NBA Win Total Betting Odds & Picks: Buy the New-Look 76ers?
Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Simmons.
The NBA season restart is almost here!
It’s a little funky, if you’ve missed the news: Beginning Thursday, July 30, the 22 teams in Orlando, Florida will compete in eight final regular-season games to solidify seeding for the playoffs. There’s also a potential play-in scenario for both conferences between the 8- and 9-seeds, which we’ve detailed here.
Sportsbooks are taking advantage of the new format by offering win total odds for every team’s final eight games. Will the Lakers win over/under 5.5 games? What about the Nets, who are missing most of their key players?
Our NBA staff has analyzed the odds and offers its favorite win total bets below.
Brandon Anderson: Los Angeles Lakers under 5.5 wins
Odds: -159 at DraftKings [BET NOW]
Since we’re dealing with only eight games, I’m looking to bet on one of the teams near the extremes. I’m especially focusing on motivation.
The Lakers fit both criteria.
To go over 5.5 wins, they would have to go at least 6-2 in the bubble. That’s a 63-win pace, which is about where they were before the layoff.
But, who really cares? The Lakers sure shouldn’t.
They’re five games ahead of the Clippers for the No. 1 seed in the West. There’s no Finals home-court advantage to play for. And LeBron James’ MVP push is ostensibly over, because regular-season awards are already being finalized.
Why should I believe we’re getting anywhere near a full effort from the Lakers these eight games? Moreover, why would James or Anthony Davis play all eight games?
This team just needs to put those guys in bubble wrap until the first round and spend their time getting J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters in shape.
On top of that, the Lakers’ schedule is actually pretty tough. They open against a Clippers team that beat them twice already, then play the defending champions. After that, Los Angeles draws matchups against Utah, Oklahoma City, Houston, Indiana, and Denver: all of which are quality teams fighting for playoff positioning.
The only non-playoff team they play is in the finale against Sacramento. By then, the Kings may be desperate for a win while the Lakers should be resting. You only need three losses to cash the under, and every game on the schedule is a potential “L” for a team with no reason to care yet.
Matt Moore: Philadelphia 76ers over 5.5 wins
Odds: +130 at DraftKings [BET NOW]
I liked the Sixers’ over even before I saw Ben Simmons hitting 3s.
Still, Philadelphia’s greatest obstacle to six wins may be the health of Joel Embiid. He appeared lethargic in the 76ers’ scrimmage opener despite how much the organization had talked up his conditioning. Then he sat out the next game with calf soreness.
But honestly, even without Embiid, I’m not sure this team is any less dangerous. The 76ers have the ability to mix up their approach, they have plenty of shooters, and they’ve rebuilt the offense on the fly.
Their schedule is easy enough, and they won’t try to avoid the Bucks in the second round. Six wins is well within reach.
Bryan Mears: San Antonio Spurs under 2.5 wins
Odds: +105 at DraftKings [BET NOW]
I don’t think San Antonio was very good even before the COVID-19 layoff.
The Spurs sat in the bottom-half of the league way below .500, they report a -1.4 point differential and a bottom-10 defense. Further, they’ll be without LaMarcus Aldridge, who is not participating during the bubble.
Most importantly, though, the schedule is tough:
- Game 1: Sacramento Kings
- Game 2: Memphis Grizzlies
- Game 3: Indiana Pacers
- Game 4: Denver Nuggets
- Game 5: Utah Jazz
- Game 6: New Orleans Pelicans
- Game 7: Houston Rockets
- Game 8: Utah Jazz
The Spurs are already 2.5-point dogs to the Kings to kick things off. In how many games will they be favored? Maybe against the Grizzlies if Memphis has a rough first outing? Even that’s questionable.
The Spurs have no matchups against the top of the league (who may not care about seeding) or the bottom (who may not care and also suck). Instead, they have eight straight games against the middle of the pack. Most of San Antonio’s opponents will likely be motivated to win for seeding purposes.
There will be upsets, sure; and perhaps they won’t really miss Aldridge, who admittedly had negative on/off splits. But the schedule is still particularly tough when factoring in their opponents’ motivation for the two weeks.