It’s not too late to throw some jellybeans on a few NBA prop bets. Prop bets have become individualized so much that you can bet on a specific person’s assists per game for a season. I just like to stick to a vanilla approach to NBA props. My favorite NBA prop bets are regular season over/unders.
The Boston Celtics boned up their roster this offseason. Can they win more than 54.5 games and hit the over?
Here are our 2017-18 NBA over/under season wins total picks for the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta Hawks – 24 1/2 Wins – OVER
Atlanta no longer have PF Paul Millsap and C Dwight Howard, but I still see them as a 30-win team. The Hawks are officially PG Dennis Schroder’s team. He took a huge step forward last year. I’m curious to see how well rookie PF John Collins will do this season. He should gets plenty of minutes. Atlanta should be a few wins over this season win total
Boston Celtics – 54 1/2 Wins – OVER
We all know about the Celtics mega-trade that sent PG Isaiah Thomas (and random future assets) to Cleveland for PG Kyrie Irving. Boston also signed SF Gordon Hayward to a huge free agent deal. The Cletics won 53 games a season ago and many of those games were extremely close. Thomas was a beast for them, but I have to assume the combo of Irving and Hayward will boost the win total by a couple wins. Boston will be playing for the #1 seed, so if Cleveland (or some other team) pushes Boston to play their starters the entire season, they will eclipse this total.
Brooklyn Nets – 27 1/2 Wins – UNDER
The Nets won 20 games last year and I don’t see the roster being much better. They did pull the trigger on a trade that sent C Brook Lopez to the Lakers for young PG D’Angelo Russell. He will score a lot of points, since he’s a shoot-first point guard, but I don’t see them being very good on defense. The Nets have no reason to tank due to them not owning their first-round pick, but they are not eight wins better than last year.
Charlotte Hornets – 42 Wins – OVER
Charlotte is an interesting team. I’m usually more bullish than most when it comes to the Hornets. This season is no different with the addition of C Dwight Howard and rookie SG Malik Monk. Howard is no longer in his prime, not because he is physically a wreck, but I question his motivation. He will still be an upgrade over PF Cody Zeller. I would still like to see Zeller play 20+ minutes at center with PF Frank Kaminsky playing a stretch-four. The Hornets will be a playoff team and should hit the over in season wins.
Chicago Bulls – 22 Wins – OVER
The Bulls will look like a completely different team this season. The only pieces still there are PFs Nikola Mcotic and Bobby Portis, and SF Denzel Valentine. There are a lot of young guns on this team. I love SF Zach LaVine and once he’s ready to return from ACL surgery, he will be an explosive scorer. I still question how well they will be on defense. They will be playing Robin Lopez at center, who would be a nice bench player at that position, but not a starter. The lineup will start to turn into a possible 23+ win team once rookie PF Lauri Markkanen starts to get more minutes. I’m taking the over here, but it will be close.
Cleveland Cavaliers – 54 Wins – UNDER
I am never fond of a team that looks like an All-Star team from five years earlier. I’m sure additions of Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose will lead to a few wins, but I don’t think they’ll stay healthy all year. Also, PG Isaiah Thomas’s ability to contribute is sketchy, at best. He’s still having trouble with lateral movement due to his hip labrum issue. The Cavs will win 50+ games, but I am not putting any jellybeans on a possible 55-win total.
Detroit Pistons – 38 1/2 Wins – OVER
The Pistons won 37 games last year and I see them finishing with near that same mark. They lost SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and gained SG Avery Bradley. I see the rest of the roster additions and subtractions as a wash. I am curious to see if Detroit plays SF Stanley Johnson more this year. He has improved each season since the 2015 NBA Draft. I’m taking the slight over and they could make the postseason by a game or two.
Indiana Pacers – 30 1/2 Wins – OVER
The Pacers are a pretty different team going into this season. SF Paul George is now in Oklahoma City and SG Victory Oladipo and PF Domantas Sabonis were the bounty in that trade. Two rookies also appear to be in Indiana’s future UCLA duo PF T.J. Leaf and C Ike Anigbogu. Leaf has been a stud this preseason. I’m also curious how the Pacers will play SF Bojan Bogdanovic, who I’ve loved when I caught a Nets game. He will see a lot of minutes while SF Glenn Robinson III is out months due to ankle surgery. I know people expect a huge drop-off from the Pacers, but they never tank. Indiana fans don’t buy tickets when they are bad, they just don’t. They will probably finish as the ninth-best team in the East, just like they did before drafting Roy Hibbert and Paul George.
Miami Heat – 44 1/2 Wins – OVER
The Heat has a lot of parts which should mesh this season. They had a ton of injuries last year and a guy like SF justise Winslow hasn’t played a ton of minutes with some guys who came on as the season ended. Defense will be their best attribute, yes, even with SG Dion Waiters in the game. They have a lot of guys who can play both sides of the ball. They should be a playoff team this season.
Milwaukee Bucks – 47 Wins – OVER
This one is pretty easy. I’ve been singing the Bucks praise for the last few seasons. I saw them adding piece after piece at the draft. It’s been a long time since they whiffed on a pick. They seem to have a rookie near the top of the Rookie of the Year voting every season. It wouldn’t surprise me, if given enough minutes, PF D.J. Wilson would be another top rookie. The Bucks will earn one of the top-four seeds in the East this year.
New York Knicks – 28 1/2 Wins – UNDER
The Knicks have roster built for the 1995 NBA season. They have a roster full of bigs set to run a Jeff VanGundy offense (slow and steady). The roster is horrible by today’s standards. Kristaps Porzingis is a stud, but how long can a team wait to build around a 7’3 guy? I know he’s only 22 years old, but the Knicks are YEARS and YEARS away from being a title contender. It wouldn’t shock me if the Knicks traded Zinger to a team for a buttload of future picks. I don’t see them sniffing 30 wins this year.
Orlando Magic – 33 1/2 Wins – UNDER
The Magic are roughly the same team that they ended the season with last Spring. I don’t see head coach Frank Vogel to last very long. The Magic hired new GM in May and I’m sure he will want his own guy. I predict the Magic to start unloading guys this Winter. They are not hitting 34 wins.
Philadelphia 76ers – 39 Wins – UNDER
This one is tricky. The Sixers have a lot going for them with tons of top draft picks. PF Ben Simmons will make his season debut along with the 2017 NBA Draft #1 pick PG Markelle Fultz. Let’s not forget C Joel Embiid will start the season healthy. Also, PF Dario Saric made huge strides in his first season in Philly last year. It doesn’t take much to go from a 20-win team to a 35-win team, but to get over the 40-win threshold is a huge step. I worry about they don’t have fast enough wings to score and guard on defense. I also worry about the fragility of Embiid. He will need to play the entire season to hit this over.
Toronto Raptors – 48 1/2 Wins – OVER
As long as the Raptors have PG Kyle Lowry and SG DeMar DeRozan, they will be a 40+ win team. Last year’s late-season addition of PF Serge Ibaka just changed their swagger. They had interior defense and they could guards the perimeter better with Ibaka in the paint. Also, Ibaka was able to stretch the floor on offense and open up lanes for Lowry to drive.
Washington Wizards – 49 Wins – OVER
The Wizards had 49 wins last year. I think they will gain at least one more win. The maturation of SF Otto Porter Jr. should give the Wiz a bump of a few wins. I’ve been bullish on the Wizards a few times in the past and it didn’t pan out…so I am a bit gun-shy, but I’ll still take the over.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.