A few years back, one my pals and podcast partner Mike Pizza and I began posting our NBA Win Totals on Twitter. We did this because we pretend to know a whole lot about the league and also because it’s really fun.
However, now that legal sports betting is only a quick drive down the Atlantic City Expressway for me, I can finally put my money where my mouth is. This past weekend, I bet on 26 teams at Bally’s Wild Wild West Sportsbook in Atlantic City. I would have bet on all 30, but four – the Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Phoenix Suns – were pulled from the books for various reasons (Jimmy Butler trade rumors, Russell Westbrook minor surgeries, etc.). While I’m planning on making a trip down next month to get some action on those teams, I still had to set win totals for each of them now, since it was needed for both the benefit of my entire system and also because if I’m doing this thing….well, I’m DOING this thing. If you’re curious about the not-so-complex system I use to set win totals, feel free to @ me on Twitter (@TheEMart).
Without further ado, let’s get to the picks and hopefully make some money. Note that all bets were made at -115, so there were no added benefits to taking one side or another:
15. Atlanta Hawks – 19 wins (UNDER 24.5) – $50 to win $93.48
Tweet-length rationale: There is no win-total low enough for Trae Young’s shot selection crossed with your best player being Kent Bazemore. Shout out to the still-employed Vince Carter.
14. Orlando Magic – 23 wins (UNDER 30.5) – $50 to win $93.48
Tweet-length rationale: Bamba No. 5, Jonathan Issac, and Aaron Gordon might end up being fun to watch, but this directionless team feels prime for trades.
13. Chicago Bulls – 25 wins (UNDER 30.5) – $50 to win $93.48
Tweet-length rationale: You can Markkanen da Bulls down for another disappointing year.
12. Cleveland Cavaliers – 28 wins (UNDER 30.5) – $20 to win $37.39
Tweet-length rationale: How many wins is LeBron worth in 2018? 22 seems low, but here we are. Even though they won 50 games last year, this team will be lucky to get 30 this season.
11. Brooklyn Nets – 30 wins (UNDER 31.5) – $10 to win $18.70
Tweet-length rationale: A who’s who of who the hell is that, the Nets are going nowhere fast.
10. Charlotte Hornets – 33 wins (UNDER 35.5) – $20 to win $37.39
Tweet-length rationale: Predictably stinky, the Hornets have had exactly 36 wins the last 2 years. I think they’ll be a little worse this year.
9. New York Knicks – 34 wins (OVER 29) – $50 to win $93.48
Tweet-length rationale: This is a fun team, and I believe in Kevin Knox. If they get anything out of KP, they should bank some wins in the terrible East. I also fully expect to lose this money because James Dolan is involved.
8. Detroit Pistons – 41 wins (OVER 38) – $30 to win $56.09
Tweet-length rationale: The anti-Process, middling bastion of mediocrity should make the 8th by default in a weak East with Dwane Casey at the helm.
7. Milwaukee Bucks – 44 wins (UNDER 48) – $40 to win $74.78
Tweet-length rationale: Too many people love this team to make another leap in a weak East. I’m going the other way – I don’t believe in Giannis or new coach Mike Budenholzer.
6. Miami Heat – 45 wins – BET PULLED BY BOOK
Tweet-length rationale: A well-coached rec league team that plays with pride. Even if they can’t wrangle Jimmy Butler, they’ll be an interesting lower-half playoff team.
5. Washington Wizards – 48 wins (OVER 44.5) – $30 to win $56.09
Tweet-length rationale: This hot-mess of a roster is crazy….so crazy it just might work.
4. Toronto Raptors – 50 wins (UNDER 55) – $50 to win $93.48
Tweet-length rationale: Growing pains with a new coach and big question marks surrounding Kawhi’s health, motivation, and fit are my reasons to slam the under here.
3. Indiana Pacers – 53 wins (OVER 47.5) – $50 to win $93.48
Tweet-length rationale: Absolutely love the addition of Tyreke Evans to a team that was trending upward under the leadership of Victor Oladipo. I would not want to face this team in the playoffs.
2. Philadelphia 76ers – 57 wins (OVER 54.5) – $20 to win $37.39
Tweet-length rationale: #RunItBackWithUs SZN approaches – with improved Simmons, Embiid, and Fultz leading the charge. Sky’s the limit, baby!
