Article courtesy OddsShark (@OddsShark)
With NBA teams resting players now more than ever before, it has become difficult to project how many wins they will post during the regular season. Last year, the Milwaukee Bucks went a league-best 60-22 before falling to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. This season, the Bucks again lead the way with the highest Win Total of 56.5 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Milwaukee swept NBA Awards for MVP (Giannis Antetokounmpo) and Coach of the Year (Mike Budenholzer) after having the best regular-season record, and the competition in the Eastern Conference was weakened when Kawhi Leonard left the Raptors for the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent.
Antetokounmpo still missed 10 games for the Bucks, who did not have one player participate in all 82 last year.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the third-highest Win Total overall at 53.5 as the projected second-best team in the East, and no other team in the conference is higher than 48.5 at sports betting sites.
The Clippers are second on the board with a Win Total of 55.5 after going 48-34 without Leonard. They are favored to win the NBA title as well, with a lower Win Total than Milwaukee only because the Western Conference should be much more competitive. Leonard and fellow new addition Paul George are expected to lead the Clippers to one of their highest Win Totals in history, as their best record ever was 57-25 six years ago.
The Los Angeles Lakers will be battling the Clippers for supremacy in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, and their Win Total is surprisingly low at 51.5 on those NBA odds considering they have All-Star Anthony Davis joining LeBron James in Hollywood along with a solid supporting cast.
Again, rest and injuries are part of the process in making Win Totals for oddsmakers, and the odds of Davis and James playing the entire regular season is very slim. They are a prime candidate to pace themselves throughout the year without worrying much about earning the No. 1 seed in the West. The Houston Rockets are at 51.5 too after trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.
It is important to remember that the Lakers and Clippers share the same arena in the Staples Center, so home-court advantage between them in a potential playoff matchup would not be the same. Other top contenders in the West like the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets will likely value a home-court edge more, so oddsmakers have their Win Totals similar to the Lakers at 52.5 and 50.5, respectively.
The five-time defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors also have their lowest Win Total in years at 47.5 due to the fact that they no longer have Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will miss most of the season if not all of it due to a torn ACL suffered in the NBA Finals.