Western Conference - Win Total best bet: San Antonio Over 57.5
Don’t get me wrong, Tim Duncan is a massive loss, but the spurs system and talent laden roster will not dip by 10 wins from last year’s 67 even with the Big Fundamental hanging up his sneakers.
The Spurs have replaced Duncan with Gasol. In the last decade, Gasol has been a quality player. He was one of two star players on the Bulls roster last season, playing highly consistent ball even at his advanced age.
If anyone knows how to get the most out of an old fella it’s Greg Popovich. Popovich has extended the careers of Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and even journeyman such as Boris Diaw who have flourished in the Spurs system under Popovich.
Over to the division now; New Orleans is rubbish and hasn’t bothered sign any big names to help Anthony Davis. They always get injured and don’t have much depth in the frontcourt. Houston hasn’t changed too much from the team that concedes too many points. The Spurs system should be able to contain them as it always does. Memphis is 1 injury away from having a failed season and Dallas have lost too many quality stars to put up much resistance. Take the Spurs to continue their dominance over the Southwest division and the West in general.
Eastern Conference - Win Total best bet: Indiana Pacers Over 44.5
This is a recap from the Eastern Conference Preview. Jump on the Pacers at over 44.5. This is a squad that’s been together for a while now. The addition of Teague who is a pass first point guard will help facilitate the weapons this team has.
Thad Young played surprisingly well last year as well as the emergence of young Myles Turner. The addition of big Al Jefferson wont hurt them either. Paul George is a superstar and with this supporting cast can build off the 45 wins the team picked up last year.
The change in coach from Vogel to Nate McMillan will bring at least 1 win in itself. Vogel is a good coach, leading the Pacers to a 56-win season 2 years ago. Unfortunately his voice grew stale in the locker room and wasn’t having much of an effect. McMillan should bring an added injection of defence to this team, which should see them perform better than last year and nab the over on this win total.
Western Conference - Next Best Win Total bet: Oklahoma City Over 44.5
Motivation, talent and the team. The Oklahoma City has the 3 key ingredients to be a force going into 2017. Everyone is too preoccupied with what they lost from last year and hasn’t properly assessed what they still have.
There’s no doubt that Durant was a massive loss but OKC still has a lot of quality on their roster. Russell Westbrook is arguably a top 5 player in the league. Billy Donovan proved himself last season as a quality head coach who can draft up a good game plan as seen when he knocked out the Spurs. They still have Enes Kanter paired with Steven Adams, which makes a very athletic frontcourt combination.
The team has added Oladipo who has buckets of upside as well as good young role players. The team also boasted a top 5 defence, which can hide a lot of blemishes if they do occur.
The Sheer fact that Russell Westbrook will be playing like a man possessed after being dumped via text by his supposed BFF has me frothing to get some coin on this lot.
Eastern Conference Bonus Win Total bet: Orlando Magic Over 37.5
The Magic have been consistently rising, notching 20, 23, 25 and 35 wins in the last 4 seasons. The Magic are showing promise. I like this young roster being paired with a veteran coach in Frank Vogel. I feel this combination will be able to propel the Magic at least 3 more wins in the right direction from last year. Vogel kept a relatively average Pacers line-up relevant when their star Paul George went down with injury.
The division they’re in doesn’t have as much talented as I think is being perceived by the oddsmakers. The Hawks have gotten worse from last year. They lost their starting point guard in Teague and key big man in Horford. We are yet to see if Howard will make a significant impact. His last two stops have left a lot to be desired (the Rockets and the Lakers). The Heat are an absolute shell of themselves.
The team lines up with Payton at PG, Fournier as a capable SG, Gordon at SF, Ibaka at PF and Vucevic at C. Young quality, athletic size and loads of potential to be better than last year. The team’s bench also has great depth. CJ Watson, DJ Augustin, Jeff Green, Mario Hezonja and Bismack Biyombo will be quality additions when the starters have to take a break.
The Eastern conference has decreased in difficulty and the Magic’s division will be underwhelming. You also have to look at the quality of the Magic’s roster and the addition of a proven coach. For these reasons, I strongly believe this is a very low win total for a team who has the chance to be a dark horse for the playoffs.