NBA Win Totals: 2019-2020 predictions for every team

The NBA season is only a month away, and that means it’s time to place some futures bets!

Last year, I was overjoyed to have sports betting just a state border away. This year, with online sports books available in the state of Pennsylvania, I can gamble on the NBA from the comfort of my own home – what a world we live in!

As a reminder, this game of trying to predict win totals started a few years back between my pal Mike Pizza and myself. Sometimes, I’m dead on (Pacers, Bulls, and Jazz won big for me last year), and other times I’m way off (Raptors, Hawks, and Magic killed me). Bet with (or against) me at your own risk! Oh, and be sure to listen to Mike, me, and Bryan at Two Paisani and a Pizza Podcast, as my co-hosts will inevitably roast me for some of these bad decisions throughout the year.

Two additional notes before we get started:

  1. This year I placed my bets at two different online sports books in Pennsylvania (Sugar House and Fan Duel), since sometimes there was a better return on the side I was interested in taking for a particular matchup. In the world of online gambling, I’d advise anyone considering future bets to shop around – you can usually find a price that best suits your belief.

  2. For simplicity, bets are explained in units of $10. The bigger the bet, the bigger my belief is that it will hit. Amateur tip: If you’re considering sports betting, decide what your “units” are before laying any money down. Pro tip: If you’re considering sports betting, be prepared to never see any of that money again.

Without further ado, let’s get to my picks for the upcoming NBA season and hopefully make some money!

Eastern Conference

15. Cleveland Cavaliers – 23 wins (UNDER 23.5, +100, Sugar House)
– $10 to win $10.00

Tweet-length rationale: I like the slight under on this bad team with young talent. They may improve upon last year’s abysmal 19-win season, but they’ll still rack up the losses.

14. New York Knicks – 23 wins (UNDER 27.5, +100, Sugar House)
– $50 to win $50.00

Tweet-length rationale: This sorry franchise is perennially terrible but are always in some danger to win more than they should, because “Knicks.” I had originally planned off of a line of 26.5 but found an extra win of breathing room 27.5 line at even money. That’s too good to pass up – slam the under here.

13. Charlotte Hornets – 24 wins (OVER 23.5, +110, Fan Duel)
– $10 to win $11.00

Tweet-length rationale: I love Terry Rozier and Malik Monk. This team stinks and is primed to spend another year in the tank, but I’ll take a slight over because I think Terry Rozier will try his best to win games (particularly any against the Celtics).

12. Washington Wizards – 25 wins (UNDER 27.5, -120, Fan Duel)
– $30 to win $25.00

Tweet-length rationale: Although the Wizards won 32 games last year, they have no direction and no future thanks to John Wall’s terrible injury and contract situation. On top of that, the team’s best player, Bradley Beal, is everyone’s favorite trade rumor. Grab the under before it gets too pricey.

11. Chicago Bulls – 28 wins (UNDER 31.5, +100, Fan Duel)
– $40 to win $40.00

Tweet-length rationale: While this team has some decent young talent and should have a healthy Lauri Markkanen back in the fold, they have a lot to prove. I think they’re more likely to tank and develop, or just flat out fail, than make a push for the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

10. Atlanta Hawks – 35 wins (OVER 33.5, -110, Sugar House)
– $20 to win $18.20

Tweet-length rationale: Finally, a team I like! The Hawks are well-coached and loaded with young talent. They killed me last year when I took the under, and I’m not going down that road again, especially with a reasonable line. They’ll be trying to make the playoffs, so the over feels right here.

9. Detroit Pistons – 36 wins (UNDER 37.5, +110, Sugar House)
– $20 to win $22.00

Tweet-length rationale: The return of Iso Joe aside, this team stinks, has no direction, and isn’t getting any younger. I’ll take the slight under on this well-placed line.

8. Orlando Magic – 43 wins (OVER 40.5, +110, Sugar House)
– $30 to win $33.00

Tweet-length rationale: It feels weird to call the Orlando Magic a playoff team, but here we are. They won 42 games last season and should come in right around there again.

7. Miami Heat – 44 wins (OVER 42.5, -110, Sugar House)
– $20 to win $18.20

Tweet-length rationale: A well-coached perennial low-end playoff team just added Jimmy Butler. They should win more than the 39 they suffered through last year. I’m optimistic on how things gel for Miami this season.

6. Toronto Raptors – 44 wins (UNDER 46.5, +100, Sugar House)
– $30 to win $30.00

Tweet-length rationale: I haven’t checked, but this has to be one of the lowest lines ever for a team fresh off a title. However, losing the best player in the league in Kawhi Leonard, as well as Danny Green, leaves a lot to be desired here. The under feels right.

5. Boston Celtics – 45 wins (UNDER 49.5, -110, Fan Duel)
– $40 to win $36.36

Tweet-length rationale: I could go either way on Hornets North – swapping Kemba Walker in for Kyrie Irving could be a big plus on offense. And yet, swapping Enes Kanter for Al Horford is a bigger problem on defense. Danny Ainge stinks – let’s take the under and move on.

4. Brooklyn Nets – 46 wins (OVER 44.5, -110, Sugar House)
– $20 to win $18.20

Tweet-length rationale: I’m cautiously optimistic for Celtics South, even without Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving will have a fresh start and Caris LeVert won’t be hampered by injury. I’ll take the over in a depleted East.

3. Indiana Pacers – 53 wins (OVER 47.5, +100, Sugar House)
– $50 to win $50.00

Tweet-length rationale: The Pacers are one of three teams that could actually come out of the Eastern Conference and have way too low of a line. This happened last year too…maybe people just find betting on Indiana boring? With Victor Oladipo back in action, this is a 50-win team, at minimum. Slam the over.

