October has many traits and characteristics, however the most important is the color orange. As the month progresses, leaves will begin to change to their orange hue, orange Halloween-themed Oreos will be back to nauseate the American consumer and, most importantly, the orange basketball will bounce once again in the return of the NBA. We’re three weeks away from the season opener, and thus, it is time for NBA over/unders.
For those of you who don’t know, before every NBA season, Las Vegas releases a win total for each team, and the betting public can bet whether each squad will go over or under Vegas’s predicted number of regular season wins. This week, we shall go over the East teams. Like Drake, we will start from the bottom (spoiler alert: the 76ers) and proceed from there. I am essentially giving you free money because obviously, all of these picks will (likely not) be correct, so make sure to fly to Vegas and score some cash.
Of course, I get a 10 percent cut.
-Allowing almost 110 points per game last year, the 76ers were not what most call a “good” team. In fact, they were horrendous…like historically bad. Even with all that said, Philadelphia will be worse than they were last season. During the offseason, Philadelphia traded its best player in Thaddeus Young and will undergo another rebuilding year. This has been ongoing since the team traded Allen Iverson, as the 76ers have been a laughingstock since his departure. The only positive is Michael Carter Williams. The reigning Rookie of the Year improved dramatically as the season went on and will be a lone bright spot for Philly. UNDER
Another Eastern Conference garbage-fire, the Milwaukee Bucks actually tried to make the playoffs last year. It seems so long ago, but the Bucks were a playoff contender and trendy pick before the 2013-14 season started. Then…the season started. Milwaukee finished with a league worst 15 victories and finished the season on a 1-9 slide. Even with improvements to their bench and the addition of rookie Jabari Parker, they are not 10 wins better. UNDER
The Celtics are certainly an enigma. They seem to be starting from scratch with a young, raw roster, however the presence of Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green ensure that the Celtics will be able to compete on a game-by-game basis. Even with the Rondo injury, there is a lot of talent on this roster from Jared Sullinger to lottery-pick Marcus Smart. Boston will start off slow but I believe they will be a solid team after the All-Star break. Also, Brad Stevens is a darn good coach. OVER (But barely)
OLADIPO! Even though they only won 23 games last year, the Magic had a youthful and extremely talented roster. At the heart are future stars Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo. The Aaron Afflalo loss might be a boon to Orlando as it will allow the younger players to improve as the season progresses. With all that said, take the under. This team will be great in a few years but they have no veteran leadership and their best players are too young to be a threat in the East. UNDER
Sigh. Over the past few years, the Pacers cemented themselves as one of the contenders in the East. However, they had an offseason many would like to forget. First, they lost Lance Stephenson to free agency and then…the Paul George injury. I’m still trying to forget about that one. It sucks to have one of the best players in the league out for the entire season and his injury all but destroyed the Pacers chances of making the Playoffs. I think they go over the low 32.5 mark but not by much. OVER
Even though they are a great 2K team, the Pistons were putrid for most of last season. They played sloppily, had little to no chemistry and relied way too heavily on Josh Smith. With all that said, I think the Pistons make the Playoffs this year. There’s so much talent on this roster that I see a breakout year for Detroit. The key addition wasn’t a player but that of Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy was one of the best coaches in the league when he had Dwight Howard and led the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals. Now with Detroit, Van Gundy has talented big men in Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. With the coaching improvement, I see the Pistons getting to at least 40 wins. OVER
Even though I despise Carmelo Anthony, I see big things out of him this year. Melo now has a Coach and General Manager, Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson respectively, who will build a solid foundation around him. The Knicks were awful most of last year and still finished with 37 wins. I really like Jose Calderon on this squad. His shooting and ability to spread the floor works with Anthony’s game. OVER
This may be my favorite line in the East. I think Atlanta is going to turn some heads this year, in a good way. The Hawks lost their best player in Al Horford for a large portion of last season and still made the playoffs. Coach Mike Budeholzer is one of the best in the league and this team is perfectly set up for him. He wants shooters and Atlanta has that in bulk. A backcourt of Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague is one of the most underrated in the league. Atlanta will definitely be in the playoff picture again, with well more than 40.5 wins. OVER
I don’t get it. Why do the Nets have such a high over/under? Yeah, they won 44 games last season but that was with Paul Pierce, a healthy Joe Johnson and a semi-healthy Kevin Garnett. Pierce is in Washington, Johnson usually succumbs to the injury bug and Kevin Garnett is in his 32nd NBA season. That last bit about Garnett isn’t actually true, but didn’t you have to think about it for a second? Deron Williams seems to be consistently banged up and has already stated that he is not feeling 100 percent. The only hope is Brook Lopez, who also seems to be injured for large stretches of every season. With Kidd gone, I don’t see the Nets having a chance to go above .500. They may make the Playoffs but that’s more an insult to the East than a compliment to the Nets. UNDER
Like their fan count, the Heat’s projected win total is dropping. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Heat lost a pretty important player. Of course, I’m talking about James Jones. Oh yeah, and that LeBron fella left too. The Heat still have talent with Wade, Bosh and newcomers Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng. I see the Heat surprising people and breaking the 43.5 bar. Chris Bosh is one of the best shooting big men in the league and will receive more touches this season. The Heat may have cooled down but they’re still hot. OVER
The Wizards are going to be one of the contenders in the East this season. The addition of Paul Pierce and another year of Wall, Beal, Gortat and Nene allows the Wizards to have the depth and talent that is so rare, especially in the mediocre Eastern Conference. With that said, I don’t think the Wiz make it to that 50 win mark. Especially early, there will be some chemistry problems in Washington as they lost key contributors Trevor Booker and Trevor Ariza. I think they go just a shade under that 49.5 wins but they will still be a top-four seed in the East. UNDER
The best backcourt in the league has become a regular discussion from year to year, however I believe the mantle will be passed to the Raptors during the 2014-15 season. Lowry and Derozan will both be All-Stars and Toronto will be a force to be reckoned with. This team is so deep at every position, and after years of inconsistency, this team is finally on the right track. OVER
This is essentially a bet on Derrick Rose. Can he stay healthy? Will be get back to his former MVP self? He had flashes of brilliance with the USA Basketball team but was one of the weak links on the team and was turnover prone. The safe bet here is the under because even if Rose is healthy, I expect a limited number of minutes. Also, 55.5 is an extremely high number. I’m taking the under but rooting for Rose. UNDER
The Cavs are going to be very, very, very good this year but, like the Heat in Lebron’s first year, I imagine they will experience some growing pains. Expect the Cavs to start off slowly and then click into gear by the second half of the season. No team in the East went over 58.5 wins last season and I expect that trend to hold steady. Take the under but, by god, this team is going to be fun to watch. UNDER
Follow Greg on Twitter @gott31 and listen to him on “The Round Table” Thursdays from 6-7 pm