On Tuesday, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook released over/under win total odds for each of the 30 NBA teams. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors led the way with an over/under of 67.5 wins, which is crazy high. The next highest over/under belongs to the Boston Celtics, who (according to Vegas) are expected to win 56.5 games. That’s an 11 game gap! Good lord.
Other teams stood out on top of their respective conferences. The Cavaliers, for example, trail the Celtics and are expected to win 53.5 games. For reference, last season (before the two teams traded Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving), the Celtics won 53 games to the Cavaliers’ 51, though of course they were handily bested in the Eastern Conference Finals by a (finally) motivated LeBron James.
But, last year was last year. Let’s look at some of the weirder predictions from Vegas. Can you feel it, baby?! Can you feeeeeeel it???! BASKETBALL IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!!! Aha, no it’s not. It’s still 47 days away. Whatever, I don’t care. I’m excited. The Kyrie news is finally finished, the Cavs and Celtics will meet in the very first game of the year, and we have some strange over/unders to pour through.
So, this will be Pt. 1 of 2. The second part will drop tomorrow, as we finish off taking a quick look at all 30 teams. I’ve organized these into four different tiers, the first two of which are presented here. Obviously, the teams are not listed in any particular order within the tiers. Enjoy!
Tier 1: Of Course, duh, they are either gonna be really good or really bad. None of these are really surprising.
Golden State Warriors - 67.5
Boston Celtics - 56.5
Houston Rockets - 55.5
San Antonio Spurs - 54.5
Cleveland Cavaliers - 53.5
Chicago Bulls - 21.5
Brooklyn Nets - 28.5
New York Knicks - 30.5
Sacramento Kings - 28.5
Warriors: The Dubs might not crack 67, but it’ll only because they’ll be resting players right and left as they look towards another deep playoff run and a hopeful third championship in four years. Three years ago, they won 67 games and won the championship. Two years ago, they won 73 games and lost the championship. Last year, they won 67 games and won the championship. Hey, maybe 67 is their sweet spot. That perfect number. Who knows?
Celtics: I can’t wait to see a world champion, mature version of alpha Kyrie Irving playing under Brad Stevens. Finally, he won’t be forced to play second fiddle to LeBron James. He won’t just chill in corners and hope to hit big shots, or just wiggle his way to the hoop. He’ll be the main ball handler, as well as the focal point of their offense. I’m super excited about this team, from a purely basketball standpoint.
Spurs: Pop’s team won 61 games last year. Sure, they are older. Sure, they had a head-scratcher of an off-season. But somehow 54.5 seems a little low for me. Again, whatever. Spurs are gonna Spurs.
Rockets: CP3 and James Harden are either gonna be really good together, or frustratingly inconsistent. Time will tell where they fall on the side 55.5, although I like that nice, five-heavy number.
Cavaliers: Can the Cavs make it back to a fourth straight NBA Finals? Is this the year LeBron finally misses out on the Finals? Can Isaiah Thomas play anywhere near where he played last year? Will he have to have surgery? There are so many questions lingering over this team. 53.5 seems appropriate, especially as LeBron &co. have proved that they don’t give a shit about the regular season, only the playoffs.
Bulls: The Bulls are bad. They say everything trickles down from the top, and this is one of the most dysfunctionally run teams in the league. I would absolutely not be surprised to see them finish with the worst record in league, especially considering I would place big money that Dwyane Wade is playing alongside Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James in Cleveland before the season’s end.
Nets: The Nets come into the season with no incentive to tank (they don’t own their pick, again), but with some pieces in hand which are providing a semblance of structure and stability. Head coach Kenny Atkinson will eventually turn this ship around. This could be the year they start putting it together. But, yeah, they’re still gonna be bad. Just maybe not as bad as in recent years past.
Knicks: The Knicks are bad, and if they finally swing a deal for Carmelo (I still think he ends up in Cleveland), maybe this is the year they finally bottom out. 30.5 seems high to me, although last year they won 31, so if they hold off trading Anthony, maybe it’s just right. However, I could easily see them just taaaaaank, finally.
Kings: The team up in Sacramento is young and exciting. Honestly, I would bet the over on this, even though betting on the Kings to do something positive is like using a hunting knife to fix an ingrown toe nail. Nothing good is gonna happen.
Tier 2: Uhhh, I kinda see it, but for whatever reason these teams feel misjudged, either too high or too low
Milwaukee Bucks - 47.5
Los Angeles Lakers - 33.5
Phoenix Suns - 28.5
New Orleans Pelicans - 39.5
Dallas Mavericks - 35.5
Bucks: I think the Bucks are going to be better than 47.5. Last year, they won 42 games. This year, I think they’ll have a legit MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo, plus another season under their collective belt. This is my favorite young team in the league. I like what Jason Kidd has done. I think they have one of the more interesting front offices in the league, and I could legit see them winning something like 53 games and making it to the second round, or even the conference finals in a weak-AF Eastern Conference. Honestly, how satisfying would it be to see them beat the Cavaliers in the second round or something?
Lakers: If Lonzo Ball brings his magic juice to Staples, the Lakers (ugh) could be better than 33.5. I’m not saying it’s gonna happen, I’m just saying I saw how Ball turned UCLA around last season, and how his infectious energy and vision translated into wins. I think it happens again in LA, and the Lakers become one of the most talked about teams in the league. So, that’s gonna suck.
Suns: Another team I could see improving. I have faith in Devin Booker. This kid, either this year or the next, is going to blossom into a perennial All-Star. Can his young team mature alongside him?
Pelicans: I think the Pelicans trade Anthony Davis. I know you think I’m crazy, but my gut says he’s gone for some reason during this season. I think they finish a lot lower than 39.5.
Mavericks: I have no idea how this team finishes. It’s a strange team. Will rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. excel? Will Nerlens Noel’s big (read: strange) gamble on himself pan out? How much longer can Dirk Nowitski play meaningful ball? So many questions. I just put them in this tier because I had no idea where else to slide them.
Okay, stay tuned for Pt. 2, which will drop tomorrow. What do you guys think about the existing tiers? Am I crazy on some of these?