San Antonio Spurs 2021 NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Don’t Bet Against Gregg Popovich
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.
Spurs Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
A great deal went wrong for San Antonio last year, you know, before the global pandemic. Dejounte Murray regressed as he tried to come back from his injury. The defense fell off a cliff for the first time in a decade. LaMarcus Aldridge suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of the bubble.
Noting gelled for the Spurs.
However, there’s so much young talent on this roster with Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker. Internal improvement seems pretty likely.
The Spurs’ offense was still great at 10th in the league in offensive rating. You would think that the Spurs, with Gregg Popovich as coach, will not repeat a bottom-10 defensive performance. That’s simply not in their character.
Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan were awful on the floor defensively last season. However, they were both individually and cooperatively better — not good, still bad, but better– with Bryn Forbes off the floor. The difference was roughly four points per 100 possessions allowed for each of them without Forbes.
That difference, plus internal improvement, set them up to not be awful. Bear in mind that this number represents a regression from last season. They were already the worst Spurs team of Popovich’s tenure, and now they’re going to be worse?
You can make the case for this being an overreaction.
The Case for the Under
The Spurs started in a deficit more often than not last year. If you’re an above .500 team, you’re expecting your best players — your starters — to fare at least even when they go to the bench.
That was not the case last year.
The Spurs were outscored more often than not with Aldridge and DeRozan on-court together and outscored their opponent more often than not when that combo wasn’t on-court.
The Spurs were outscored by 2.0 points per 100 possessions with those two on-court last season.
This combination simply doesn’t work. The Spurs were four points worse defensively with Aldridge on-court last year. Your best player and the veteran considered a plus-defender should not have those numbers. It’s not that Aldridge is bad, it’s that it simply didn’t work.
The Spurs added no one meaningful beyond rookies. They didn’t move on from Aldridge or DDR.
If things go badly again, won’t they just pull the plug and potentially really tank the season?
San Antonio Spurs Win Total Bet
There’s no reason to think the Spurs will be better, but the number implies they’ll be significantly worse. The Spurs’ floor is lower than it used to be, but it’s not 29 wins (33 on an 82-game schedule) lower. That’s too low.
The Spurs have gone over in 14 of the last 18 seasons on their win total. This team isn’t like those, but the number is still so low you have wiggle room. This can be a bad, mid-30’s team in a normal season and still breeze over. Anything below 30, and there’s value on the under.
I’ll be looking closely at “No” to make the playoffs, however.