Earlier last week, the season win totals for all 30 NBA teams were released and will be open until October 29th, when the season officially tips off. Now, season win totals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea because they tie up your money for an extended period of time, however, they can become quite profitable if you manage to get it right. Plus, if you wager on a team that you don’t follow, you have a vested interest in them that you wouldn’t previously have.
Instead of going through every team like I have in previous years, I’m just going to focus on my top five over/unders for this upcoming season. Here goes: (note, they are in order from strongest to least)
Portland Trial Blazers Over/Under 38.5
So let’s get this straight. The Trail Blazers won 33 games last season with the worst bench in the league (by a long way) and now they are only expected to improve by five games with the additions of Robin Lopez, Mo Williams, Dorrell Wright, Thomas Robinson, C.J. McCollum and others? Lets also not forget that Portland lost their last 13 regular season games, mainly due to their starters breaking down with injuries because of the heavy minutes they had to log each night. That shouldn’t be the case this season though as they actually have one of the better benches going around all of a sudden, not to mention one of the better home courts in the league. I expect Portland to win the majority of games at the Rose Garden this season, which should result in around 44 overall wins.
Dan’s Verdict: Over 38.5
Minnesota Timberwolves Over/Under 40.5
If the Minnesota Timberwolves manage to stay healthy this season, I expect them to be a playoff contender in the ever tough Western Conference. Just to give you some insight, their two stars in Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio combined to miss 125 games over the last two seasons, however, they are 21-18 when playing together. When you factor this in, plus the offseason additions of Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer, who should help shore up their outside shooting woes of a season ago, there is nothing stopping Minnesota (apart from more injuries of course) finally contending for that playoff spot they so desire. You also have to remember that there are several teams in the West that have taken a step down from last season such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and to an extent the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will be missing Russell Westbrook for the first 4-6 weeks of the season. Love the over here, get it?
Dan’s Verdict: Over 40.5
Milwaukee Bucks Over/Under 28.5
The Milwaukee Bucks made it pretty clear in the summer that they weren’t going to ‘tank’ for a high draft pick this upcoming season, which is a key factor in taking them to win over 28 games here. While they didn’t add any superstars, they added a bunch of nice role players which should help see them contend for the final playoff spot in the East once again. Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo are a downgrade from Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis on the offensive side, but you could argue it’s an upgrade defensively. The Bucks also get another season of improvement from Larry Sanders and John Henson, who could pose major problems for opposing front courts on the defensive end. Milwaukee’s owner has made it pretty clear that they don’t want to rebuild and I just don’t see a 10 game drop off from last seasons 38 win team, despite the change in backcourt. I could see the Bucks winning around 33-35 games this season.
Dan’s Verdict: Over 28.5
Dallas Mavericks Over/Under 43.5
For the second straight season, the Dallas Mavericks came up short in free agency and had to settle for the likes of Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon among others. While this isn’t the worst backcourt going around offensively, you can’t say the same on the other side of the ball. Pairing these two with an ageing Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Mavericks finish the season in the bottom third of most defensive categories. Dallas should get a full season from a healthy Nowitzki, which should alone keep them semi relevant, but that’s about where the positives stop. I see the two other West teams in this list in Portland and Minnesota having better seasons than the Mavericks to be honest. If anything, Dallas should be pretty entertaining to watch on the offensive end, but I don’t see that translating into 44+ plus victories...
Dan’s Verdict: Under 43.5
Atlanta Hawks Over/Under 41.5
There seems to be a general consensus that the Hawks might take a small step back this season, but I don’t see it that way. J-Smooth’s tenure in Atlanta is finally over, however, he is replaced by the ubber efficient Paul Millsap, who could end up being a better fit alongside All-Star Al Horford. The Hawks also added Elton Brand, who is an upgrade over any big they had coming off the bench last season. With Lou Williams back in the fold and the continued development of Jeff Teague, I see Atlanta fighting for the fifth or sixth seed once again. Oh, and lets not forget they play in the same division as the Bobcats, Magic and Wizards.
Dan’s Verdict: Over 41.5