The 2018 Boxscore Geeks Portfolio's regular season ends today (there are 3 bets that will be decided during the post season). This year has an unusual amount of activity coming down to the final game, and an even more unusual variance, thanks to the huge Jazz - Blazers game tonight.
The games that are relevant:
Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics, 8:00 ET: This is a 2-for-1 deal: If Brooklyn wins, the portfolio cashes from the Brooklyn bet of over 28.5 wins ($190.91) and the Boston bet of under 54.5 wins ($381.82). Meaning that, in almost any other year, this would be a very expensive game that I'd be freaking out about. But, as we'll see later, I'm only mildly freaking out about this game. It's also incredibly hard to handicap because neither team has much to play for. I'd like to hope that Stevens rests all his good players, but many of his best players are kids that don't need the rest. I'm also hopeful that Brooklyn has a little more incentive to win, by ending the season on a 4-game win streak.
New York Knicks @ Cleveland Caveliers, 8:00 ET: I get my $200 back if the Knicks win. But, LeBron James has decided to play, so that's probably not happening (unless he's only playing 20 minutes or so to put his 82nd game in the record books). I think this is a stupid decision on James' part, but hardcore Knicks fans are probably happy about this because of draft lottery reasons.
Detroit Pistons @ Chicago Bulls, 8:00 ET: If the Pistons win, the portfolio collects on the bet of over 38.5 wins ($191.90). I think they have a fair shot; it's another game that is meaningless from a standings point (neither team can make the playoffs, and a loss is unlikely to benefit either team in the lottery). Detroit is the better team, and I suppose there is some chance that the players will try to win one for the coach in what is likely his final game for the Pistons organization (if not the NBA as a whole).
And then there was the $3100 game.
Utah Jazz @ Portland Trailblazers, 10:30 ET: Holy cow, a lot of stars had to align for this game to come down to being the Northwest Division Championship. On January 22nd, the Jazz lost to the lowly Atlanta Hawks, and were sporting a 19-28 record. I had written off any chance of winning the bet for over 41 games, and would have happily sold my $100, 30-1 bet on the division championship for $10. Hell, you probably could have had it by buying me a happy hour drink.
Calling what came next a comeback would be a severe understatement. Since that day, the Jazz have gone 29-5 with an 11.3 point differential. That is a monstrous number indicating that they aren't just winning, they are clobbering other teams. To put this differential in perspective, Houston's is 8.7, Toronto's is 8.0, Golden State's is 6.0, and of the previous 10 NBA champions, only last year's Warriors had a differential above 10 (12.0). I don't believe it is hyberbole to say that they are currently the best team in the NBA, or at least they should be in the conversation. Of course, that can all go out the window when the playoff starts, as playoff experience is a strong indicator of success (after controlling for production), and the Jazz have almost none, but there's still a reason for Jazz fans to be optimistic about the future.
As for the immediate future....go Jazz!