The 3 best bets as the NBA season returns from All-Star break

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Now that the NBA’s All-Star game is in the books, the participants have three whole days to join the rest of the league in kicking up their feet for a spot of rest before the daily grind of the regular season returns to action.

The race for the playoffs will really start to heat up as the number of games dwindle down, with four teams chasing the golden-ticket eighth spot in the Eastern conference and two sides hunting down the incumbent Phoenix Suns in the last postseason berth in the West.

It’s not all about the playoffs in the second half of the season though, as the below three bets we’ve highlighted for the remainder of the campaign prove:

Atlanta Hawks to have the best regular season record @ 10/11

The Hawks currently trail the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors by two games in the battle to own the league’s best record this season, but have three less games remaining on their schedule than the Bay Area club.

Having already beaten the Warriors earlier in the season and with a better record than their rivals against winning teams, there’s no reason to look anywhere else than the favourite in this market.

James Harden to win MVP award @ 3/1

The Warriors’ sharp-shooting point-guard, Steph Curry, is the market leader to claim the ultimate individual NBA award this season, but doesn’t actually make as compelling a case as the Houston Rockets’ Harden.

The MVP should go to the man that has performed best that season, which Harden clearly has. The shooting-guard not only leads the league in points-per-game, but also sits in the top 10 for minutes played, field-goals made, three-pointers made, free-throws made and steals, while sitting 12th for assists.

New York Knicks to win under 18.0 games @ 17/20

The Knicks started shutting down their season when they traded JR Smith and Iman Shumpert, their sixth man and starting two-guard, to the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 5.

With a 10-43 record, the worst in the NBA, the suits at Madison Square Garden may as well flick off the lights and pretend nobody is home.

There was talk the franchise would buy-out starting power-forward Amar’e Stoudemire at the end of the All-Star Game, while superstar Carmelo Anthony may miss the rest of the season to rest a nagging knee injury. The Knicks may not win another game until then.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.