Last Updated: 2017-03-06
The start of the 2015-16 NBA regular season is a few short weeks away, but the season has already started for the betting market. Along with NBA Championship and conference futures, bettors have the opportunity to get in on the season win totals. Our friends at BetDSI have season win total lines available for each of the league’s 30 teams with $2,000 betting limits.
It’s good to use their preseason prop bet lines as a gauge to see how the oddsmakers are evaluating these teams for the upcoming season. It’s also good to win money and some of these lines look a bit off. Think of futures bets as long-term investments. Unfortunately, it’s harder to hedge season win total bets than it would be to hedge a championship future or something similar, but there’s also something nice about having a good idea about the outcome of a future bets earlier than you would a future that requires the playoffs.
There are some numbers that jump off the page and some that are absolutely worth staying away from. Here’s a list of the numbers and some that we like and some that we caution you to avoid:
Atlanta Hawks 49.5 (-110/-110)
Boston Celtics 42.5 (-120/100)
Brooklyn Nets 28.5 (-105/-115)
Charlotte Hornets 31.5 (-105/-115)
Chicago Bulls 50.5 (-110/-110)
Cleveland Cavaliers 57.5 (105/-125)
Dallas Mavericks 36.5 (-125/105)
Denver Nuggets 26.5 (-125/105)
Detroit Pistons 36.5 (-105/-115)
Golden State Warriors 60.5 (100/-120)
Houston Rockets 55.5 (-105/-115)
Indiana Pacers 41.5 (123/-148)
Los Angeles Clippers 57.5 (-110/-110)
Los Angeles Lakers 29.5 (-101/-119)
Memphis Grizzlies 50.5 (-105/-115)
Miami Heat 46.5 (-122/101)
Milwaukee Bucks 44.5 (-115/-105)
Minnesota Timberwolves 26.5 (-135/115)
New Orleans Pelicans 47.5 (-127/106)
New York Knicks 29.5 (-115/-105)
Oklahoma City Thunder 56.5 (-115/-105)
Orlando Magic 34.5 (-116/-104)
Philadelphia 76ers 20.5 (-110/-110)
Phoenix Suns 36.5 (-110/-110)
Portland Trail Blazers 25.5 (-110/-110)
Sacramento Kings 32.5 (-130/110)
San Antonio Spurs 56.5 (-115/-105)
Toronto Raptors 46.5 (-110/-110)
Utah Jazz 42.5 (-116/-104)
Washington Wizards 46.5 (-115/-105)
That’s quite a set of numbers. Given the vig for all of those lines, it seems like the betting market believes that DSI set the numbers a little bit too high for the top teams and a little bit too low for the teams that finished in the 10-13 range in both conferences. There are some teams that appear poised to take the next big step.
The number that jumps off the page the most is the Portland Trail Blazers at 25.5 wins. Portland has 105 regular season wins over the last two seasons, but a ton of roster turnover has clearly changed the complexion of their season. LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs, leaving Damian Lillard without much help. Injured wingman Wesley Matthews also moved on and the Trail Blazers shipped first-round pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to Brooklyn for Pat Connaughton and Mason Plumlee. Nicolas Batum, who had nine points and six boards per game was also traded. That’s a lot of losses and the betting market has reacted in a big way.
Another one is the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets were expected to contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but with the report that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out for the season with a torn labrum, the Hornets are looking quite a bit weaker. MKG wasn’t the best offensive player on the team, but he was clearly the team’s best all-around player and its top defensive player. That’s a significant loss and the market adjusted accordingly.
Here are some of our favorite season win totals picks:
Houston Rockets over 55.5: Only three players managed to play at least 72 games for the Houston Rockets last season and they still won 56 games. James Harden missed one game and Trevor Ariza played all 82. It was 37-year-old Jason Terry that was the third player of this trio with 77 games played. Donatas Motiejunas played 71 games. Nobody else appeared in more than 70 games. With a revolving door of injuries, including Dwight Howard playing just half of the team’s 82 games, the Rockets took advantage of their depth.
The addition of Ty Lawson will allow the up-tempo Rockets to do a lot of different things on offense when both Lawson and Patrick Beverley are healthy. Corey Brewer is one of the best sixth men in the league and the Rockets added some offensive punch with Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Southwest Division will still be one of the best in the NBA, even as Dallas takes a projected step back, but Houston should fight it out with San Antonio for the top spot here. The Rockets have increased their win total under Kevin McHale in each of his four seasons and should do the same again.
Milwaukee Bucks over 44.5: The loss of Jabari Parker last season didn’t keep the Bucks from making the playoffs and they should qualify for the postseason again this season. It’s never good to lose a star player, but Parker did get to play 25 games and was able to see what he needed to work on. He added some upper body strength while rehabbing his torn ACL and that should allow him to match up better physically with his opponents. This is a young team that grew up a lot in Parker’s absence and his return should help.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has some more help this season with the addition of Greg Monroe. The Bucks were among the worst rebounding teams in the NBA and Monroe will certainly help on that front. That could help the Bucks improve some more in transition as well. The talent at the point guard position is enough to overcome the loss of Brandon Knight. This is a team to watch and a team that, with good fortunes in terms of health, could go well over this total.
Denver Nuggets over 26.5: Mike Malone seems to be a breath of fresh air for this organization. After dysfunction, and borderline mutiny, the Nuggets are heading in the right direction. It will take some time to get there, but Malone has vowed to keep the Nuggets running. The most important part about playing with tempo is that Denver can catch teams in back-to-backs or three games in four nights scenarios that can magnify their home court advantage.
This is a team short on talent, but we’re buying into the intangibles. Malone has vowed to play to the strengths of the roster and has already shown why so many players in Sacramento liked him. He’s a “players’ coach”. Ty Lawson is gone, but the Nuggets have wunderkind point guard Emmanuel Mudiay and he’s a rookie of the year candidate. Somebody will step up and score points because that’s what this up-tempo style does. Denver didn’t seem concerned about playing defense in the past, but Malone has compromised to let the team run if they show a similar defensive effort. That should resonate.
Cleveland Cavaliers under 57.5: The Cavs are the front-runner for the Eastern Conference Championship, and with good reason. With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both returning from injury-filled seasons, the Cavs are going to err on the side of caution every chance they get. LeBron James showed signs of age in the playoffs last year and it would be a shock if David Blatt allowed him to have a similar workload with a playoff berth merely a formality.
The team is also hurting on the interior since they couldn’t come to a deal with Tristan Thompson. It may still happen, but oft-injured big man Anderson Varejao isn’t going to inspire a lot of confidence and the Cavs are going to get a lot of bench minutes while they have a target on their backs in every game. It’s a bad situation to bet the over.
Here are some teams to stay away from:
Oklahoma City Thunder: When healthy, the Thunder are a great team. When they aren’t healthy, they’re a mystery. Kevin Durant says he’s fine, but that foot injury seems to be very unpredictable. It wound up costing him most of the 2014-15 season and could do the same again this season if he re-aggravates it. Russell Westbrook is also the straw that stirs the drink and they’re going to struggle if he goes out. Also, rookie head coach Billy Donovan is a major unknown at the NBA level.
Brooklyn Nets: Can this team find a way to rally or will they be tanking like their Big Apple brethren by the start of 2016? There’s not a whole lot to be excited about with the current construction of the roster and 31-year-old Jarrett Jack has only started 310 games out of his 771-game career because he’s not good enough to be a full-time starter. That’s why he’s bounced around a ton. The Nets are in for a rough year, but they could rally around a lot of the veterans to manage to get close to this total. That, or, they could bottom out and pick first.
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