Blazers 2019-20 Season Win Total: Don’t Expect Regular-Season Regression
Photo credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Terry Stotts and Damian Lillard
- Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) analyzes each team's win total odds.
- Below, Matt provides a case for the over and under + gives his confidence rating for the Portland Trail Blazers' win total this year.
All odds as of Friday. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Portland Trail Blazers Win Total
The Case for the Over (46, Circa)
Note: The getting was better on this one earlier in the summer. DraftKings had this as low as 46.5 in late July, and you could get it at 45 at various books in mid-July. That was an abject steal. This one’s a tougher nut to crack.
Look, I can make this complicated case based off Damian Lillard’s progression into an annual MVP darkhorse or how CJ McCollum is one of the best perimeter second options in the league. I can try and sell you on how Hassan Whiteside can fill in (with guidance from Terry Stotts and leadership from Lillard) for a few months until Jusuf Nurkic is back or how this is finally the year for Mario Hezonja.
But it’s all pretty unnecessary, and I don’t believe much of that.
I believe in Terry Stotts. Or rather, I believe in Terry Stotts after Christmas. From January through March, Stotts is 105-56 the last four seasons.
I wish I could tell you it’s because Stotts makes tactical adjustments on the New Year (maybe he does?) or some sport of spiritual energy awakens on Christmas in Oregon, but it’s really just one of those things.
You’ll see great teams, better than the Blazers, dealing with injuries when they play the Blazers. You’ll see Blazers who couldn’t shoot the whole year suddenly get hot.
It’s not all Dame; it’s definitely not the defense. It’s just one of those things that defies explanation and has to be accepted as an immutable law of the universe (until it’s muted).
So even though the Blazers got definably worse over the summer by adding perennial “No, no, it’s different this year” candidate Hezonja and Whiteside (who Miami was desperate to ditch), they’re going to suddenly go on that win streak in January and March and cruise to a top-six seed in the West. I don’t really know how; it’s just going to happen.
If this sounds stupid as a way to bet, I totally understand. But just please know that my analysis has evolved through the years from pure X’s and O’s and metrics to trying to understand how the ineffable rhythms of the regular season play out. And this is one of them.
They have Damian Lillard and Terry Stotts. They’re going over 46 wins.
The Case for the Under (47.5, DraftKings)
They got worse. Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless were playoff liabilities, but those are trustworthy, reliable, consistent regular-season rotation players.
Hezonja, Whiteside, Rodney Hood and youngsters Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little are not.
(Simons and Little have potential, to be sure, and Hood was great in the playoffs. I throw him in based on his career history, but truth be told I’m a Hood guy.)
You can buy the Hezonja hype if you want — not like it’s bitten both the Magic and Knicks in the backside. You can talk yourself into Whiteside. After all, not like he came from an organization with an impeccable record of getting the most out of players in Miami and still wound up unplayable. Wait, no, that’s exactly what happened.
This is a high number. If you think the West is going to have a handful of great teams, they can’t just get all their wins from the East. Someone’s going to have to suffer in the West outside of OKC, and Portland seems most ripe for it.
They have a top-12 schedule every month but March (clockwork) and the second most rest-disadvantage games in the league.
- The pick: Over 46
- Confidence: 7 out of 10
My main argument is that there’s an inarguable reason to take the over, because it doesn’t rely on logic or deductive reasoning but the way the universe works. There are times when I will buck those trends when the evidence is so overwhelming.
This isn’t one of them.
Stotts plus Lillard equals that January-through-March push, which will get them to 46-plus.
Take the over.