Me and David love to bet, so we decided to make our predictions on NBA win totals. The format below goes by: 2014 record/2014 projection/2015 projection. One interesting tidbit we’ve uncovered: if you were to just bet the UNDER for every team listed last season, you’d go 16-13-1.
Atlanta Hawks – (60-22) – 41.5 – 50
We’ll see just how important DeMarre Carroll was to this team. But most of this team’s core is intact with Teague, Millsap, Korver, and Horford all returning. Sure, they definitely overachieved, beating their projected total by 18.5 wins, but 10 games seems like a lot to me for a team that stays largely intact. These guys are basically the Spurs East to me without the star recognition.
Boston Celtics – (40-42) – 26.5 – 45.5
Don’t get me wrong, I love Brad Stevens as a coach and this team got hot at the end of last year but this team was already overachieving a lot. 45 wins are a lot to ask for a team without too much talent in the front-court.
Brooklyn Nets – (38-44) – 41.5 – 27.5
27.5 wins is generous for a team that will start Shane Larkin and Bogdan Bogdanovic for a good part of the early season and will be playing on the road for 11 of their first 16 games. After that brutal stretch they might be a little more convinced to blow it up and start the real tanking. Throw in an inefficient Joe Johnson and an injury-prone Brook Lopez and you have a recipe for disaster.
Charlotte Hornets – (33-49) – 45 – 34
I don’t see any reason to think this team will be any better or worse than last year. They’ve lost MKG for potentially the whole season, so they’ll be struggling on defense. Keep an eye on Nic Batum and P.J. Hairston, as the Hornets record is very dependent on how they perform this year.
Chicago Bulls – (50-32) – 54.5 – 50
On paper the players all sound great in the lineup other than Tony Snell, but there are a lot of reasons why the Bulls can miss 50 wins. Do we really trust Derrick Rose to stay healthy for a full season? They might be able to score a ton of points (key word might), but can you imagine how disastrous the interior defense will be when they have those McDermott, Mirotic, Gasol lineups out there? Even if they outperform expectations, will there really be that much of an incentive to keep winning games once they have a playoffs spot locked up and teams like Atlanta, Cleveland, and Toronto are out of reach?
Cleveland Cavaliers – (53-29) – 58.5 – 56
Kyrie is going to be out for an undetermined amount of time and this team has no intention of working Lebron more than they have to before the playoffs. When they get their core intact they should be close to unbeatable, but this is another case of a team that will coast once they make the playoffs.
Dallas Mavericks – (50-32) – 50 – 36.5
I guess adding Deron Williams doesn’t really matter to Vegas when you lose Monta and Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki is getting really old. I don’t like this team at all even though I think that Jim Carrey is one of the more underrated coaches in the league. The West is just gonna be too much to handle for the Mavs this year.
Denver Nuggets – (30-52) – 41.5 – 27.5
Mudiay, Foye, Lauvergne. Is this a basketball team or a French soccer squad? Getting Danilo Gallinari healthy will be nice but other than that it’s bad days ahead for this squad.
Detroit Pistons – (32-50) – 35.5 – 36.5
This is a team I’m pretty high on. Stan Van G finally has a team constructed the way he likes with Reggie Jackson, KCP, Morris, and Ilyasova all spreading the floor and Andre Drummond going to work inside. No more worrying about giving Greg Monroe minutes. Trust in good coaching in the NBA to get it done.
Golden State Warriors – (67-15) – 51.5 – 59.5
I’m not too confident in this pick but as long as the Warriors stay healthy it’s really tough to beat them. Sure, they’ll miss Steve Kerr for the early part of the season but I think they understand they have to use this window they have while they can before they start losing players to free agency. I mean it feels like everything lies with Steph Curry not breaking his ankles mid-season. How else do you can you win against them?
Houston Rockets – (56-26) – 49.5 – 57
My logic here is we’ve got basically the same core intact plus Ty Lawson who should be an upgrade from Patrick Beverley. The real issue here as with taking the over for all higher win-total bets for high total teams is the risk of injury.
