stable compared to last season

  • Chris Paul is averaging a career-low 12.8 PPG

  • Devin Booker is currently posting a career-low field goal percentage (41%)

Booker has actually looked a bit better after an opening night stinker, and Paul still leads the NBA in assists per game right now. They’ll find their groove before the postseason starts, even if they lack the same regular-season spunk they had last year

For My Parlay Gurus

In today’s parlay, we’re going to ride and fade some of the teams above. The Celtics take on a young Magic team, while the Clippers head to Minnesota to face a T-Wolves team that looks like they’re figuring things out

Here’s how I’m combining these spreads for a juicy parlay 🤑

  • Celtics -6.5 @ the Magic: -110

  • Blazers -3 @ the Cavs: -110

  • T-Wolves -1 vs. the Clippers: -110

$100 on this bet would payout $596, you’re welcome in advance. If it hits, make sure to email [email protected] for $100. First come, first serve 😉

Previous Parlay:

  • Chiefs -10 vs the Giants: MISS

  • Chiefs moneyline: HIT

  • Mahomes over 301.5 passing yards: MISS

  • Kelce over 6.5 receptions: MISS

Trivia Answer: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 14,211 points