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Roughly three weeks ago, the NBA put the season on hold due to COVID-19. All those win totals, title bets, and futures placed before the year will likely be voided, as we still don't have a timetable for when regular action will resume. However, we want to stay as optimistic as possible.
Let's say the league hypothetically comes back in the near future. Then what? Obviously, we're going to place some bets.
Here, we'll outline some of the teams that would benefit or suffer from the long layoff, potentially opening up some value.
Health is the biggest factor with the layoff, and no team could use a full rotation more than the Raptors: Toronto is No. 1 in the league in lost wins due to injured players at 11.31. Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and Marc Gasol all missed at least 10 games for a team that entered the hiatus with the third-best (!) winning percentage in basketball.
The Celtics owned the fifth-best winning percentage prior to the break and there was certainly room to grow. Boston has one of the biggest discrepancies in actual win-loss (43-21) versus expected win-loss record (46-18), as the franchise has been roughly three wins better than the paper test. Health comes into play for the Celtics, too - their 10.59 lost wins due to injuries rank second in the NBA behind the Raptors.
The Clippers are loaded with both star power and depth, and they're arguably the best team in the league when healthy. Give them a few months to get fully healthy and you could very well make them the odds-on favorite to win the title. The Clippers were 44-20 before the break but were playing like a 46-win team based on Pythagorean win-loss.
The Jazz are a weird team. Last season, they won a respectable 50 games despite playing like a 56-win squad. Utah then added more solid players in the offseason. As it stands, the Jazz are the 4-seed in the West but, naturally, they're a 41-win team playing like a 40-win team.
There are two reasons why I wouldn't buy stock in the Jazz if the season resumed. First, they've been one of the healthiest teams during the regular season, losing only 86 man-games to injury. Second, Utah's home court is normally a huge advantage in the playoffs; after an 82-game regular season, playing a first- or second-round series at that altitude is no joke. However, with the hiatus offering a chance for players' stamina to reset, how tough is it to play a few games a bit above sea level?
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.