What 2023 NBA Futures Do Computer Projections Love And Hate?

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on October 18, 2022 - Last Updated on October 20, 2022
NBA futures

It’s NBA opening night as the regular begins Oct. 18. Late last week, the FiveThirtyEight projections hit the wire. Along with the ESPN projections released a few weeks ago, we now have a couple of computer-generated numbers to use when cross-referencing with the market expectations for each NBA team. As we did last year, let’s compare NBA futures with publicly available projections and see what stands out.

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NBA Win Totals And Futures: FiveThirtyEight And ESPN Vs. The Market

Click the odds below to bet any of these prices now at Caesars Sportsbook.

TeamNBA Title June OddsOpening Night Odds538 OddsConsensus Win Total538 Projected WinsESPN Projected Wins
Golden State Warriors+600+575+156752.54941.9
Boston Celtics+600+575+37653.55753.9
LA Clippers+600+650+323352.54743.6
Brooklyn Nets+600+700+490050.54545.6
Milwaukee Bucks+750+700+190052.54949.5
Philadelphia 76ers+1400+1300+132950.55048.3
Phoenix Suns+900+1300+190052.54949
Denver Nuggets+1500+1600+66951.55447.9
LA Lakers+2000+1800OTB44.53236.8
Memphis Grizzlies+1400+2200+115048.55246.1
Miami Heat+1400+2400+156748.55145.9
Dallas Mavericks+1500+2700+156748.55043.1
New Orleans Pelicans+4000+3000+1418644.54247.6
Cleveland Cavaliers+10000+3000+1418647.54442.9
Minnesota Timberwolves+5500+3000+323349.54745.7
Toronto Raptors+5500+4000+190046.55047.4
Atlanta Hawks+8000+5000+156746.55146.2
Chicago Bulls+5500+6500+9990041.53538.1
NY Knicks+20000+10000+2490038.54041.5
Portland Trail Blazers+10000+12500+2490039.53836.6
Charlotte Hornets+10000+20000+1656733.54140.8
Washington Wizards+30000+30000OTB35.53240
Sacramento Kings+80000+35000OTB34.53336.5
Detroit Pistons+70000+40000OTB29.52325.7
Orlando Magic+200000+50000OTB26.52330.6
Utah Jazz+4000+100000+9990023.53934.9
Houston Rockets+200000+100000OTB23.51926.7
Indiana Pacers+50000+100000OTB23.53538
San Antonio Spurs+30000+100000OTB22.53031.2
Oklahoma City Thunder+100000+100000OTB23.524.26.9

4 NBA Futures Computer Models Like More Than Betting Markets

Let’s start by looking at the teams the computers like more than the markets. There’s a common thread running through several such teams: they’re expected to be bad.

A key factor here is that computers simply project based on rosters and expected minutes. They don’t factor in the eventuality of several teams pulling the plug mid-season in hopes of tanking into a high draft pick. That temptation looks greater than ever this season with French unicorn Victor Wembanyama looming as the ultimate prize. Scoot Henderson doesn’t look like a half bad consolation either.

Boston Celtics

It’s a little rare for a team at the top of the board to be projected even higher by the models, but that’s exactly what happened with the Celtics heading into this season. A consensus top contender, the models like the Celtics to both exceed their win total and win the NBA title.

Of course, the FiveThirtyEight model was legendarily overconfident in the Celtics heading into last season’s finals, making them large favorites over the Warriors when the market had the line very close.

Adding Malcolm Brogdon will only make the team’s top defense stronger while also adding in another ball-handler who excels off the ball as well.

Naturally, though, models don’t factor in coaching, and losing Ime Udoka for the season could hurt. Furthermore, the availability of Robert Williams III, key to the team’s defense, looks cloudy at best after he underwent knee surgery in September.

Charlotte Hornets

Again, off the court questions loom. What will become of Miles Bridges? FiveThirtyEight has him projected for over 2,500 minutes, although ESPN omitted him from the projection and the Hornets still came out near .500.

This team is incredibly slanted toward its starting five. It’s starting four, we should say, since Mason Plumlee brings minimal value to the table. Even there, though, Gordon Hayward looms as one of the top injury risks in the league.

And the bench looks like a potential disaster unless James Bouknight makes a huge leap and rookie Mark Williams acclimates to the NBA immediately.

Utah Jazz

Danny Ainge walked in and initiated a complete teardown of the roster. He dealt away franchise cornerstones in the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell trades.

