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As I’ve mentioned to a few newsletters earlier, I’m dipping my toes back in this year’s pre-weather predictions and selections. It’s something I’ve mostly skipped over the past few seasons because it’s largely a frustrating exercise (in terms of accuracy) and I don’t believe much that my particularly esoteric brand of basketball expertise bodes well for prediction. translates from.
But I forgot how fun it is!
I’ve already shared predictions for certain categories such as scoring champion and best lineup, and have teamed up with Ben Ladner to share the selections for the standard slate of post season awards. Today, I’ve gone through and predicted win totals for every NBA team and compared them to Over/Under Lines, courtesy of our friends WynnBet. If you are looking for real betting advice, I would skip it altogether or bet against what I have.
Western Conference NBA victory predictions
1. Utah Jazz – 54 wins (over 52.5)
2. Phoenix Suns – 52 wins (over 51.5)
3. Denver Nuggets – 50 wins (over 47.5)
4. Golden State Warriors – 50 wins (over 48.5)
5. Los Angeles Lakers – 48 wins (under 52.5)
6. Portland Trail Blazers – 46 wins (over 44.5)
7. Los Angeles Clippers – 44 wins (under 45.5)
8. Memphis Grizzlies – 44 wins (over 41.5)
9. Dallas Mavericks – 41 wins (under 48.5)
10. Sacramento Kings – 40 wins (over 36.5)
11. New Orleans Pelicans – 38 wins (under 39.5)
12. Minnesota Timberwolves – 35 wins (under 35.5)
13. San Antonio Spurs – 26 wins (under 28.5)
14. Houston Rockets – 25 wins (under 27.5)
15. Oklahoma City Thunder – 22 wins (under 23.5)
The places where my picks differ most significantly from the over/under lines are the Dallas Mavericks (under), Los Angeles Lakers (under) and Sacramento Kings (over). In the case of Dallas, I think Jason Kidd as a coach is a huge net negative and has the ability to push things in a very chaotic direction from a personality standpoint. Considering how tough things already appear to be between Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, I think this is one that could be derailed quickly and gracefully.
As for the Lakers, I don’t trust Russell Westbrook, I worry about injuries and with this team’s experienced leadership, I don’t think they have any incentive to win regular season. He has the talent to get more than 48 wins but I don’t think he needs to get there. For the Kings, call it the Tyrese Halliburton bump.
Eastern Conference NBA victory prediction
1. Milwaukee Bucks – 55 wins (over 54.5)
2. Brooklyn Nets – 53 wins (under 56.5)
3. Boston Celtics – 49 wins (over 46.5)
4. Atlanta Hawks – 48 wins (over 46.5)
5. Philadelphia 76ers – 48 wins (under 50.5)
6. Miami Heat – 47 wins (under 48.5)
7. Chicago Bulls – 45 wins (over 42.5)
8. Indiana Pacers – 42 wins (under 42.5)
9. Charlotte Hornets – 41 wins (over 38.5)
10. Toronto Raptors – 40 wins (over 35.5)
11. New York Knicks – 38 wins (under 41.5)
12. Cleveland Cavaliers – 32 wins (over 26.5)
13. Washington Wizards – 30 wins (under 33.5)
14. Detroit Pistons – 26 wins (over 24.5)
15. Orlando Magic – 20 wins (under 22.5)
In the former, my places of choice that differ the most from the over/under line are the Cavaliers (over), Raptors (over), and Nets, Knicks and Wizards (under). In the case of Cleveland and Toronto, I like the mix of young players and veterans and I think both teams will be hungry enough to chase every win until the last day of the season, even if it’s obvious they’re not going to. Be a playoff team.
As for the Knicks, I think we’ll see some regression from Julius Randall, a lot of missed play from Kemba Walker and some erosion of the Thibodeau collision just from playing competently and aggressively. The Wizards are going to play Kyle Kuzma and Rui Hachimura, enough said. And for the Nets, I look at them like the Lakers. He will have some injuries and his focus is on the playoffs. There’s no reason to mash the throttle down trying to get the number one seed.
Western Conference teams post a winning record against Eastern Conference teams in 12 straight seasons. Will this change in 2021-22?
This week, The Long Two breaks down how much the Brooklyn Nets will miss Kyrie Irving on the court and how great the Raptors’ young core looks.