The 2019-2020 NBA season officially gets underway on Tuesday, October 22nd. It’s been another wild season of player movement, and one has to wonder if anybody can compete with the Milwaukee Bucks atop the Central Division.
SB Nation provided a full preview of the coming season, and that included each of the experts at SB Nation’s team sites offering projections for the 2019-2020 season. We’ll be breaking down each division with their win total projections compared to the preseason odds.
Milwaukee Bucks: 57-25 — Brew Hoop
Vegas has the Bucks’ win total set at 56.5 for the upcoming season, and that seems like a pretty fair assessment. In my mind, Milwaukee is clearly a better team and could easily win 60 games if they put the pedal to the medal. Although they don’t have the same amount of top-end talent as some other teams, their pieces fit a lot smoother. However, Milwaukee might have a hard time staying focused and motivated to win 60-some games this season. I don’t get the feeling they’re especially motivated to get the top seed in the East, and nobody beside the Philadelphia 76ers will likely be close to them. That means they can cruise to a two-seed without having to over-exert themselves in the regular season. Still, 57 wins is very doable for this squad and I have them covering the over.
Indiana Packers: 44-38 — Indy Cornrows
Vegas currently has the Pacers at 47.5 wins this season which seems like a challenge for this team pending the return of Victor Oladipo. The Pacers have burned Vegas the past two seasons by exceeding expectations and part of that has been their ability to consistently play harder than opponents throughout the long regular season. With so many questions surrounding all of the new faces in the playing rotation to go along with the injury concerns, I feel like the Pacers will fall just under that expected win total but still make the playoffs where they should be built better to succeed in the postseason.
Detroit Pistons: 44-38 — Detroit Bad Boys
The Pistons have mostly been sub-mediocrity at its most boring for years. True enough, this season, Vegas pegged them at 37.5. Vegas is wrong. Why? Management is making a bet that the top of the roster (Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson) is fine and it’s been a dreadful bench that has been its downfall. Instead of trading for a star to play 2,600 minutes, Detroit is betting replacing the 3,000 minutes from Stanley Johnson, Zaza Pachulia, Jose Calderon and Glenn Robinson with competent players (Derrick Rose, Tony Snell, Markieff Morris, Joe Johnson) will propel them back into the playoffs. They’re right.
Chicago Bulls: 36-46 — Blog a Bull
Setting the Bulls’ over/under line at 31.5 is logical when hedging against the potential threat of injury, not to mention the relative inexperience of the one of the youngest rosters in the league. But assuming key players make the leap, the Bulls can comfortably clear the over.
In a weak Eastern Conference with a wide open field beyond the top two seeds, the Bulls will amass 36 wins but will ultimately fall short in their pursuit of securing a playoff berth.
Cleveland Cavaliers: 24-58 — Fear The Sword
Oddsmakers set the Cavs’ over-under at 23.5 wins this season. This isn’t going to be a good team, but I think they should be just slightly better than that. In the 2019-20 season, the Cavs will struggle on defense, and have a roster that is going to change at some point during the season. But by virtue of playing the weaker conference, they’ll be good enough to eek out 25-ish wins. It’ll be a slight step forward and another high first round pick as they look to the 2020-21 season.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for details.