• Jonathan Le

Three Bets on the Upcoming NBA Season

USA Today

San Antonio Spurs: OVER 45 wins

2017-2018 record: 47-35

Notable Additions: DeMar DeRozan, Marco Belinelli, Lonnie Walker IV

Notable Subtractions: Kawhi Leonard drama, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green

If I had to pick one bet to stand by all year, this is it. With an elderly roster and their best player sitting out essentially the entire year, the Spurs still found a way to win 47 games last year. Shout out to coach Gregg Popovich. They’ve gotten younger and more athletic by drafting Walker IV, who some think may become the steal of the draft. More importantly, the Spurs acquired an extremely motivated four-time All-Star in DeRozan with a major chip on his shoulder. DeRozan added the three pointer to his arsenal last year and will drastically improve on defense under coach Pop.

The Spurs have won over 45 games every year SINCE 1996, the year that David Robinson was hurt that ultimately led to drafting Tim Duncan. If the Spurs win under 45 games this year, they likely will miss the Playoffs. That also has not happened since 1996, and I don’t see a healthy team under Pop missing it this year.

Indiana Pacers: OVER 48 wins

2017-2018 record: 48-34

Notable Additions: Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, Kyle O’Quinn

Notable Subtractions: Lance Stephenson, Glen Robinson III

The Pacers were one of the positive surprises last year, namely due to the growth of Victor Oladipo. They came within inches of knocking out the Cavaliers in the first round of the Playoffs, who of course went on to win the Eastern Conference. With LeBron’s departure to the Lakers, the Pacers should become a top 3-4 seed in the East.

The Pacers’ young core will continue to improve, and Oladipo will continue his ascent into a legit star. The Pacers have enjoyed a sneaky-good offseason by signing Evans, McBuckets and O’Quinn - who will all contribute immediately. I think this is a pretty easy bet on the over.

Houston Rockets: OVER 56 wins

2017-2018 record: 65-17

Notable Additions: Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Knight*, Marquese Chriss*

Notable Subtractions: Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ryan Anderson’s behemoth contract

I’m a bit biased as a Houstonian, but I don’t see the Rockets losing 9 more games than last season. Yes, losing Ariza and Mbah a Moute was significant and it may take time to integrate the incoming players (especially Melo). But overall, I think the additions they’ve made set them up to have a successful season similar to last year.

The Rockets are motivated to win as many regular season games as possible. Coach D’Antoni and Daryl Morey fully recognize that any chance of beating the Warriors rests squarely on home court advantage. The Warriors likely will not be as motivated, since they know its their title to lose and only need to turn it on in the Playoffs. Additionally, they’ll be in no rush to play DeMarcus Cousins until he is fully healthy and ready to go.

Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Morey has a few more tricks up his sleeve to further improve the roster (i.e. Jimmy Butler). His Twitter account and other Rockets’ social media has been strangely quiet about Knight and Chriss, which to me suggests he’s up to something.

Note: Over/under season bets based on the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook as of September 25, 2018.

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