Indiana Pacers – (38-44) – 33 – 42
It might take Paul George to get back in the swing of things but going small ball with Hill, Ellis and George at PF should help this team get back to a winning record this year. Roy Hibbert turned into a bum in past years so the “downgrade” to Ian Mahinmi won’t be as bad as it looks.
Los Angeles Clippers – (56-26) – 55.5 – 57
I see this team as mostly the same, with one big X-factor in Lance Stephenson. Unfortunately that X-Factor is just as likely to mess up the team as he is to lead it to the WCF so I’m taking the under here.
Los Angeles Lakers – (21-61) – 32.5 – 28
Why are we expecting 7 more wins from this team? Because decrepit Kobe Bryant is back? Deangelo Russell still needs a year or two and Randle is still a rookie after getting injured early last year. You didn’t even know Roy Hibbert was on this team. At least I didn’t. Give them four or five more wins but 28 is too generous.
Memphis Grizzlies – (55-27) – 49 – 51
Every year this team seems underrated. Probably because there isn’t a lot of money in Tennessee going into betting basketball. Memphis is just a solid squad all around and you expect them to be chasing a high seed at the end of the year since their whole core is intact.
Miami Heat — (37-45) — 44 — 47
This team has to have a lot of hype going into this season, finally able to play a fully healthy and deadly Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside starting five. I feel like this team can easily cover the over if there aren’t any disastrous injuries. What worries me is the likely slow start the team may face to lack of chemistry and comfort playing as a unit. But with that starting five, plus heralded rookie Justise Winslow, veterans Josh McRoberts, Amare Stoudemire, Gerald Green and Mario Chalmers off the bench, the Heat are a sleeper for the title. Take the upside.
Milwaukee Bucks — (41-41) — 24 — 44.5
This win total might be right on the dot. A year after absolutely crushing its win total, the Bucks will likely finish right near its record last season. Despite adding Greg Monroe and Jabari Parker to the mix, the Bucks were major overachievers last year and it’s unreasonable they improve by many more games if any. The East should be more competitive than last season, so a 3 win improvement is not unreasonable. I feel this falls right on the 43-44 line.
Minnesota Timberwolves — (16-66) — 26.5 — 28.5
Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Andrew Wiggins. Like really love him. Like he’s my first born child. The Wolves, however, haven’t gotten THAT much better around him. They added yet another top pick in Karl Towns, who will be great, but not quite yet. This team was clearly in tank mode last year I think, but even if they try this year I see them falling a few games under their total. The West is too good to bet against with a young team like this, especially after its sudden head coaching loss (RIP Flip). Take the over next year.
New Orleans Pelicans — (45-37) — 43 — 46.5
There’s a lot of value in having one of the three best players in the NBA. Even if you surround him with junk (as the Pellies are to start the season), Anthony Davis should be able to get this team to 35 wins. If this team can keep it’s starting lineup intact throughout the year, they should edge out the total.
New York Knicks — (17-65) — 41 — 30.5
I actually really like this bet. The Knicks are going to be undervalued by the public following their disaster season last year, in which they still didn’t get a top 3 pick. People forget Carmelo has made the playoffs in pretty much every season he played over 60 games. He’ll be fresh for the season, and will be paired with an entirely new lineup around him, featuring Jose Calderon, Arron Afflalo, wunderkind Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez. I like the two-way potential of everyone here besides Calderon, which should keep the Knicks in a lot of games. Enough to squeeze out 32-33 wins in my mind.
Oklahoma City Thunder — (45-37) — 57.5 — 57
I feel like this is the year for OKC. They will finally stay healthy all season and win about 60. You’re betting on health here and nothing more.
Orlando Magic — (25-57) — 27.5 — 34.5
I’ve had my eye on this Magic squad for the past few years, envious of their incredible young core of players. With new head coach Scott Skiles in the mix, expect this athletic squad to absolutely clamp down on perimeter-oriented teams (aka most of the NBA) with the dynamic duo of Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo chasing the opposition around the court. In the middle, Orlando has Tobias Harris and Mario Hezonja available for scoring help, alongside some sort of combination of Aaron Gordon, Channing Frye and Nikola Vucevic. This team doesn’t have much holes, but its depth worries me. Evan Fournier is likely the team’s best scorer off the bench for now, which I don’t love. But the starting lineup should provide fits for its opponents.
