Are you a degenerate gambler but just a casual NBA fan? Do you refuse to let yourself bet on the preseason NBA games where you have no idea how many minutes the starters will actually play? Well, you have come to the right place. This is the start of my series of previewing every team in the NBA compared to their Vegas over/under win total bets. I pulled the totals and the odds from https://www.betonline.ag/sportsbook. During this series I will try to envision what the team will look like, what their best lineup combinations are, what their specific team goals will probably be, and what the best possible version of that team will look like. In addition, I will analyze how likely it is they reach that best possible outcome. I use this strategy to pinpoint where I think the team’s record will finish and give my prediction. I will be releasing them division by division, starting with the Atlantic Division first. I hope these picks win you some money.
Last year, the Atlantic Division grabbed four of the top six seeds in the Eastern Conference. They are loaded again this year. Philadelphia got better, Brooklyn got significantly better (and they’re starting the year with wings Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert being healthy), and Boston and Toronto both lost some major pieces, but are still poised for playoff runs. There are a few bets here I like, but there are also two that I would definitely stay away from.
Favorite: Brooklyn hitting their over at -110. They’re getting their health back, they swapped their All-Star from last year with a better and more efficient version, they’re loaded with quality role players and they have one of the best cultures in the league. Check out their section for more detail.
Least favorite: Toronto. I am staying away from the over, under, and any other bet that involves Toronto. I discuss in their section about how many different ways this team could go, making this is a very hard prediction. What if they trade all their vets? What if they keep all the vets? Does that lead to 40 wins or 50 wins? There are too many different possibilities with this team.
Still a solid bet: New York under. New York may have some nice pieces but their roster makes no sense, and they will be very bad on defense. On top of that, basically every team in the West has playoff hopes and because of the new lottery odds, teams will most likely wait until the very end of the year to start their tanking, meaning they will take every chance they can to beat the New York Knicks.
Check out the individual previews below:
Boston Celtics: 48.5
This is the first bet I’m avoiding. Boston lost Al Horford and swapped Kyrie Irving for Kemba Walker. The point guard swap probably works out better for Boston because of the well-chronicled chemistry issues that came with Kyrie. The loss of big man Al Horford will hurt them immensely on both ends of the court. They’re left with no rim protection, or even a center that is above average in any aspect of defense. Kemba and Enes Kanter will get destroyed on 1-5 pick and rolls. This team’s ceiling involves Gordon Hayward being at least 80% of his former self (which isn’t too unreasonable), Jayson Tatum making a leap, and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart being able to hold down their defense enough for their offensive firepower to lead them to enough wins. A lot of those things are likely, but that still doesn’t grade out to being that good of a team, maybe 52-54 wins in the best case. I think they’ll end up right around their projected total and I can see Kemba and Tatum being good enough scorers to help them win some close games.
Prediction: 50 wins
Brooklyn Nets: 43.5
This is my favorite bet for this division. Brooklyn went through some major changes this offseason. Looking through their roster, it appears they have no real weaknesses. They may have some chemistry issues to work through with all their new guys, but I trust that will go smoothly due to all their veterans and their excellent culture. I can see this team way outperforming their expected total. They have an efficient lead scorer in Kyrie, secondary scorers/ball handlers in Dinwiddie and LeVert (who were both great when healthy last year), supporting role players in Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, Wilson Chandler, Garret Temple and David Nwaba, and they have many other intriguing pieces who could all bring something to the table. For example, the best version of Taurean Prince on this team is a good spot up shooter, a good defender, and an efficient enough 4th scorer. Center Deandre Jordan could be motivated to get back to being at least league average on defense and he could also get back to trying more on both ends. Jarrett Allen could take another step forward and get closer to cracking the top 10 centers in the league, and Nic Claxton could make an impact right away with his length and defensive instincts. The best version of this team includes Kyrie being better/more efficient than D’Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie and LeVert having better health, Allen and Jordan providing 48 minutes of quality center play between them, and the role players providing the same or better production as last year. I believe almost all those things are very likely to happen for Brooklyn in 2019.
Prediction: 51 wins
New York Knicks: 26.5
New York struck out on big free agents. They instead added power forward Julius Randle and a lot of back end rotation players. I expect Kevin Knox to be the only young player to make a significant jump as he is a year older and more experienced, he won’t have to force things with better players around him and he has deep range on his jumper with a very smooth stroke that leads me to believe it will only get better. Mitchell Robinson could make a jump too, but I don’t trust the New York ball-handlers to do him any favors. The biggest reason I do not think this team will win a lot of games is that they have so many inefficient scorers who are not good defenders, such as Dennis Smith Jr., RJ Barrett, Randle, Alonzo Trier and Elfrid Payton. Forward Marcus Morris is a little above average on both ends of the court when he’s in the right role, but without quality players around him and him always having to guard the other team’s best forward, it will likely result in below average production on defense and lots of fade-away mid rangers. This team does not have people who can give solid production on both ends. I also think they’ll trade some of their veterans halfway through the season and then lean on Barrett, Knox and the other young guys more. There will be some games where they’re able to outscore some teams, but they will have plenty of blowout losses, due to their poor overall team defense. The best version of this team as it stands would be them leaning into their veterans more and that would get them about 28 wins, but that just makes no sense. I believe they will play a mix of young players they are trying to develop and high-volume/low-efficiency offense only young veterans, and as such, this team will lose a lot.
Prediction: 23 wins
Philadelphia 76ers: 54.5
Philly lost key players in Jimmy Butler and JJ Reddick this offseason and replaced them with Al Horford and Josh Richardson. The team also filled out their bench a little more. They now have a roster that makes a bit more sense and they have a little more depth. Philly is still a little short on shooting, shot creation, and guards who can put pressure on a defense, but their strengths should be so strong that they can overcome a lot of that. They are equipped to handle the opposing team’s best perimeter players with Richardson and Ben Simmons. They have two of the best defensive big-men in the league right now in Horford and Embiid. They will be one of the best defensive teams in recent memory, and they should have enough scoring to win a lot of games. If their young guys can fill out the 8-10 spots in their rotation, they can make a run at the one seed in the Eastern Conference. I expect them to manage Embiid and Horford’s load, and there will be nights where the team won’t make enough open jumpers. Because of this I expect them to underperform their overall potential in terms of regular season record, but given their improved defense and bench depth, I would still bet them to hit their over.
Prediction: 55 wins
Toronto Raptors: 46.5
Toronto is one of the harder teams to predict, and this is a bet I would stay away from. They could keep the veterans together and push for the playoffs, or they could strip it down and officially start the rebuild Masai Ujiri has been dying to do. However, even if they don’t strip it down, it’s hard to predict where this team will end up. Veterans Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka all have a lot of miles on them and it’s hard to expect them to be able to produce and stay healthy for a whole season. But at the same time, if they do stay healthy, they could very easily make a run at a top four seed in the East. To make it an even tougher decision, the additions they made this offseason are playing both sides. The Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson signings would both be good flyers on young players for a rebuilding team, but the two can also fill out the end of the bench for a competing team. In the end, I think they will take all calls on their vets and I think at least one gets moved. The best version of this team will have good continuity and smart veteran play to go with OG Anunoby bouncing back from his injury/off the court issues and forward Pascal Siakam making a jump on the offensive side. This would lead to them competing and squeaking by in a lot of close games. The lack of a go-to scorer could hurt them, but Siakam could make a jump and become closer to that level of scorer. They’ll be disciplined and play smart enough to win more than they lose, regardless of the moves they may or may not make.
Prediction: 45 wins