The 2017-18 NBA regular season is just over one month away, and many top American sportsbooks are starting to release their odds for the year.
One major type of odds that the basketball world pays attention to is the over/unders for every team’s win total during its 82-game schedule. Bovada and MyBookie have both released their over/unders so far.
Let’s take a look at three of the best over and three of the best under bets for this season. We’ll briefly discuss why each team is either underrated and overrated by these US-friendly sports betting websites and also list their best odds.
Best Over Bets
Houston Rockets (Over 55.5 wins @ -115 with Bovada)
The Houston Rockets won 55 games last season in their first year under new head coach Mike D’Antoni. In the offseason, they swapped out Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell for Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute and Tarik Black. That’s a huge net upgrade.
So how did the team only get a half-win better, according to most sportsbooks?
Paul is obviously a huge addition. One of the Rockets’ issues last season was how much they relied on James Harden to make plays for others, often causing The Beard to get tired at the end of games and the end of the season. Paul is the best floor general in the NBA, which means the Rockets can stagger the two superstar guards’ minutes and essentially get 48 minutes of elite point guard play. Tucker and Mbah a Moute will provide much-needed depth and defensive versatility, two things that were missing in the postseason last year.
Sacramento Kings (Over 27.5 wins @ -115 with Bovada)
After DeMarcus Cousins was traded by Sacramento at the deadline last season, the Kings went 8-17 to close the campaign (a 26-win pace). The squad gave its youngsters a lot of playing time and had to overhaul an offense that was completely built around Cousins. They still didn’t play too badly.
Young rotation players Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere broke out to end last season. All three players are 24 years old or younger — it’s huge for the franchise that they were arguably the team’s top three players down the stretch.
This season, Sacramento brings in a nice foursome of players ready to make the team better in 2017-18.
George Hill is an above-average starting point guard who will mentor rookie De’Aaron Fox — the two will definitely be one of the better rotations at that position in the NBA next season. Veterans Zach Randolph and Vince Carter, while both past their primes, have useful skills and will help the development of players at their positions. The squad brought 25-year-old EuroLeague superstar Bogdan Bogdanovic stateside. He will contribute great shooting on the wing and has fantastic length for his position.
Memphis Grizzlies (Over 37.5 wins @-115 with Bovada)
The Grizzlies are a franchise on the downside. That doesn’t mean that they can’t hit 40 wins even in a strengthened Western Conference.
Memphis boasts a star duo of point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol. Neither are huge names on the NBA scene, but they’re both All-Star caliber players who have played together for nine seasons and have excellent chemistry, leading the squad to eight consecutive campaigns of at least 40 wins.
The rest of the roster isn’t great after the losses of Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Vince Carter, but it’s also not terrible. JaMychal Green is a very capable starting power forward on both ends of the floor. Tyreke Evans is an established scorer and playmaker off the bench. James Ennis and Wayne Selden are strong wing defenders.
The biggest wild card is Chandler Parsons. Parsons received a max contract in the summer of 2016 after a nice year with the Dallas Mavericks, but played terribly last season before tearing the meniscus in his left knee. Even if he does flop, I still think Memphis’ dynamic duo and its defensive-minded role players will have enough juice to hit 38 wins.
Best Under Bets
Orlando Magic (Under 33.5 wins @ -115 with MyBookie)
The Magic have been one of the worst franchises in the NBA over the last five seasons. Orlando boasts a mere 132-288 record over that timeframe, which equates to an average of 26 wins per season. They did top out at 35 wins in the 2015-16 season, but every other year has been below 30 victories.
The biggest problem with Orlando right now, besides the total lack of a winning culture, is that there’s no top-level prospect to build around. Jonathan Isaac, the No. 6 pick from this June’s draft, could turn into that, but he seems destined for a career as a very good starter rather than as a franchise player. The Magic roster is a weird mixture of decent veterans and prospects who have struggled to reach their potential thus far, and they desperately need more shooting.
For these reasons, there’s a decent chance Orlando holds a fire sale at midseason, getting rid of key players and trying their best for a high draft pick next summer.
Dallas Mavericks (Under 35.5 wins @ -105 with MyBookie)
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle deserves all the credit in the world. He’s one of the best coaches in the NBA.
That said, this season just doesn’t look great for the Mavericks. The drafting of rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was a huge move for the franchise, and he will provide a lot of hope for the Dallas faithful. But he’s a 19-year-old rookie point guard, and he’s not going to dominate the league right off the bat.
The Mavs’ best player will probably be Harrison Barnes again, which doesn’t bode well for a team that went 33-49 a year ago with him leading the charge. Plenty of trusty role players will help the team from being flat-out bad, but the lack of star power will hurt until Smith is ready to take care of that.
Los Angeles Lakers (Under 34 wins @ -115 with MyBookie)
Rebuilding takes time, and the Lakers will continue to test their fans’ patience in 2017-18. Pundits (and some oddsmakers, by the looks of it) may see this team as ready to take a big leap after adding Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
But let’s pump the brakes. If the Lakers are to hit the over by winning 35 games this year (nine more than last year), they’ll have to do so without an elite player. Lopez is solid on both ends, but he’s not an All-Star. The 29-year-old’s lack of foot speed also may not mesh with the transition attack Ball will want to lead as the starting point guard.
Los Angeles’ top priority this year remains developing its youngsters, so Lopez and Caldwell-Pope may not get quite as many minutes as many people expect. A lot of playing time will go to players like Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma. All of these players could be very good down the line, but they are still inexperienced.
This may sound silly, but opponents might also be circling the Lakers game on the calendar because of Ball. His father, LaVar, has made some outrageous claims about his son’s greatness that players on other teams will want to disprove.