1. Boston Celtics – 59 wins (OVER 58.5) – $10 to win $18.70
Tweet-length rationale: This group of bums should clean up in a weak East. Even I’m excited for Jason Tatum’s second year of being only 19, now with gym-rat Gordan Hayward and sneaky-good Kyrie Irving. Here’s to a locker room implosion!
15. Sacramento Kings – 22 wins (UNDER 26) – $40 to win $74.78
Tweet-length rationale: The Sacramento Kings – where the whole is somehow consistently less than the sum of its parts.
14. Phoenix Suns – 26 wins – BET PULLED BY BOOK
Tweet-length rationale: The Suns will be a fun League Pass team. They’ll also play in the loaded West. If they can land Jimmy Butler without giving up too much, they’ll be intriguing…but for now, they’ll stink.
13. Dallas Mavericks – 33 wins (UNDER 35) – $20 to win $37.39
Tweet-length rationale: Doncic will be fun, but this team will have growing pains in a rough conference. Take the over at your own risk.
12. Los Angeles Clippers – 33 wins (UNDER 37.5) – $40 to win $74.78
Tweet-length rationale: Everyone on this team is either too old, inevitably hurt, or both. Doc Rivers ain’t it. The development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is about the only thing to be excited about.
11. Memphis Grizzlies – 35 wins (OVER 33.5) – $10 to win $18.70
Tweet-length rationale: This line seems a bit too low for a team led by vets Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, infused with the youth & talent of Jaren Jackson. Barring injury, I think they’ll clean up against the bad teams in the league.
10. New Orleans Pelicans – 41 wins (UNDER 45.5) – $40 to win $74.77
Tweet-length rationale: 45.5 wins is a little high for a team that will likely miss the playoffs in a highly competitive West. Take the under.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – 42 wins – BET PULLED BY BOOK
Tweet-length rationale: I was low on this team even before the Jimmy Butler trade request because I don’t trust Thibs in the NBA in 2018. Maybe moving him will change things, but I’m not optimistic.
8. Portland Trail Blazers – 45 wins (OVER 42) – $30 to win $56.09
Tweet-length rationale: Rip City benefits from stability – while the rest of the West has changed, they’re about the same team that won 49 in a tough conference last year. More importantly, their cohesion allows them opportunity to steal games from talented but newly formed teams. 45 wins seems right.
7. San Antonio Spurs – 46 wins (OVER 45) – $10 to win $18.70
Tweet-length rationale: In getting nothing out of Kawhi last year, this well-coached team essentially swapped Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan. I think they squeak the over – the competition is better but so are they.
6. Denver Nuggets – 46 wins (UNDER 47) – $10 to win $18.70
Tweet-length rationale: Jokic is fun, but I don’t see this team out-faring others in the a difficult conference. They might not get anything out of Michael Porter Jr. Also…who is Paul Millsap?
5. Oklahoma City Thunder – 51 wins – BET PULLED BY BOOK
Tweet-length rationale: There is a lot to like about OKC, or “Sixers West” as I like to call them, due to the additions of Nerlens Noel & Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to a team that already employed Jerami Grant. Russ & PG13 are hungry and should compete, even in a loaded West, barring injury.
4. Los Angeles Lakers – 52 wins (OVER 48.5) – $30 to win $56.09
Tweet-length rationale: In my opinion, it is free money to bet that a team with LeBron James on it will win at least 50 games.
3. Houston Rockets – 53 wins (UNDER 55.5) – $20 to win $37.39
Tweet-length rationale: I think they got worse, and their window was last year. Additionally, there is dumpster-fire potential in the locker-room if things with Melo go south. The under feels right.
2. Utah Jazz – 55 wins (OVER 49.5) – $50 to win $93.48
Tweet-length rationale: Barring injury, the Jazz are a mortal lock for winning more than 50 games. Bet accordingly.
1. Golden State Warriors – 61 wins (UNDER 63) – $20 to win $37.39
Tweet-length rationale: This team should never lose. But they do. My guess is the 73 win chase isn’t worth it (and also, it didn’t work out, if you recall). A shade over 60 wins feels right.
So that’s it! Those are my picks. Now all that’s left is for the 2018-2019 season to get underway. Let’s go Sixers, baby!