Westgate releases NBA Season Wins here are a few to bet
August 07, 2018 3:00 AM
by Tony Mejia
Although Sundays will be for football from here on out, the Westgate Superbook celebrated the first one in August by releasing their projected win totals for the 2018-19 NBA season. I’ll be moving on to college football in this space until the basketballs are bouncing again in November, but we’ll leave hoops on a high note with recommendations on the top over/under calls.
Chicago Bulls (27.5): The big splash was getting Jabari Parker to return to his hometown after a disappointing run in Milwaukee spoiled by two ACL tears. The Bulls are rolling the dice on him getting into great shape and staying healthy, making him their highest-paid player this season after giving him a two-year/$40 million offer sheet that the Bucks opted not to match.
With Zach LaVine healthy, Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis looking like productive frontcourt options and Carter coming on board as a post threat, the Bulls should be much improved. At 100-to-1 to win the Central, that’s worth a gamble given LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland. Great value here on the win total too, since they’ve got a shot at a winning record if everything goes right.
Cleveland Cavaliers (30.5): Locking up Kevin Love was the only move GM Koby Altman could make since you hold on to your best assets whenever possible, but $120 million over four years won’t make him easy to deal if the need arises. With LeBron James leaving, the Cavs are going to rebuild around Love and rely almost exclusively on a supporting cast that just failed miserably around the league’s best player in June’s Finals.
The new blood comes via No. 8 pick Collin Sexton, who will have to beat out Jordan Clarkson and George Hill for the keys but is a nice Rookie of the Year option if he’s successful. His selection is the highlight of a dark but inevitable offseason and will probably help this group avoid a 50-loss season.
Houston Rockets (54.5): Even though Carmelo Anthony’s addition has been met with nearly universal panning, there is a chance this ends up a better fit for him since there will be less wear and tear on him down the stretch.
Second-round pick De’Anthony Melton looks like a steal and the other new blood could be an asset to guard against complacency.
Indiana Pacers (47.5): Forward Thaddeus Young opted back in, preferring to push free agency off to next summer, so GM Kevin Pritchard got a nice surprise regarding one of his biggest decisions. Tyreke Evans was the big get, especially if he can build off a resurgent season in Memphis.
Kyle O’Quinn and Doug McDermott were solid signings, rounding out the frontcourt with a pair of competitive veterans. Lance Stephenson’s loss will be felt, but Evans is an upgrade and both rookies are the type to fit in and make everybody better.
Oklahoma City Thunder (50.5) Keeping Paul George from leaving for L.A. was GM Sam Presti’s biggest win this offseason, but he added some underrated pieces and unloaded Anthony while getting a much-needed sixth man in Dennis Schroder, who will take some pressure off Russell Westbrook. With defensive stopper Andre Roberson returning, OKC is loaded enough to expect a top-four Western Conference finish and a Northwest Division title.
Brooklyn Nets (32.5): GM Sean Marks turned briefly, taking on Dwight Howard into additional cap room for next summer and re-signed Joe Harris, whose efficiency last season opened some eyes. Although he’s talked openly about competing for a playoff berth, Marks’ team remains another year away. Getting D’Angelo Russell to grow up and capitalize on his huge potential joins developing center Jarrett Allen into a huge asset in his second season as franchise priorities, but they’ll take their lumps and lose at least 50 games.
Toronto Raptors (54.5): There are too many variables to call for 55 wins here, from Nick Nurse taking over in the head chair for Dwane Casey to Kahwi Leonard getting acclimated to a new system while coming off an injury. He won’t be dogging it in a contract year, but will likely err on the side of caution, especially early or in back-to-backs. I just don’t see them being cohesive enough to win the Atlantic again, so look for a dip.
LA Clippers (35.5): Losing DeAndre Jordan officially put an end to the “Lob City” era, although head coach Doc Rivers is hanging around to mold this new version. Marcin Gortat may start in the middle, but this team will likely play more small ball given the assembled personnel.
New York Knicks (29.5): The David Fizdale era begins and the Knicks will be better for it – just probably not this season. The franchise is likely best served giving Kristaps Porzingis most of the season off as he returns from a torn ACL, which would afford Kentucky’s Kevin Knox a great opportunity to get more touches early, aiding his development.
Portland Trail Blazers (41.5): The Blazers won a division title and then were immediately humbled by New Orleans in the first round, so head coach Terry Stotts will have to help his team leave that demoralizing sweep in the past. Last year’s lottery pick, Zach Collins, will be the x-factor, but the guards behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will be extremely young and inexperienced. Someone has to freefall in the West. This is the top candidate to do so.