October 2, 2022, 11:46 pm
Hey look at me I got my win totals out faster than Dan Besbris did this season!
Writing this up has been fun, too, because I hadn’t looked at my record from last season until just now and apparently we killed it! 18–12 on the season picking all 30 teams and then 9-4 on the subscriber only plays for a tidy profit of nine units.
Add that to the 30 units we won in our NBA Playoff Journal and then the 30 units we won betting sides and totals in the playoffs and we quietly ran up 70 units last year in part-time work. This might be the most efficient approach for me handicapping as the grind of the NBA season brings things back to a more realistic place, where in my only season doing that I ran a 20 unit profit on a massive 284-241 record. 54 percent most definitely pays the bills but unfortunately there’s no way I will have time to do that this season given the growth of this website and medical issues that keep me from being able to type.
Nevertheless, it would be sacrilegious not to use the hundreds of hours of studying for the B150 to push across wins totals bets year after year.
I’m going to make my plays for all 30 teams here (29 if I don’t update whenever Boston is back on the board) … And for WagerPass subscribers I will post Subscriber Only Plays, NBA Champ plays, Conference Championship plays, Division plays, MVP plays, Rookie of the Year plays, Coach of the Year plays and Defensive Player the Year plays. So many plays so little time!
* due to typing limitations and overall time limitations I’m going to be keeping these write ups short.
ATLANTA HAWKS OVER 45.5
Atlanta has some flaws and I can pick apart their depth but the acquisition of Dejounte Murray is as good as it gets to pair with Trae Young. This is going to pick up the pace for them and mix well with De’Andre Hunter and Onyeka Okongwu. Passing the torch from Clint Capela to the latter will also help. Keeping Bogdan Bogdanović on a pitch count because the backcourt is so solid helps as well. John Collins, presuming the trade rumor mill doesn’t distract everybody … It’s probably already white noise… He’s ready to get a bunch of easy lobs from a pair of lightning quick guards.
BOSTON CELTICS XXXXXXXXX
BROOKLYN NETS UNDER 51.5
Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons what could possibly go wrong? Even if we assume they play well and we give credit for some generally solid and predictable assets in Seth Curry, Royce O’Neale and Patty Mills, and young players we like such as Nic Claxton and Yuta Watanabe, the entire league has seen the talent level increase substantially and winning 52 games is very hard. There are so many ways this can derail for them.
CHARLOTTE HORNETS OVER 36.5
I’ll just be straightforward and say that I don’t have any interest in this bet but the squad is always undervalued because of the market, there are a number of players I like and then what happens if Miles Bridges somehow plays. I like Steve Clifford but even if things are going well they could easily be in the bottom third of the league.
CHICAGO BULLS UNDER 43.5
Yes, all of the early stories about Zach LaVine or that his knee is fine but I’m totally skeptical there. Their depth is fraying both on the perimeter and also down low, where Nikola Vucevic could start slipping into serious decline at any moment. It’s asking a lot for DeMar DeRozan to play as well as he did last season.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS OVER 46.5
These guys could have some issues gelling but based on pure talent they’re simply better than this number. How much better is a very fair question.
DALLAS MAVERICKS UNDER 48.5
Luka is going to be under a tremendous amount of pressure to win games as expectations are through the roof and more or less the squad is the same as last year, with a notable exception in Jalen Brunson. I think it’s fair to expect them to improve as a team but they’re not necessarily better, while the rest of the West is much better and so is the league as a whole.
DENVER NUGGETS UNDER 50.5
Nikola Jokić alone commands respect to theoretically hit this number but there’s a lot going on under the hood in Denver, getting Jamal Murray and Michael Porter back on track while integrating some new important pieces like Bruce Brown and Bones Hyland. Factor in the increased competition and it’s asking a lot for them to be this good.
DETROIT PISTONS UNDER 28.5
There is the Cade Cunningham factor and along with Jaden Ivey there is some young team hype brewing here, so paired with a veteran coach in Dwane Casey and some notable but declining veterans I guess it makes sense why the number is this high. The vacuum created by the bottom of the tanking race alone should be compelling this year, but talent wise I’m not even sure they could get here even if everything goes well.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS OVER 51.5
The Golden State bench is good and mixed with the veterans they can set a big trajectory at any point in time, while staying competitive if they rest their guys which they will.
HOUSTON ROCKETS UNDER 23.5
Whatever it looks like on offense with Alperen Sengun the defensive equation is going to be crap any which way you slice it. It could be just very bad or it could be multiple 10+ game losing streak bad. Factor in tanking and we’re going under here.
INDIANA PACERS OVER 24.5
Indiana is going to be outgunned on most nights but they’re going to play hard and unlike other really bad teams they will have an excellent floor general in Tyrese Halliburton getting the most out of them. It’s important to note that they won’t be completely disadvantaged physically in a lot of matchups and have enough skill to be competitive quite a bit.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS UNDER 52.5
The public is expecting both superstars to return without a hitch and it was embarrassing how many media and so-called analysts overrated the acquisition of John Wall. Nothing against the guy, but he wasn’t good before all of the time off and Reggie Jackson isn’t too far removed from carrying the team two playoffs ago. This is a question of overall competition in the West and whether this squad can be this dominant, and though they are going to patch things up with creative lineups in the frontcourt they are more or less outgunned there.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS OVER 45.5
Yes, Team LeBron could hang a hard left at any time and head for the hills, but it makes a lot of sense for them to dig in and try to build something with this season. You know all the big names but the ones that most don’t know are the ones that make me think they can cruise past this number. Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn and Damian Jones are going to make them credible in ways that the public isn’t close to giving them credit for. Yes, this is a public team and it always will be but this is the first time I’ve thought they’ve been underrated in a while.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES UNDER 49.5
Losing De’Anthony Melton and Jaren Jackson is losing way too much defense for the squad to carry a 50 win season with competition improving everywhere else.
