This article was originally published on June 16. Check out our NBA Free Agency Betting Guide for updated 2019-20 NBA win totals.
Gotta hand it to agent Rich Paul. He got his man traded to the Lakers after all, and the purple and gold are going to be relevant again.
Anthony Davis teaming up with LeBron James has the entire NBA buzzing, but nowhere more so than in El Lay, where the Lakers were a combination of irrelevant and ambivalent after their Magic Johnson-led efforts to acquire Davis back in February came up empty.
The younger players on the Lakers knew that they had all been dangled in a trade that never went down, and the season was a lost cause thereafter.
Now only did the Lakers acquire Davis, they did so while managing to hang on to Kyle Kuzma. As as ESPN’s Bobby Marks has been explaining, if the teams can agree to not make this trade official until the end of July, the Lakers will have enough salary cap space to go after a max free agent … or an assemblage of complimentary free agents to fill in the gaps around LeBron, AD, Kuzma, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga — the only five players they have under contract for next season.
2020 NBA win totals already up
|Team||Win Total (PointsBet)||2018-19 Record|
Usually, NBA win total over/unders do not come out until late July, and everyone follows the Westgate Superbook’s lead out of Nevada. But with sports gambling becoming legalized across the United States, the game has changed. We already let you in on the championship odds futures bets that might be worth taking a look at, and you can rest assured that those numbers are going to change in the days ahead — especially as they concern the Pelicans, who have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the draft and probably are not done dealing just yet.
By the time Thursday night’s draft is held, the prices that are available today will be distant memories.
With the futures of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson now being determined by medical personnel (and other teams’ desire to offer max money to a pair of injured free agent superstars), the Warriors’ over/under win total is just 47.5 at DraftKings. At FanDuel, they are listed as +1100 to win the NBA championship a year from now (lest we forget, tonight would have been the night of Game 7 if the Warriors had won at home in Game 6), the same odds as the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers, Bucks, Raptors and Rockets all have shorter odds.
But back to the Lakers and their projected win total of 54.5. Why so high when only five players are under contract for next season?
The thinking among folks who set the lines is that numerous players will set aside their egos and want to join forces with LeBron and AD on the NBA’s next superteam … even if it means signing at a discount. There is a need for a starting point guard and a starting shooting guard (assuming AD, LeBron and Kuzma are three of the starters), and the list of free agent point guards available includes:
- Kyrie Irving
- Kemba Walker
- Ricky Rubio
- J.J. Barea
- Patrick Beverley
- Malcolm Brogdon (restricted)
- D’Angelo Russell (restricted)
- Darren Collison
- Seth Curry
- Rodney Hood
- Mario Hejonja (don’t laugh)
J.J. Redick may be the best available fit among free agent shooting guards, although some of the point guards listed above are actually combo guards.
Whatever the case, having the second-highest the over/under win total in the entire NBA is a huge leap of faith that the Lakers can go from the most dysfunctional team in the NBA (OK, only in the short term. The Knicks take that prize over the long term) to the second-most revered.
As Darren Rovell reported, the Westgate in Las Vegas took a $10,000 bet on the Lakers to win the 2020 NBA title at 5-1 odds. The news of the trade broke 27 minutes later.
PointsBet, a sportsbook known for taking more aggressive risks, put out a “championship price freeze” through Sunday, offering the Lakers at 7-1 to win the title.
LeBron himself took to Instagram to say this is “just the beginning.”
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Some thoughts on the opening numbers of a few teams using DraftKings’ open win totals:
- ATLANTA HAWKS: 32.5. They have three first-round draft picks, and they won 29 games last season in the LEastern Conference. Seems like a fair number.
- BOSTON CELTICS: 48.5. Everyone expects them to lose Kyrie Irving, and Rozier can leave as a restricted free agent — although it is difficult to see Danny Ainge allowing that to happen. A fair number for now given their 49-33 record, but they were huge underachievers.
- CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: 23.5. Coming off a 19-win season, and with Kevin Love clogging their cap, this number may be a little high.
- DALLAS MAVERICKS: 41.5. Porzingis, Doncic and $50 million in cap room? This number seems low.
- HOUSTON ROCKETS: 53.5. They won 52 last season, and Chris Paul is not getting any younger. Then again, James Harden did not exactly have a bad season. Tough call.
- NEW YORK KNICKS: 34.5: This is more than double their 17 wins from this past season, and if they already have a handshake deal in place with Kevin Durant, it’s going to be hard to reach this number with their best player out until sometime around March.
- OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: 46.5. This would represent a regression, which is hard to see … even if the West remains loaded.
- WASHINGTON WIZARDS: 27.5. John Wall is out long term, which means whoever eventually gets the general manager’s job is going to have to take a long, hard look at moving Bradley Beal and trying to get a motherlode back the way Griffin did with Davis in New Orleans.