Despite it being so early in free agency and a bunch of really talented players still out there on the open market, a few days ago we did get out first look at the projected 2018-19 NBA win totals. The Action Network first broke them a few days ago, and they come from a European sportsbook called Sky Bet who I’ll admit I have never even heard of, but it does give us a glimpse into what Vegas might be leaning. Wahhhhh I know the Warriors are going to win the title who cares. Find a new slant. Anyway, here’s the full list
Obviously nobody is surprised by seeing GS atop the league, but 68.5 feels a little high. Not because they don’t have the talent to win that many games, but because they have proven to us that they don’t need to. I think last year is going to be more along the lines of what we see from them as they’ve played so much basketball over the last 4 years it only makes sense for them to pace themselves. I bet the end the year in the low 60s, again not because of talent, but by choice. You’re also probably thinking that PHI looks a little high, but remember they won 52 games last year and the East isn’t exactly filled with world beaters. If they an keep their health I may go under 56.5 but that’s because I see them more in the 55-56 win range. Remember only two teams last year won more than 56.5 games.
It’s also interesting to see that Houston is expected to drop nearly 10 full games. Maybe this has to do with Capela still being up in the air, but that feels like a massive drop for a team that really only lost Trevor Ariza. I did not know he was worth nearly 10 wins. Assuming they are able to retain Capela, and who knows maybe sign Melo, I see them in that Warriors ballpark of like high 50s low 60s. There are some on this list though that I find comically high. For example, the Cavs are going to win 35 games? In what league? They won 50 and that was with LeBron who is good for like 20 wins by himself. If you can get the Cavs at that number you smash the under big time.
However, in my opinion this list is underselling a shit ton of teams. That number for the Pacers is WAAAAYYYY too low in my opinion. This is a team that was 14 games over .500 last season and got better this offseason, and they are going to finish under .500 in a weak conference? Barring any sort of injury there is no chance this happens. Easy money right there. I’m going with the same line of thinking for the Jazz and the Nuggets. I get that LeBron went West, but these are both young teams that either made the playoffs or barely missed the playoffs and got better. I would expect they are in the same range of like 46-49 wins. The big question here is what happens with the Spurs. If they keep Kawhi and he plays, that number is probably too low. Even without him last year they won 47 games, but if he is traded then I see this number being a little lower than 45.5. It feels crazy to type that given the Spurs never suck, but the writing is sort of on the wall for a slightly down year.
The one that stands out most to me though is MEM at 27.5. Remember, they should be getting Conley back next year, and a core of Gasol/Conley/Anderson/JJJ/Brooks/Selden is definitely better than 27 wins. They could have the biggest jump of any team in the West simply because they get players back, and while they may not make the playoffs they could easily jump into the 40s. If you can still get them at that number I say pull the trigger.
Obviously these numbers are due to change once we get closer to the season and Vegas has more time to look at each roster and who adds what player, so I would suggest if there is a number you really like, don’t wait. There’s money to be had with these early releases, and if you want to get crazy and bet on a non Warriors team to win the title, here’s the most updated look at those odds as well