NBA Win Total Odds & Picks: How to Bet Warriors, Clippers and More Pacific Division Teams

NBA Win Total Odds & Picks: How to Bet Warriors, Clippers and More Pacific Division Teams article feature image

Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Actual NBA basketball is officially back and while teams are getting ramped up, the window to bet futures as the regular season approaches is shortening. But don’t worry, we’ve been breaking down every team, division and player on the Buckets podcast (you can listen here).

I broke down my betting approach to teams in the SouthwestSoutheast, Northwest and Central divisions, and now we’re moving to the Pacific division, which has three certified contenders. Here’s a look at how I am betting (or why I’m not betting) each team in the division.

Sacramento Kings 33.5

That’s right, we have three teams in the Pacific division with a win total over 50 and all these great stars, but my best bet is on the Kings.

The Kings want to win. That goes such a long way in the regular season. Just a high-effort performance will get you there. They also have viable NBA starters and guys just below the star level with De’Aaron Fox, Keegan Murray, Domantas Sabonis, and maybe Davion Mitchell.

They added shooting with Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter, they brought in a professional, defense-first coach in Mike Brown.

Key Trend: The Kings were 3.4 wins better than they should have been by Pythagorean expectation. Teams with at least a +3.5 win differential in their actual from their expected mark, with a win total less than 50, are 10-6 to the over (62.5%).

Bottom Line: This team absolute reeks of 41 wins and a play-in spot, probably resulting in a painful, heartbreaking loss to extend the playoff drought. Low number, the trends support it. Let’s ride with the royalty.

For more on the Kings and my attempt to get past the pain of actually betting on good things for Sacramento, read the full write-up here.

Golden State Warriors 53.5

Even before the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole saga, there was value on this under.

The Warriors have the least motivation of any good team in the league. They have nothing to prove. The charm of going for a repeat isn’t new to them, they’ve already done it. They’re going for their fifth ring, what do they care about a January game vs. some Eastern Conference under .500 team?

They lost key bench players in Otto Porter and Gary Payton II. They have young players who can grow into key roles, but that comes with growing pains.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Green are all over 30 and have heavy miles. Green missed months last season, Curry missed time and Thompson is still coming back from two traumatic injuries. They don’t have reason to push themselves hard enough to risk more injuries. They know they’ll be there when April comes around.

Key Trend: Teams that go to Asia for preseason are 16-8 to the under since 2013. If that sounds random, the Warriors have spoken before about how it messes up their training camp schedule.

Bottom Line: They don’t need 53 wins to get the No. 5 seed. They don’t need home court to win the title. And then you have all the Draymond stuff and the uncertainty with several players working for extensions.

This number is for teams that want to put up a great record. The Warriors have no reason to pursue that. Trust the championship hangover factor.

For more on the Warriors, including a bizarre preseason trend that impacts team win totals, read the full write-up here.

Los Angeles Clippers 51.5

This is a best-bet, but I don’t like it as much as the two above. It’s a high number, those teams don’t usually go over. But this is the deepest team in the league.

When know the key question surrounding this team: How many games will Kawhi Leonard play? I have a contrarian take: It honestly doesn’t matter as long as it’s over 40. If you get him for a half-season, that’s honestly enough.

The Clippers’ win probability doesn’t go to zero without Leonard. It didn’t go to zero last year when he missed the whole season, it didn’t go to zero when Paul George went down for months at the same time.

In the meantime, they have multiple ball-handlers, tons of shooters, multiple looks they can throw at teams, a hyper-efficient style, a top-five coach in Tyronn Lue, and two superstars.

Key Trend: The trends suggest caution, like the fact that teams that won fewer than 45 games with a win total over 50 are 6-0 to the under in the last 10 years. But this is a different situation with the injuries. It’s a one-of-one condition, and I trust the Clippers to be able to get to 53 wins.

Bottom Line: If Kawhi and PG play 70 games, this is an absolute coast over. They probably go over if they play 50 games each but not the same 50 games.

If it’s 40? I still think they can get there. That’s how much I believe that the regular season is about how you manage your effort and schedule and not about how good you are.

In this division, you have to have one team among the Suns, Warriors, and Clippers you buy. I’m buying the Clippers.

For more on the Clippers, including why their depth matters so much in the regular season, read the full write-up here.

Los Angeles Lakers 44.5

If Davis and James play 60 games, then this is an over. They win 70% of their games when those two are together.

The Russell Westbrook thing just hangs in the air like a foul smell. Maybe Darvin Ham figures out a solution, and maybe Westbrook’s work on his 3-point shot makes a difference. Maybe they pull off a trade that makes this number completely outdated instantly.

But on the other side, the rest of the roster is all upside with nothing reliable. They have to hope some of their moonshots (Kendrick Nunn, Lonnie Walker, Austin Reeves) land and the top guys stay healthy.

Key Trend: Teams that had between 30 and 40 wins in a season with a win total the following year between 40 and 50 (a key number) in the last 10 years are 12-8 to the over (60%). To make that make sense if you’re bad but not awful, and the market expects you to be good but not great, you tend to go over.

Bottom Line: Too much volatility, and too much uncertainty. If the Lakers make a big trade, there will still be time to get good value on their playoff futures. If they don’t, you can bet against them night by night. Not excited to bet this, gonna stay away. I lean under, but I don’t want to bet against James.

For more on the Lakers, including all the different deviations of the Westbrook experiment’s eventual conclusion, read the full write-up here.

Phoenix Suns 52.5

Phoenix has a lot of bad vibes.

The Deandre Ayton situation seems uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Jae Crowder is away from the team awaiting a trade, and there’s no telling what they get back. He was a big deal for them on both sides of the ball, hitting big-time shots and playing physical defense.

The bench seems really bad in preseason. There were cracks in it last year that seems to be spreading.

Then again, this is a core that has absolutely torn up the league for years. The consistency and reliability of Chris Paul in pick and roll with Devin Booker doing work and Mikal Bridges’ defense is sound. Ayton seems miserable, but he is still one of the seven best centers in the league.

Key Trend: Teams that won 60 or more are 8-6 to the under the following season in the last 10 seasons. Teams with a win total over 50 have gone 31-16-1 to the under the last ten seasons. If you bump it up to 53.5 wins, the under is 24-10 (70.5%).

Bottom Line: There’s so much uncertainty about the vibes surrounding a really reliable formula at a very high number. Let’s just not mess with it.

For more on what bettors should expect from the Suns, read the full write-up here.

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