Caesars Sportsbook released its NBA win totals Thursday for the upcoming season, so it got us thinking about potential early bets that might be worth a wager.
Our experts -- Joe Fortenbaugh, Jordan Schultz, Preston Johnson and Doug Kezirian -- give their thoughts on the numbers that grabbed their attention.
Note: Opening odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Which number gets you excited to go place now?
Kezirian: Jazz over 54 and Grizzlies under 25.5
Every season there is one team that treats the regular season more seriously than most. Two years ago it was the Houston Rockets, fresh off the Chris Paul trade. Last year it was the Milwaukee Bucks with a new offense focusing on the 3-pointer. My gut tells me it is Utah this year, which is rejuvenated with the addition of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic. They are both exactly what this team needed. Donovan Mitchell was forced to carry too much off the offensive load. After a disappointing season (by their standards), I can see the Jazz attacking the regular season with seriousness and hunger. This is their championship window, and they know it. Additionally, they have an inflated home record during the regular season because of lengthy road trips and altitude. This could be a dominant home team.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are a bad basketball team. They were dead last in scoring and 27th in offensive efficiency and they lost their best offensive weapon by trading Conley. Rookie Ja Morant will provide some excitement and Jonas Valanciunas will post respectable numbers, but they won't prove to be the difference between wins and losses. Andre Iguodala figures to resurface with a new team and this entire situation will wreak of a rebuilding effort. Throw in a Western Conference schedule and The Grind House will officially assume a new identity.
Fortenbaugh: Magic over 40.5
After six years of toiling away in the undesirable region that resides between irrelevant and inexcusable, the Orlando Magic burst onto the Eastern Conference scene last season by recording 42 wins and their first trip to the postseason since 2012. Perhaps more impressive, however, was how Orlando closed out the 2018-19 campaign, winning 11 of its final 13 games to secure both a divisional title and the seventh seed in the East. The meat and potatoes of the roster is back, Toronto's Kawhi Leonard moved west and the upcoming schedule is loaded with showdowns against below-average franchises like Washington, Atlanta and Charlotte. Forty-one wins feels comfortable given the circumstances.
Schultz: Blazers over 47.5
How quickly we forget that the Blazers just won 53 games and advanced to the conference finals for the first time in 19 years. Hassan Whiteside is a good pickup -- he can block shots and play screen-and-roll with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum -- as was Pau Gasol, who signed a one-year deal. Rodney Hood returns as a solid wing scorer, and Jusuf Nurkic proved himself as one of the premier young centers in the NBA before his injury. Don't forget that McCollum missed 12 games last year. Given how strong the West is, the Blazers may not get reach the 53-win mark again, but 47.5 is way too low for a team this talented, experienced and well coached with Terry Stotts at the helm.
Johnson: Thunder over 30
The Thunder opened at 28 and quickly moved to 31. They still have good value. The Thunder lost Paul George and Russell Westbrook, but the current roster is still well above a 31-win team. Chris Paul dropped off this past season, but he's still an impactful point guard who has plenty of experience running a pick-and-roll offense. They received Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the Clippers in the trade for George. Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the most promising rookies from last year; he can defend multiple positions and already runs offense like a veteran. Danilo Gallinari also came over in the trade and they bring back a finally healthy Andre Roberson, Dennis Schroder, Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel, and Terrance Ferguson. I project the Thunder for 36.7 wins this year. This is the biggest discrepancy between my numbers and the season win totals that opened at Caesars.