NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Should Bettors Believe the Detroit Pistons Hype?
Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit Pistons Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
- So Much Internal Improvement
- Positive Offensive Regression
- Dwane Casey
Look at all this promising talent!
Cade Cunningham started off the year horribly last year with an ankle sprain, and when he came back, his shot was a disaster. His eFG% was under 40% until December, and you could have blindfolded him and gotten approximately the same numbers.
Cunningham is healthier and stronger, and the game slowed down for him as the year went on, and he started to look like the No. 1 pick. If Cunningham had played the entire year like he did the last two months of the season, he would have won the Rookie of the Year even with outstanding seasons from Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley. He should be a monster this year in multiple categories.
Saddiq Bey, like the rest of the Pistons, looked terrible until the start of the calendar year and then kicked into high gear. Even after a horrible start to the season, Bey finished 54th percentile on jump shots, 64th percentile on catch-and-shoot, 57th percentile scoring out of pick-and-roll, and 65th percentile on hand-offs. He can be a top-level tip-of-the-spear scorer.
Jaden Ivey was considered to be in the same tier as Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith by smart draft people. He’s looked phenomenal in summer league and preseason, with an incredible burst.
One of Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart will be good. Stewart is a tough-as-nails center no one wants to mess with, and Duren’s athleticism is top-tier. They have creators, shooters, and screener-finishers among their group of young guys.
This is all buffered by a surprisingly veteran team. Eight players on roster have at least four years of experience, and Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and Nerlens Noel all figure to be in the top 10 of the rotation.
The Pistons’ offensive woes were much more than a rough start. Until Dec. 1, the Pistons held a 47.4% eFG despite shooting 36 3-point attempts per game. No team in NBA history has shot 30 3’s per game and had an eFG% below 48% for an entire season. It was literally an unsustainably bad shooting start.
With natural regression, internal improvement, and the addition of Bogdanovic (39% career 3-point shooter), Detroit’s offense will likely not be as bad as last year. I’m not saying it’ll be good, but it doesn’t have to be for them to pull up to 30 wins.
Going back to Casey’s first year with the Toronto Raptors, his teams are 8-2 to the over and 7-0 with a win total over 25 — so not outright tanking. (I’m ignoring his first stint as head coach in Minnesota; he was just a much better coach by the time he got the Raptors job.)
You can say that he’s 1-2 with the Pistons, but again, the two unders were true tanking seasons.
Detroit’s got too much momentum, and the market agrees, pushing their win total up to 29.5 after opening at 26.5 at one book and 28.5 at others. They’re a popular pick for a reason.
The Case for the Under
- Hold Your Horses
- The Offense Still Probably Stinks
Whoa, there! Let’s sloooow down.
This team was still 28th in offense, and 22nd in defense by adjusted ratings on Dunks And Threes. This team is B-A-D.
And that’s OK! They’re super young and learning. They get to be bad while they improve, but making a seven-win jump is a lot to expect from this team.
You have to think Detroit, in a monster draft class year, will pass up on draft equity to pursue regular season wins or be close enough to a play-in spot for it to act as an incentive late in the season.
The biggest concern here is being a year too early to the party. The Pistons will improve sometime in the next year to three years. But this might be the year they put into practice the elements that will get them there next year.
If Detroit’s at 25 wins with 20 to play, and too far out of the race for a play-in spot, are they really pushing for those final five wins?
I’d also argue the value is gone here. This opened 26.5 at PointsBet, then opened 27.5-28.5 in the rest of the market, and has been bet consistently to 29.5 across the board. When you’re down here in the sub-30 muck, each win is crucial.
That doesn’t mean the value is gone if you project this team at 31-36 wins or more. but it reduces the EV on the bet compared to the good value earlier.
Pistons Win Total Bet
I lean under, but will pass. A fun final trend to look at, with some context: Teams that won 24 or fewer games the prior season with a win total that's seven wins or more higher than their actual win count the year before and with a win total below 41 (sub-.500) are 10-4 to the over the last 10 years.
That’s a complicated trend; let me try and explain why it’s useful. If you’re a bad team that the market expects to be as many games better as the market expects the Pistons to be, but you’re not expected to be over .500, you’re 10-4 to the over in the last 10 years.
Small sample, but interesting.
The problem is that this has become a super-trendy team in discussions, which leads to the idea that they could be good-ish this season. If you’ve watched their preseason games, you know why that’s a dubious concept. Detroit’s offense is still going to be miserable, and most nights that will sink them.
I won’t be betting on the number at 29.5. I would be more surprised if they won 25 or fewer than if they won 35 or more. I just don't find this number a lot of fun to bet. You’re betting on a team not to completely suck. In the absence of fun, there has to be great value, and there isn’t enough of it here for me to feel comfortable.