2018-19 NBA Betting Win Total Preview: Pacific Division
The Pacific Division will arguably be the most intriguing in the NBA this season. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be competitive; obviously the Warriors are once again expected to make mincemeat out of the rest of the field. But at an individual level, at least three of the teams are interesting. You have NBA title favorite Golden State, LeBron James now with the Lakers, and an on-the-rise Phoenix franchise featuring No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton.
Let’s take a look at each team’s projected win totals for 2018-19 and make over/under picks.
Golden State Warriors: 62.5
Despite underwhelming in the regular season (58 wins! Oh no! Disaster!), the Warriors eventually claimed their second NBA championship in a row and third in the last four years. No matter that they settled for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference after taking a step back from 67 victories in 2014-15, a record 73 in 2015-16, and 67 in 2017-17. The core of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green is back. Moreover, big man DeMarcus Cousins should return from his Achilles’ injury for the stretch run. If Golden State stays healthy, it should continue to dominate.
Los Angeles Lakers: 48.5
The Lakers were already making progress even without LeBron. They improved from 17 wins three seasons ago to 26 in 2016-17 and to 35 last year. Can LeBron now make for at least 14 more wins during the 2018-19 campaign? Well, he does not necessarily have to do it by himself. Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball should naturally improve on their own, while Los Angeles also added Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee. The Lakers still aren’t the Warriors or the Rockets—but they don’t have to be simply to reach 49 wins.
Los Angeles Clippers: 36.5
While one L.A. story becomes more and more interesting, the other delves into obscurity. And it’s not just because LeBron and the Lakers are stealing the headlines; the Clippers are also doing it to themselves. After making the playoffs in six consecutive seasons, they went a modest 42-40 in 2017-18 to finish 10th in the West and miss a postseason spot by five games. The Chris Paul era was already over and the Blake Griffin era ended, too, as he was shipped to Detroit prior to the trade deadline. DeAndre Jordan is also gone. Not even Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams can save these Clippers.
Phoenix Suns: 29.5
The Suns probably could have been better than 21-61 last season, but they out-tanked Memphis for Ayton and got their guy with the No. 1 overall pick in the drat this summer. That means Devin Booker (24.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.5 rpg) has some help down low from the 20-year-old Bahamas native, who stands at 7’1’’ and 250 pounds. Phoenix also added Trevor Ariza, Tyson Chandler, and Ryan Anderson. The Suns have not reached the 30-win mark (or even the 25-win mark) in any of the past three years, but a little inspiration and a lot of Ayton and Booker should change that in 2018-19.
Sacramento Kings: 25.5
Sacramento (27-55) was the lowest-scoring team in the NBA last season, one of just two that failed to average at least 100 points per game. So, what did the Kings do this summer to fix it? Well, nothing in terms of free agency. They tried to get Zach LaVine from the Bulls but ultimately saw Chicago match their offer sheet. As such, general manager Vlade Divac decided to rely on his crop of young players (which now includes No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III) to engineer the rebuilding process while saving cap space for 2019-20. The improvement of other teams in the West my make Sacramento even worse.