Tag Archives: basketball

12 Things You Need to Know Before Betting The 2022 NBA Finals

The matchups are yet to be decided, but here are 12 facts you should know before placing your NBA Finals bets. Some of these little-known facts and figures can be the keys to placing winning bets. But keep in mind, betting lines are subject to change. Online sportsbooks such as BetUS.com update their NBA odds regularly.

1. The winner of Game 1 has claimed the title in 14 of the last 20 NBA Finals.

2. The home team has won Game One in 15 of the last 16 NBA Finals, excluding the 2020 championship, which was played on a neutral court. That trend could continue, so keep an eye on the NBA lines once the Finals are decided.

3. The team with home-court advantage has also won the championship in 14 of the last 20 NBA Finals. Golden State will have home-court advantage no matter its opponent. Dallas would have homecourt advantage over Boston but not Miami.

4. Since the NBA Finals MVP was first awarded in 1969, only two players — Joe White (1976) and Chauncey Billups (2004) — are among eligible players on the outside looking in at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The other 51 are either enshrined, still active or waiting to become eligible. That means the MVP will be: Steph Curry (+225), Jayson Tatum (+250), Jimmy Butler (+550) or Luka Doncic (+650).

5. The East has not had consecutive titles from different teams since Detroit and Chicago won back-to-back championships in 1990 and 1991. The winner of Miami and Boston will try to end that streak after Milwaukee won last year.

6. The last time a team outside the top two seeds represented the West was the 2012 Mavericks, who won the title vs. Miami as a No. 3 seed. The last time a No. 4 seed did the same? The 2008 Mavericks, who lost the championship series to Miami. Could we see a rubber match?

7. The 2008 Celtics were the last No. 1 seed from the East to win a title without LeBron James on their roster. Miami has a chance to change that.

8. The last three head coaches to win NBA titles — Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Mike Budeholzer — were all first-timers. Golden State’s Steve Kerr has three titles, and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra has two, while Dallas’s Jason Kidd and Boston’s Ime Udoka are in search of their first rings as head coaches.

9. The average NBA Finals score has leveled out since skyrocketing to 236 points per game in 2017. Averages were about 217 PPG in both 2018 and 2019 before dipping to 214.5 in 2020 and sneaking back up to 221 in 2021. Keep an eye on the totals (or over/unders), as anything outside that range may give you a leg up.

10. Dallas finished 6-2 in the regular season vs. the three other remaining teams. Golden State went 4-4, Boston 3-4 and Miami 2-5.

11. How long will the series last? History says six games is the most likely result. Since the 1976 merger, six series have been 4-0 sweeps, 10 have ended in Game 5 and eight have finished in a do-or-die Game 7. The other 22 went six games.

12. Titles have been relatively even between the two conferences. The West holds a 26-24 advantage over the last 50 championship series, and the last 10 are split evenly at 5-5.

Smart bettors read between the lines, and keeping these twelve little-known stats, facts and figures in mind when laying your NBA Finals bets this year should improve your odds of making a profit as we send this year’s NBA season off to the history books.

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FSM Scouting Report: Wish It Lasted Forever

Book/Movie Title: Wish It Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics

Total Pages/Duration: 226 (hardcover version)

Author/Director: Dan Shaughnessy

Pace of Play: Just like the 80’s Celtics, this book is fast paced in spurts with most of the action bunched in the middle. Motivated readers (i.e., Boston folks) will finish this in one sitting while most will take 2-3 days.

Strengths: The driving force of this book is the collection of Red Auerbach stories that are peppered in from start to finish. It makes the reader feel like Red is always there and that he could appear at any moment (not too different than his actual behavior).

Weaknesses: The author spends a little too much time talking about himself, his road to working the Celtics Beat, and the good old days of sports journalism (we think the first 40 pages of a 226-page book is too much time). While the book title indicates all stories would flow through Larry Legend, he does not pop up too often. It’s kind of like of all those Netflix movies with Bruce Willis on the movie poster. When you actually watch them, he shows up for about 12 minutes (and they are terrible). It would have been more appropriate to include Red Auerbach in the title of this book. There certainly seem to be more stories about him than Larry Bird.

Photograph by Stan Grossfeld, Boston Globe

Unique Attributes: What this book lacks in new Larry Bird stories it makes up for in tales involving other team members. Bill Walton stories and his relationship to the Grateful Dead were particularly interesting as was learning which 1980’s in-flight movie was playing during various road trips. And perhaps the guiltiest pleasures came when reading about Bill Fitch’s slow demise as head coach. Random factoids are also presented and will keep you engaged. Did you know tanking was an issue way back in 1983? It was and it led to the creation of the lottery which delivered Michael “Air” Jordan to the Chicago Bulls and Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon to the Houston Rockets.   

Scout’s Recommendations: In a recent episode of Family Guy, the lovable Homer Simpson rip-off Peter Griffin had to come to terms with the 80’s being dead. His jokes and gags no longer got laughs and no one understood his dated references. His family begged him to let the 80’s go which he did with some help from John Hughes. Had Dan Shaughnessy seen this episode prior to writing Wish It Lasted Forever, he may not have written it. While very interesting at times, this book seemed like an unnecessary trip down memory lane. Perhaps its creation was brought on by the confines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Or maybe it started as a memoir of sorts, meant to be passed around to old colleagues and basketball insiders. Whatever the reason, reading this book is just another reminder that the 80’s ARE dead. We recommend you skip this one unless you’re a Boston Celtics fan.     

FSM First Look: Jail Blazers

Kerry Eggers, who covered the Trail Blazers, goes back twenty years for the stories from the players, coaches, management, and those in Portland—during an era when the local NBA stars were in the headlines for both their play and their off-court behavior.

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, the Portland Trail Blazers were one of the hottest teams in the NBA. For almost a decade, they won 60 percent of their games while making it to the Western Conference Finals twice. However, what happened off-court was just as unforgettable as what they did on the court.

When someone asked Blazers general manager Bob Whitsitt about his team’s chemistry, he replied that he’d “never studied chemistry in college.” And with that, the “Jail Blazers” were born. Built in a similar fashion to a fantasy team, the team had skills, but their issues ended up being their undoing. In fact, many consider it the darkest period in franchise history.

While fans across the country were watching the skills of Damon Stoudamire, Rasheed Wallace, and Zach Randolph, those in Portland couldn’t have been more disappointed in the players’ off-court actions. This, many have mentioned, included a very racial element—which carried over to the players as well. As forward Rasheed Wallace said, “We’re not really going to worry about what the hell [the fans] think about us. They really don’t matter to us. They can boo us every day, but they’re still going to ask for our autographs if they see us on the street. That’s why they’re fans and we’re NBA players.”

While people think of the Detroit Pistons of the eighties as the elite “Bad Boys,” the “Jail Blazers” were actually bad. Author Kerry Eggers, who covered the Trail Blazers during this controversial era, goes back to share the stories from the players, coaches, management, and those in Portland when the players were in the headlines as much for their play as for their legal issues.

FSM First Look: Unguarded by Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen has been called one of the greatest NBA players for good reason.

Simply put, without Pippen, there are no championship banners—let alone six—hanging from the United Center rafters. There’s no Last Dance documentary. There’s no “Michael Jordan” as we know him. The 1990s Chicago Bulls teams would not exist as we know them.

So how did the youngest of twelve go from growing up poor in the small town of Hamburg, Arkansas, enduring two family tragedies along the way, to become a revered NBA legend? How did the scrawny teen, overlooked by every major collegiate basketball program, go on to become the fifth overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft? And, perhaps most compelling, how did Pippen set aside his ego (and his own limitless professional ceiling) in order for the Bulls to become the most dominant basketball dynasty of the last half century?

In Unguarded, the six-time champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist finally opens up to offer pointed and transparent takes on Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, and Dennis Rodman, among others. Pippen details how he cringed at being labeled Jordan’s sidekick, and discusses how he could have (and should have) received more respect from the Bulls’ management and the media.

Pippen reveals never-before-told stories about some of the most famous games in league history, including the 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks when he took himself out with 1.8 seconds to go. He discusses what it was like dealing with Jordan on a day-to-day basis, while serving as the facilitator for the offense and the anchor for the defense.

On the 30th anniversary of the Bulls’ first championship, Pippen is finally giving millions of adoring basketball fans what they crave; a raw, unvarnished look into his life, and role within one of the greatest, most popular teams of all time.

FSM Books: Pistol Pete

Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich takes the reader on a surprising journey through light and dark while telling the tale of a basketball legend that will not be soon forgotten. Perhaps the quote that appears on the soft cover version of this intriguing biography written by Mark Kriegel summarizes this literary effort best by stating that, “His game was lordly, inimitable, and he should have been the greatest player to ever play the game. This great book will explain why he was not…”

I was excited to read this book for a few reasons. Primarily I wanted to learn a little more about the legendary Pistol Pete as he terrorized opponents in the NBA before my time as a fan (and as a human being). Secondarily, the book’s first couple of pages are lined with nearly 50 quotes from people in the media who are singing its praises. I figured so many experts couldn’t be wrong and delved in to 323 pages of basketball history with high expectations.

Pistol reads more like a chronicle than a biography. Many names and dates are hurled at the reader often times disrupting the flow of the narrative. Kriegel succeeds in providing a highly detailed account of Pete Maravich’s life but it comes at a cost. This is not the typical page turning sports biography which may be unappealing to a less seasoned reader.  It is more of a textbook about the Maravich family beginning with a lengthy background about Pistol’s notorious father Press Maravich and ending with a melancholy update on what the Pistol’s two sons have been up to in the last few years.

It would be impossible to tell the story of Pistol Pete without mention of his hard driving father and the turmoil he was experiencing in his family life. Kriegel documents a number of incidents and relays many tales when only a few would have sufficed. The thesis of Pistol is perfectly clear and its themes reoccur on nearly every page. Before the reader makes it half way through this book, they will have a good understanding of all the demons the Pistol was dealing with. After a while, the stories of demons become overkill. Pistol takes on a dark tone, and maybe rightfully so, but it would have been nice to read more about Maravich’s exploits as a professional basketball player and the magic he created on the hardwood.

Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich has great historical value for fans of the college and professional game. It answers a multitude of questions including why a guy as talented and skilled as Pete Maravich never won a title or why he will never be considered in the same breath as Michael Jordan or Wilt Chamberlain. But people looking for a quick read or page-turner should try finding their fix elsewhere. Pistol is recommended for avid fans of basketball and sports historians only. The fringe would be better suited to remember Pete Maravich by watching YouTube highlights or the occasional feature on ESPN Classic.