MIAMI HEAT UNDER 49.5
I’m always hesitant to bet against Miami but age and mileage are an issue and I think they are stuck in a situation where they have to at least try to make Bam Adebayo an offensive thing… And he’s just not. And he’s not as good defensively as everybody thinks he is unless he somehow had a very good off-season including a visit to the fountain of youth. He just doesn’t slide his feet as well and then offensively he’s taking up way too real estate for the value he is providing.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS UNDER 53.5
These guys are going to play it safe and as mentioned a number of times the competition league-wide has improved… While they have continuity they didn’t really improve and two of their big three have been somewhat dinged up heading into the season.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES UNDER 48.5
Early in October as I write this there have been some weird reports regarding KAT and hospitalization but I’m just gonna assume they are nothing for the purpose of this evaluation. If anything changes I’ll try to get back here and make an update. Obviously, the choice to bring in Rudy Gobert is not one that I think will work with regard to cost of acquisition and overall trajectory, and the bet Minnesota made that his lack of offensive usage would translate to winning efficiency is overoptimistic to me at best. I don’t think the personalities are going to work and I think even if it went well that they would run into challenges with the competition they are going to face.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS OVER 44.5
I faded these guys last year and now I’m on the other side of the fence. I feel like Zion is a bonus here because removing him the team still has several compelling aspects and we saw that play out against Phoenix in the playoffs. Brandon Ingram will make a case this season to be a top five NBA player. I don’t know if he’ll get there but he’s good enough that he’ll be in the discussion. The other pieces are extremely compelling and complementary.
NEW YORK KNICKS UNDER 39.5
Whether it’s Tom Thibodeau starting to lose the squad if they lose games, personnel that probably wants out and the mishmash of different priorities throughout the lineup… They don’t have the talent or the situation to stay above water has a bottom third team in the East.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER UNDER 23.5
The number is low as usual. Teams take them lightly so any good fortune can gash this number pretty quick and at the same time the tanking situation and low talent is what it is.
ORLANDO MAGIC OVER 26.5
They’re easily a bottom third team in the East but talent-wise they have players that can actually make a difference in terms of upward mobility, so they have more than a puncher’s chance of staying in contention for a play-in game down the stretch. Whether it’s tanking or trouble sharing the basketball with a number one overall selection that takes the air out of the ball and may not yet deserve such usage, or an organization that is also bottom third, it’s tough to get too excited about climbing over this number.
PHILADELPHIA SIXERS OVER 50.5
Well everybody will talk about James Harden and MVP candidate Joel Embiid, I like the fact that Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle are compelling AF. With or without Harden I like this number, and this organization has a ton of people that need to prove themselves right now. That audio of doc Rivers coaching up Harden illustrated some of the challenges but even there he won’t be nearly as detrimental in some of his approaches as he has lost his diva power.
PHOENIX SUNS UNDER 52.5
Monty Williams doesn’t believe in letting up down the stretch but I think organizationally they’ll take it down a notch. They just experienced how winning a lot of games doesn’t matter if the chemistry isn’t right. To me, in early October, it appears like they know they are better without Jae Crowder and they are, as evidenced in the playoffs last year he appeared to be persona non grata, but in terms of regular season wins it looks like they’re going to lose depth and therefore some wins.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS OVER 39.5
They had an outstanding off-season acquiring high-end needs and Damian Lillard sounds like he is healthy and ready to go.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS UNDER 23.5
This is typically a place that you like to go with the over but with the tanking situation the way that it is I don’t see how you could play the over with any degree of confidence.
SACRAMENTO KINGS OVER 33.5
Yes, the league at large is better than it has ever been and the West is stacked, and the Kings are uniquely equipped to let their fans down. You can accurately describe the issues presented by building around Domantas Sabonis but those don’t matter in a one year bet. The organizational push to make the playoffs is about as great as it gets and the two kingpins are individually facing pressure to live up to expectations, as the supporting cast is easily good enough to make the playoffs with in any slippage Will likely fall at their feet. They’ll have to play defense to make the playoffs, but this team simply needs to not do Kangz stuff and they will easily pass this number. Famous last words of course.
TORONTO RAPTORS OVER 45.5
Toronto has continuity and their core unit is good enough to win 50 games. It doesn’t leave a ton of margin for error but the idea they can’t be a .500 squad is pretty ridiculous, so imagining five additional wins isn’t that hard at all. This one likely comes down to whether they stay healthy.
UTAH JAZZ UNDER 25.5
Whether it’s being a very bad team in a very good conference and league or the potential for tanking, dismantling and otherwise preparing for the future, it feels like it would be a tremendous upset for them to not hit the under here.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS UNDER 35.5
There are a number of good players on this team and Bradley Beal is poised to start leaning into his big contract. Kristaps Porziņģis might throw caution to the wind this year and play through injuries knowing it’s now or never. Monty Morris and Kyle Kuzma will bring a studying presence, and though Will Barton has his issues he might be the least compelling of a young wing group that showed promise last season. Delon Wright and Rui Hachimura are pretty good found money as far as back-end rotation players go. Why go under? They’re going to be outgunned on a lot of nights and one to two key injuries can probably put this number out of reach for them.
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