What’s left is…apparently pretty decent according to the models? Both projections systems like the Jazz way, way more than the market.

More trades loom. Ainge has sold off the Lambos from the car collection but a bunch of commuter Hondas still remain. They won’t turn anyone into a title contender but they can do solid every day work, and contenders will still have interest in them. Whether (more likely how long) the likes of Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, and Lauri Markkanen remain on the roster may determine low this ship can sink.

Indiana Pacers

This looks like the No. 1 disagreement between the computers and the market. The market sees a team primed to get the top ticket in the Wembanyama sweepstakes. The computers see a team on the edge of the play-in race. That’s quite a massive gap.

Like Utah, this roster has some solid veteran talent. Going even further, though, that talent actually makes some sense together. Where the Jazz have a collection of several shot-hunting scorers, the Pacers roster has some cohesion and on-paper synergy.

They have a solid point guard in Tyrese Haliburton, a stretch big who can anchor the defense in Myles Turner, and wings in Bennedict Mathurin, Chris Duarte and Buddy Hield who bring shooting and, in Mathurin’s case, all-around athleticism and promise to the table. Coach Rick Carlisle is also famed for being a regular season wins machine.

However, again, the team may try to angle for a high draft pick if the opportunity comes. Turner and Hield have been at the top of the trade rumor mill since last season at least.

4 NBA Futures Computer Models Like Less Than Betting Markets

Now, the teams about which the models have skepticism relative to the markets. Since the models bake in age-related regression and tend to crunch everyone toward the middle, they’re naturally going to be skeptical of veteran-laden teams that have performed well in the recent past.

Golden State Warriors

FiveThirtyEight was the subject of some infamy and ridicule last season after they projected the Warriors under .500, only for the Dubs to eventually cash NBA futures fairly comfortably. Granted, they lucked into a rather easy path to the NBA Finals.

Still, Klay Thompson performed far better than the computers expected. Jordan Poole has also emerged as a top Sixth Man of the Year candidate after crushing in 2022 — 18.5/3.4/4 on 54.8% true shooting.

Questions about the Warriors this year are more so aimed at their supporting cast than Thompson and Draymond Green, who enjoyed a resurgent campaign that had him as a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. Can Poole repeat his breakout campaign, and will Jonathan Kuminga ably step into the void Otto Porter left?

Of course, Green’s high-profile blow-up in practice in which he punched Poole also looms. Will the Warriors’ vaunted chemistry take a hit?

LA Clippers

The Clippers spent a year in limbo with Paul George missing most of the season injured and Kawhi Leonard all of it. Now, they have presumably returned at full strength, and with an enviably deep roster chock-full of wings backing them. That plus Tyronn Lue’s coaching genius — the team threatened their win total over despite a combined 31 games from the stars — has this team well set up for the regular season grind.

What does John Wall bring to the table after barely playing more than 100 games since the 2016-17 season? That, along with the availability of Leonard and George, will determine where this team goes.

Brooklyn Nets

Obviously, the Nets are among the most difficult teams to project. They have an extremely wide range of outcomes. If everything clicks, remember that this roster entered last season as a very clear title favorite. Everything obviously fell apart.

But start at the top. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant give the team a top two that’s almost unmatched. The pair played 1,096 possessions together and had a 98th percentile differential according to Cleaning The Glass.

Ben Simmons, Joe Harris, Royce O’Neal and TJ Warren give the team several more at least solid wing-sized players that will thrive in the team’s switching scheme. Of course, everyone in that group has at least one huge question mark. Will Simmons play basketball without being in his own head? How does Harris look coming off a serious ankle injury? Can O’Neal provide anything on offense? Does Warren have anything left after basically not playing basketball since 2020?

LA Lakers

For the second straight year, the computers despise the Lakers. Last year, the market had the Lakers as second favorites after the Nets but the computers had them as a longshot. This year, those general tiers have been downgraded to “fringe contender” and “no chance.”

The market may be pricing in the expectation of a Russell Westbrook trade. If the Lakers can package the ornery guard along with their future draft picks, they may flesh out a pretty solid roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Otherwise, this will look like another disaster.

Davis remembering how to make a jumpshot would also help immensely since shooting proved in short supply last season. The Lakers ranked in the bottom half of the league in both 3s attempted and made.

Best of luck betting NBA futures this season.

Mo Nuwwarah Avatar
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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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