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Mavericks, Hornets on pace to easily hit the over on their preseason win totals

Surprising starts to the season have both Dallas and Charlotte trending up to cash in for DraftKings Sportsbook users early on.

Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham brings the ball up court against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2019-20 NBA season even began, there were strong convictions about a handful of teams, and whether they could reach their respective win total over/under on DraftKings Sportsbook. The most polarizing of the bunch being the Charlotte Hornets. Also in that conversation was the Dallas Mavericks, both teams of which are now looking like potential playoff teams — with the Mavs possibly in contention for a title. Here’s a quick update and breakdown from our good friends at DK Sportsbook on some interesting trends for team win totals.

NBA win totals 2020 — Dec 18 update

Team Wins Losses O/U (preseason) % there Max Wins
Team Wins Losses O/U (preseason) % there Max Wins
Hornets 13 17 23.5 55% 65
Lakers 24 4 51.5 47% 78
Mavericks 18 8 40.5 44% 74
Heat 19 8 43.5 44% 74
Bucks 24 4 56.5 42% 78
Trail Blazers 11 16 46.5 24% 66
Spurs 10 16 46.5 22% 66
Hawks 6 22 33.5 18% 60
Pelicans 6 22 35.5 17% 60
Warriors 5 23 47.5 11% 59

So as we can see, the Hornets are at 13-17 and their preseason win total was 23.5. They’ve got a max of 65 wins and only need 11 wins the rest of the season to reach their OVER total. Right now, the Hornets are actually just outside the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and could be a playoff team! What a world ... Also worth noting is the fact the Hornets are +700 to reach the postseason on DK Sportsbook. For comparison, the Pelicans (for whatever reason) are still +450 to make the playoffs ... Ahhh, what?

The main reason for Charlotte’s rise can be identified in two places: the Hornets don’t play down to competition and Devonte’ Graham. Most of the time the Hornets keep games close due to decent defense and a slow pace, but they generally don’t lose games to bad teams. Charlotte is 7-5 in their past 12 games, and the only bad loss in that bunch is to the Atlanta Hawks. If they can continue to beat up on weaker opponents, they should be able to smash the O/U in wins.

Graham has come out of nowhere to have the second-best odds to win Most Improved Player at +250 behind Luka Doncic (+110). He’s averaging 22.3 points per game on 40.2% shooting from long range in December. Bunched into those averages is his career-high 40 points in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 11. The thing we all thought the Hornets would lack was a go-to guy, and it’s still early, but I think that’s Graham.

As for the Mavericks, well, we all underestimated Doncic, right? We knew he was going to come out and be one of the more exciting players in the NBA this season, but no one saw this sort of transformation into arguably the best player in the League. He’s hurt right now, nursing a sprained ankle, but the Mavs are so deep that it shouldn’t hurt their chances of hitting OVER 40.5 wins on the season. They’d merely have to get to .500 to hit this.

The two other teams in the green are the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. LeBron James has the Lake Show in full force and on pace for potentially 65+ wins, which would smash the O/U from the preseason. The Heat are also a somewhat surprising team, though they never lacked talent and discipline, right? Erik Spoelstra is a great coach and Jimmy Butler is a guy who can get you to 45-50 wins and the playoffs.

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