2. Philadelphia 76ers – 56 wins (OVER 53.5, -120, Fan Duel)
– $30 to win $25.00

Tweet-length rationale: The Sixers should be one of the best defensive teams in the league this year by swapping in Josh Richardson and Al Horford for Jimmy Butler on a team that also employs Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and the one and only Joel Embiid. Take the over, and I’ll see you on Broad Street in June.

1. Milwaukee Bucks – 59 wins (OVER 57.5, +100, Fan Duel)
– $20 to win $20.00

Tweet-length rationale: The Bucks won 60 games last year behind an MVP run from Giannis Antetokounmpo and should get close again, despite losing Malcolm Brogdon. That’s what Coach Mike Budenholzer does. The playoffs? Well, that’s another story…

Western Conference

15. Memphis Grizzlies – 24 wins (UNDER 26.5, -109, Sugar House)
– $30 to win $27.60

Tweet-length rationale: This young team will be entertaining, but also very bad. In a tough Western Conference, I’d expect them to get into tank mode early as they search for a new identity without Mike Conley.

14. Phoenix Suns – 26 wins (UNDER 27.5, +120, Fan Duel)
– $20 to win $24.00

Tweet-length rationale: Etch “Suns under” on Robert Sarver’s grave. This team is bad, and every player on it would be better off requesting a trade than enduring another meaningless season.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder – 29 wins (UNDER 33.5, -110, Sugar House)
– $50 to win $45.50

Tweet-length rationale: Hop into the tank with Captain Chris Paul!!! At least, before he’s inevitably traded mid-season. This line is comically high, so load up while you can.

12. Sacramento Kings – 35 wins (UNDER 38.5, -110, Sugar House)
– $40 to win $36.40

Tweet-length rationale: This line feels like an overreaction to a surprise season. The West is super-juiced now, and I don’t see how this Kings team gets back to 39 wins, no matter how much De’Aaron Fox continues to improve.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves – 36 wins (UNDER 35.5, -105, Fan Duel)
– $10 to win $9.52

Tweet-length rationale: I’ll take the slightest of overs on a well-placed line for another directionless team in the West. Here’s to you, Mr. Covington!

10. New Orleans Pelicans – 37 wins (UNDER 39.5, -125, Fan Duel)
– $30 to win $24.00

Tweet-length rationale: Fun does not equal good. Even if Zion Williamson can stay healthy and flourish, this “league pass team” will amount to a few entertaining highlights, not 40 wins.

9. Dallas Mavericks – 38 wins (UNDER 40.5, -115, Fan Duel)
– $30 to win $26.09

Tweet-length rationale: I have no idea what I’m getting here with Kristaps Porzingis, so I’m treading lightly. Even if things work out with him and Luka Doncic, it feels like this team is a year away from true playoff contention.

8. San Antonio Spurs – 44 wins (UNDER 46.5, -110, Sugar House)
– $30 to win $27.30

Tweet-length rationale: Even with Dejounte Murrary returning, this line feels a bit too high. The ever-aging Spurs will be fighting for their playoff lives in a loaded West.

7. Los Angeles Lakers – 49 wins (UNDER 51.5, -110, Sugar House)
– $30 to win $27.30

Tweet-length rationale: It feels a bit crazy to take the under on a team that employs LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the Lakers simply aren’t built for regular season success. We’ll see what the playoffs bring, but the under is a pretty safe play here.

6. Golden State Warriors – 52 wins (OVER 47.5, -120, Fan Duel)
– $50 to win $41.67

Tweet-length rationale: I find Steph Curry just as annoying as the next guy, but this line is insulting. Slam the over on the new-age Spurs.

5. Houston Rockets – 53 wins (UNDER 53.5, -115, Fan Duel)
– $10 to win $8.70

Tweet-length rationale: This is a great line for a team that could very well self-combust, or be one of the best in the NBA. I’m going to take the slightest of unders here, as I’m less of a believer in Russell Westbrook at this stage of his career.

4. Portland Trail Blazers – 55 wins (OVER 46.5, -110, Fan Duel)
– $50 to win $45.45

Tweet-length rationale: This is my favorite bet of the year, and if I only had to make one, this would be it. The Portland Trail Blazers are consistently regular season darlings and won 53 games last year. With Jusef Nurkic returning from injury, a line of 46.5 is just wrong. Slam the over.

3. Los Angeles Clippers – 55 wins (OVER 54.5, -105, Fan Duel)
– $10 to win $9.52

Tweet-length rationale: Although they’re sure to be the talk of the league with the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, I’d expect there to be some growing pains for the new-look Clippers. I still believe in the over for a team that should care about playoff seeding, just very cautiously.

2. Denver Nuggets – 56 wins (OVER 52.5, +100, Fan Duel)
– $40 to win $40.00

Tweet-length rationale: I’m a well-known Nikola Jokic hater, but this line is too good to pass up. This regular season darling is primed to have a great fall, great winter, and a disappointing spring.

1. Utah Jazz – 57 wins (OVER 54.5, +110, Fan Duel)
– $30 to win $33.00

Tweet-length rationale: The Jazz are deep and good at defense. They should win a lot of games and, while lacking true star power, could even be an outside title contender if a few things break their way. Parlay this with Donovan Mitchell as Sixth Man of the Year and you’ll really be on to something.

So that’s it! Those are my picks. Now all that’s left is for the 2019-2020 season to get underway. Let’s go Sixers, baby!