2007-08 NBA Win Over/Under Predictions
It's time for one of our favorite posts of the year, as we offer our recommendations for picking NBA regular-season win over/unders.
We don't claim to have a whole lot of talents in this world, but (perhaps sadly) picking NBA win over/unders happens to be one of our biggest strengths. We would estimate that we are around 60% overall lifetime, and we chose a good year to take these public for the first time, as we went a career-best 6-1 in 2006-07 with our recommended picks, although four of those wins were extremely narrow. (Note that another unnamed prognosticator went 4-6 with his O/U picks).
As always seems to be the case, the vast majority of these are extremely hard to pick because the O/U number seems absolutely spot on.
That said, we've narrowed down the ones we like, and here they are, in order of confidence level:
Golden State: Under 43 (42 wins last year)
I wish this weren't the case - I loved watching the Warriors as much as anyone last season. Still, I think the Warriors take a step back this season, not forward, mainly for one big reason: I think that Jason Richardson's return from injury was a big, underrated part of this team's late-season run, and I really think the draft-day trade will hurt GSW this season. I don't think that either Brandan Wright or Marco Belinelli will give them much this year, and that makes these W's a pretty thin team unless Mully can pull another mid-season rabbit out of a hat.
Houston: Over 53.5 (52 wins last year)
I know these guys are a trendy pick to move up to the level of championship contender, so that might make them a little scary, but we're just talking regular-season wins here. It's hard to believe this team won't improve by at least two games with all of the solid moves that GM Daryl Morey made this summer. If Yao can get back to a reasonable level of durability (he missed just 2 games in his first three years, before missing 59 in the last two), this should be a complete no-brainer.
The one thing going against this pick is that I think Van Gundy was exceptional regular-season coach who really bled the maximum amount of wins out of this team. That said, they still have a roster of guys who will play hard consistently, and Rick Adelman is a strong regular-season coach in his own right.
San Antonio: Over 54.5 (58 wins last year)
Just look here. Since Tim Duncan entered the NBA in 1997, the Spurs have won at least 56 every year (if you pro-rate the lockout season) except 1999-00, when they won 53. Further, they have won at least 58 for seven straight seasons. I'm gonna keep riding this horse until I get thrown off.
Sacramento: Under 34.5 (33 wins last year)
Improving by two games? I see this one getting worse before it gets better, esp. with that old, slow, defensively-challenged frontcourt. And I have a hunch that Bibby's contract might be unloaded at some point, and these guys will subsequently end up competing for the No. 1 pick.
L.A. Clippers: Under 30.5 (40 wins last year)
Elton Brand and Shawn Livingston are a long way from playing. Their backcourt is old. One could easily see Sam Cassell and Tim Thomas losing interest early. Corey Maggette may average 30 ppg... on 30 FGA with 30 TO's a game. This has disaster written all over it. I heard Chad Ford opine that 30 wins is a best case for this team, and I agree.
Chicago: Over 50.5 (49 wins last year)
I'm a little nervous here, just because they haven't addressed their lack of low-post scoring and Ben Wallace is getting old quickly, but they have so many talented young players that I find it hard to believe they won't continue to improve.
I want to pull the trigger on CLE Over 48.5, but I just can't do it with Varejao and Pavlovic still in limbo, so that's it.
Another team I thought about pulling the trigger on was Memphis Over 34 (22 wins last year). I was highly critical of the franchise earlier this summer, but then GM Chris Wallace went out and had a hell of a summer, so I need to tip my cap.
I thought they had a very good offseason in adding Conley Jr., JC Navarro, and Darko at little cost (and they're essentially adding Kyle Lowry, who was injured for most of last year). And, of course, Pau missed 23 games last year, which contributed heavily to a dreadfully slow start. I was just hoping that the O/U number would be in the 30-31 range. I *think* the Grizz will be in the upper 30s in wins, but the 34 number is just a little too close for comfort.
Bonus Player Prop Recommendation:
LeBron James: Over 28.5 ppg (27.3 last year)
Sportsbook is offering this player prop - LeBron averaged 31.4 in 2005-06, and I think he gets back up closer to that level in '07-08, esp. if that cleaned-up jumper he displayed this summer wasn't a fluke.
OK, here are the complete O/U lines (last season's wins in parens):
ATL 39 (30)
BOS 50.5 (24)
CHA 35.5 (33)
CHI 50.5 (49)
CLE 48.5 (50)
DAL 56.5 (67)
DEN 49.5 (45)
DET 50.5 (53)
GSW 43 (42)
HOU 53.5 (52)
IND 30.5 (35)
LAC 30.5 (40)
LAL 42.5 (42)
MEM 34 (22)
MIA 45 (44)
MIL 36.5 (28)
MIN 20.5 (32)
NJN 44 (41)
NOH 38 (39)
NYK 36.5 (33)
ORL 46.5 (40)
PHI 31.5 (35)
PHO 56.5 (61)
POR 31 (32)
SAC 34.5 (33)
SAS 54.5 (58)
SEA 28 (31)
TOR 42.5 (47)
UTA 47.5 (51)
WAS 39.5 (41)