Ah, that time is upon us once again. Can you feel it in the air? The leaves begin to fall and the cold winds begin Autumn’s descent on North America, which obviously can only mean one thing, right? The NBA season is BACK! Preseason games have already begun, but there is still time to get in your yearlong NBA bets and futures. In this article, we’ll be looking at what I think are the most interesting of all year long bets— the win total over/under.
Please note these lines are all as of October 4th, per CBS Sports and subject to change leading into the season.
Rather than going through every team, we’ve picked out a few choice lines that we will label Balls and Brains based on if this is a SMART and LOGICAL pick (thats Brains), or if it’s a BOLD and BRAVE pick (that, obviously, is balls).
Let’s start with the brainy picks –
Memphis Grizzlies OVER 43.5 wins:
Memphis won 42 game last year, close to the 44 wins needed to win this bet, and they did it while missing several of their best players for long stretches at a time. Point guard Mike Conley, who got a huge new contract this summer, only played 56 games. Former defensive player of the year and anchor, Marc Gasol only played 52. If Memphis stays healthier this season, along with the arrival of sharpshooting wing Chandler Parsons, 44 wins seems absolutely doable. This is a brainy pick.
Atlanta Hawks OVER 43.5 wins:
Another team at the 43.5 total—maybe Vegas doesn’t know what to do with the “just slightly above average” teams, and 43.5 is something of an easy line. The Hawks won 48 games last year, far surpassing this 43.5 number, but may have some regression this year due to player turnover. Long time center Al Horford has shipped up to Boston, and starting point guard Jeff Teague has been shipped to Indiana. But take another look — Teague will be replaced by young German guard Dennis Schroeder, a player that the Hawks organization have wanted to take the starting role for some time, and may actually be better than Teague. Meanwhile, Horford will be replaced with Atlanta native and former All-NBA player Dwight Howard. If Dwight can find a rhythm in his hometown, there is no reason to believe the Hawks can’t reel off another 48 win season and blast through this over under.
San Antonio Spurs UNDER 57.5 wins
Betting the under on the Spurs seems like sacrilege, this team just always wins and is always good—and to be sure, will be good again this season. But 58 wins good? Tim Duncan retired, and though he has been a notch slower these last couple years, Timmy was still the anchor on defense and a gifted passer on offense. They will miss Duncan’s steady hand, as well as backup center Boris Diaw’s (now in Utah) playmaking. Relying on older players such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol means the reserve players will see heavy minutes as San Antonio rests its older stars. San Antonio is known for saving for the playoffs, and if they are locked into a playoff position they may rest players at the end of the season leading to a few more losses. These losses might be insignificant to the Spurs overall season, but significant to bettors.
There are your brainy picks. Let’s take a look at some, well, more ballsy picks.
Minnesota Timberwolves OVER 41.5 wins
Minnesota is very, VERY young, and is riding a hype train that is picking up steam faster than any other team in the league. They’ve got a lot of talented players, but they are all young, with a new coach and a tough division, it’s difficult to feel good about the Timberwolves winning 42 games. If the Timber Pups did win 42 games, it would be the first time they’d been over .500 in 12 seasons. But if you love their young talent (two straight Rookie of the Year players!), maybe you’ve got the balls to ride this one out.
Golden State Warriors UNDER 66.5 wins
Golden State is an anomaly. A team that just set the all time NBA record with 73 regular season wins, has added a top 3 player in Kevin Durant without losing too much. It is very possible that this team wins 67+ again—but isn’t it more fun to root for them to lose? Place this bet with your heart and not your brain and enjoy rooting for the Warriors opponents all year long.
Brooklyn Nets OVER 21.5 wins
This is basically the exact opposite of the Warriors bet. The Nets are bad, real bad, and might end up being the worst team in the league. But hey, to win this bet, you only need them to win 22 games—so even when the Nets have been eliminated from playoff contention, your bet will still be very live. The Nets will be underdogs in most games, and who doesn’t like rooting for the underdogs?
Well there you have it, the balls and brains picks for the 2016-2017 NBA season. May all your bets be live and may your teams cover.