Season Win Total Best Bets
October 24, 2016
The 2016-17 NBA season tips off on Tuesday night and basketball bettors everywhere will be glad to have the game back. While all the talk this summer has been about Kevin Durant's move to Golden State and the “Super Team” the Warriors now have, and a potential “three-match” between Cleveland and Golden State in the NBA Finals, the most cynical of NBA fans will argue that the regular season doesn't really matter much given the huge disparity between the top teams in the league and the rest.
But there are plenty of other teams bettors can cash tickets with and these two teams could be ones that surprise many with their play and ultimately go “over” there projected season win totals and return to the playoffs.
Season Win Total Bet #1: Chicago Bulls Over 40.5 wins (-110)
The Bulls went through a massive roster overhaul themselves this summer but the bulk of those moves were departures from town. Gone are the likes of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Pau Gasol, as they've now completely handed over the keys to their immediate future to superstar Jimmy Buter.
Experienced vets like Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo were brought in to go along with additions like Isaiah Canaan, Michael Carter-Williams and Robin Lopez, as this Bulls team will have a very different look than in year's past. That's definitely a good thing as all of these additions and their subsequent skills on the floor lend themselves to success in Fred Hoiberg's desire to play faster and be more offensive-minded.
Hoiberg came from Iowa State where he loved to play fast and win games with his offense, and after going through a year of inheriting a Bulls team that wasn't built for that style of play, he's actually got some guys that fit his schemes this season. That in itself should translate into a few more wins for the Bulls in 16-17 and the organization did finish above this number a year ago with 42 victories.
Clearly it's moot to compare last year's Chicago team to this season's, but a solid core of youthful talent and veteran leadership should be able to get Chicago back into the postseason this year. They are going to need to be better than .500 to do that and I wouldn't be shocked to see them even crack the 50-win plateau this year.
Season Win Total Bet #2: New York Knicks Over 40 wins (+100)
Two of those departed Bulls players in Noah and Rose wound up in New York this year and they are hoping they can be part of the solution for the Knicks alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingas.
The Knicks have long been a team that bettors prefer to fade in recent years, but they showed signs of turning the corner a year ago in going 32-50 SU and will be much better this year. They've got an opening night date with Cleveland which won't be easy, but assessing where they stand and where they need to go after Game 1 coming against the defending champs isn't a bad thing at all.
They've got much more talent and depth at nearly all five positions this year and if Rose and Noah can stay healthy and play 70+ games for them this year, we could end up seeing the Knicks and Madison Square Garden hit the playoff stage again.
With a bet like this there were always be some hesitation as bettors still will have a tough time trusting the Knicks after so many down years, but the second tier of the Eastern Confernce has become more congested and the Knicks aren't at the bottom end of that spectrum anymore. They'll have multiple winning games against the likes of Philadelphia and Brooklyn within their own division this year, and they should be able to at least get one W from even the better teams like Boston and Toronto.
Knicks fans are desperate for some results soon in this rebuilding process the organization embarked on a few years back, and this could be the season that New York finds themselves competing for one of those final playoff spots in the East and finishing over .500 for the first time since 2012-13 when they went 54-28 SU. I don't believe the Knicks will finish with that good of a mark in 2016-17, but 45 + wins is definitely in the realm of possibilities.