Philadelphia 76ers — (18-64) — 16.5 — 21
If second-year center Joel Embiid were starting the season healthy, I’d have no qualms about taking the over for this team. Embiid’s status just to play this season is up in the air, so I’ll err on the side of caution and go under. The Sixers haven’t gotten one proven player in the lineup, and I don’t feel top pick Jahlil Okafor will be a difference maker in his first year. He has looked lost defensively (as always) and he lacks any effort on the boards. He should be able to score a bit, but I think he’ll even underwhelm in that area of the game in Year 1 as well. One more high pick and they should be good for seasons to come.
Phoenix Suns — (39-43) — 44.5 — 37
I like this team’s starters a lot, and it’s depth isn’t too bad either. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are an electric backcourt that can put up points in bunches. Tyson Chandler, Markieff Morris and P.J. Tucker are great two way players that will hold the fort down defensively under underrated head coach Jeff Hornacek. I hate that they’re in the West, but they can definitely rattle off some surprising wins.
Portland Blazers — (51-31) — 49 — 28
I have no idea how Vegas is projecting this team to get nearly 30 wins in the West. This team is in absolute shambles after losing pretty much all of its starting lineup in Wes Matthews, Nic Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez. Replacing them are guys like C.J. McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, Meyers Leonard and Mason Plumlee. If I’m not mistaken, I’m pretty sure none of those guys have ever held down a starting spot on an NBA team. And the fact they’re in the West makes me skeptical they’ll get many wins over 20. Put the house on the under.
Sacramento Kings — (29-53) — 29.5 — 35.5
I sorta love this team and also sorta hate it. I can’t get behind a team with Rajon Rondo firmly entrenched as its starter. George Karl will have his hands full with the personalities on this team. I seriously pray for his health this season. Thirty five wins in the West seems unfathomable for this squad. I love the under.
San Antonio Spurs — (55-27) — 57 — 57
The number Vegas has given out seems perfect. There’s no reason the Spurs should fall between 54-60 wins every season. Popovich picks his spots and doesn’t care about regular season success, so I like the under here still, but I wouldn’t wager a significant amount on it whatsoever.
Toronto Raptors — (49-33) — 48.5 — 46.5
Toronto has been one of the biggest overachieving teams in the NBA. I’m not even sure how Dwayne Casey, who by my standards is nothing more than a slightly below average coach, get this team just under 50 wins last season, only to get absolutely annihilated in the first round of the playoffs by the Wizards. The only significant move made by the Raps was the acquisition of Demarre Carroll, who is a great 3-and-D guy. I’m betting a lot on this team just purely regressing to the mean, and hovering around 42-44 wins, where they should be. The East should also provide a bit more competition with the emergence of teams like Detroit and Orlando.
Utah Jazz — (38-44) — 24.5 — 42.5
The Jazz are one of the sneaky great teams in the league, in my opinion. Just the presence of Rudy Gobert gives this team the potential to be a top 3 defensive unit. I can’t imagine people are that upset over the loss of Dante Exum to a torn ACL, he likely wasn’t moving the needle in Year 2. I’m not a fan of starting PG Trey Burke, but I like the low-key acquisition of Raul Neto, a pass-first, Euro-style player who should get the ball to Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors where they need it. I expect a jump from Alec Burks (I’ve been expecting a jump for years now, though) and Rodney Hood to give the 2nd unit a big scoring boost. These guys should make real push for the 7 or 8 seed.
Washington Wizards — (46-36) — 49.5 — 47
I feel like Vegas nailed the shit out of this total. I like the potential leaps of Brad Beal and Otto Porter to bring this team to near 50 wins, but I wouldn’t wager anything on it. John Wall may have an MVP-level performance in him coming up in one of these seasons, and this one may be it.