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2018-19 Warriors season win total betting analysis

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Bookmakers have the 2018-19 Warriors winning 62.5 games. Is it high, low or just right?

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers
Since their 73-win season, the Warriors and Steve Kerr have prioritized health over regular season wins.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 NBA season win totals were released by the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas on August 5th, 2018. Bettors wager on season win totals by predicting a team to either win more or less games than the total set by the sportsbook. Here we analyze the Golden State Warriors season win total trends and share thoughts on betting the current total.

Regular season motivation has waned

Steve Kerr and the Warriors surprised the NBA and sportsbooks during the 2014-15 season, winning the NBA title and 67 games, 17 more than predicted by Vegas. The 2015-16 season opened with many opining that the Warriors got lucky in 2015 by playing teams with injuries and the Dubs came out with a chip on their shoulder, winning 24 straight to open the season and finishing with a regular season record of 73 wins.

Steve Kerr acknowledged that the team striving for 73 wins took a toll on the team. The effect of pushing for 73 wins and then losing the 2016 Finals may have been a turning point for how the Warriors approach the regular season, which seemed evident in Kevin Durant’s first home game as a Warrior, a 29-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Even with a less fervent approach to the regular season in 2016-17, the Dubs still finished with 67 wins and a remarkable two-season win total of 140 games. But the Warriors attenuating enthusiasm for the regular season, taken together with Kerr sitting players during the course of the regular season as a strategy to optimize health for the playoffs, manifested in finishing as second seed to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference and 58 wins during the 2017-18 season, almost 10 under the predicted total.

So that leads us to a question: how accurate should we expect this year’s predictions to be?

Warriors historical win totals and outcomes

Here are the last six seasons of Warriors season win totals and outcomes:

2012-13 season win total over/under (O/U): 34.5 games, outcome: 47 wins, over by 12.5 games

2013-14 season win total (O/U): 51.5 games, outcome: 51 wins, under by 0.5 games

2014-15 season win total (O/U): 50.5 games, outcome: 67 wins, over by 17 games

2015-16 season win total O/U: 60.5 games, outcome: 73 wins, over by 12.5 games

2016-17 season win total O/U: 66.5 games, outcome: 67 wins, over by 0.5 games

2017-18 season win total O/U: 67.5 games, outcome: 58 wins, under by 9.5 games

2018-19 season win total O/U: 62.5 games, outcome: ?

Stay away from this bet

The Warriors are still overwhelming favorites to win the 2018-19 NBA title and it would be a surprise to no one if the Dubs won 63 or more games this season. But the Warriors have shifted from a young, upstart team to veteran, back-to-back champions that have established an approach that prioritizes preservation of health over regular season wins.

The addition of DeMarcus Cousins has led to some speculation that the Warriors will now be even more likely to crush the NBA, but Cousin’s physical abilities following an Achilles rupture are yet to be determined as is his availability during the regular season.

Compared to the playoffs, bench depth can make a more significant difference over the course of a long NBA regular season and questions remain about the Warriors’ bench heading into 2018-19. With uncertainty about the Dubs’ back-ups and Cousin’s availability, taken together with the Warriors minimized motivation for the regular season, bettors and Dubs fans in particular would be advised to stay away from betting the Warriors 2018-19 season win total.