The NBA Championship Hangover Effect: Do Title Teams Go Under Their Win Total the Next Year?

Jun 24, 2019 04:05 PM EDT

Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard and Raptors celebrating title

  • Do NBA title teams have a "championship hangover effect" and typically go under their next-season win total?
  • Below I look at data from the last 20 years to find out, and I discuss what it means for the 2019-20 Toronto Raptors.

When my colleague Matt Moore highlighted which current 2019-20 NBA win totals to bet and which to stay away from, he mentioned a potential “NBA championship hangover effect” for the Toronto Raptors next year.

That got me thinking whether that’s been a quantifiable thing for championship teams the next season. Or perhaps the public overrates such teams. Either way, it’s an interesting question: Do title teams usually go under their win total the following year?

Do NBA Title Teams Have a “Championship Hangover”? has win total data going back to the 2002 season, so we have roughly 17 years of data with which to look at this question. Below is a table of each title team’s wins and win total for that championship year, as well as its next-season win total and whether it hit it.

model helps you find edges when betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game
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