You know it’s almost NBA season when it’s time to argue about the over/under win totals for each NBA team. At long last, The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas released their totals for the 2016-17 season, which means we now have an idea of what the general public (or better stated, “the market”) thinks of the Toronto Raptors. Nobody alert Steve Simmons, but it’s time to make your bets.
And, yeah, I’d imagine the release is going to lead to a new round of #ProveEm around these parts, because the Superbook has the Raptors’ line set at 49.5 wins.
Now, before getting outraged or arguing that a 6.5 win is too big a drop given the youth of the Raptors and their offseason moves, keep a few things in mind. Like that the Raptors over-performed relative to their net margin, so Vegas’ starting point was probably closer to 53 wins than 56. The Raptors also won 56 around some serious injuries, but Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan both posted career years under heavy workloads, and the market may be pricing in some light regression. There are also varying degrees of belief that the East got better (it didn’t, but I do believe the distribution of talent is now such that there are fewer “easy” wins on the schedule).
And mostly, just that it’s really hard to win 56 games in back-to-back years. The Raptors winning 49 or 50 games again would hardly be a disappointment, and it would have them firmly in the mix for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs once again. It’s not a big deal – Vegas wants to coax roughly equal action on either side of the line, and it’s likely that public opinion will be roughly split.
I posted a poll on Twitter which suggested there would be heavy action on the over, but it’s worth remembering that my Twitter followers would skew much heavier toward Raptor fandom (and optimism) than the market at large.
The Raptors win total over/under is set at 49.5. What are you taking?
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) September 20, 2016
If you want to be mad about anything (and of course you do, this is the internet!), it would probably be that the Celtics are pegged at 51.5 wins. Again, keep in mind what this is, that Boston is a team with a large fanbase that could potentially over-bet a lower total, that the Celtics are going to be pretty good, and that even if these lines were 100 percent accurate, the Celtics winning two more games during the regular season wouldn’t make them “better” than the Raptors. It would just mean they won two more games and would have home court in the second round.
Here’s how the rest of the lines look:
|New York Knicks||38.5|
|Golden State Warriors||66.5|
|San Antonio Spurs||56.5|
|Los Angeles Clippers||53.5|
|Portland Trail Blazers||46.5|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||45.5|
|New Orleans Pelicans||36.5|
|Los Angeles Lakers||24.5|
Personally, I have the Raptors down for 51 wins, which I’m sure some will think is a little negative (and they’ll recall I seriously under-shot their win total last year, as did Vegas at 46.5). But this post isn’t about what I think. It’s about what you think. So, let’s hear it: