The Golden State Warriors are projected to win 10 more games during the regular season than the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, according to season win totals posted Tuesday by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
The Warriors' season win total is set at 66.5. The Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs each opened at 56.5 at the Westgate.
The day after Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors, the SuperBook opened the over/under on Golden State's season win total at 68.5. It is the highest win total oddsmaker Jeff Sherman has ever posted prior to the season and attracted early money on the under from sharp bettors.
"Basically, the sharps are liking the under [on Golden State] and the public is liking the over," Sherman said.
The 10-win gap between the Warriors and the other elite teams, Cleveland and San Antonio, is unusual, Sherman said. In past seasons, the elite teams had opening win totals in the range of 61.5, with the next tier of contenders listed in the high 50s. In addition to the Cavaliers and Spurs, only two other teams -- the LA Clippers (53.5) and Boston Celtics (51.5) -- opened with win totals greater than 50.
"It's really an outlier for the Warriors to be as separated as they are," Sherman said.
Several teams that missed the playoffs last season are projected to make significant improvements. After going 10-72 last season, the Philadelphia 76ers' win total opened at 27. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who hired coach Tom Thibodeau after going 29-53 last season, opened with a win total of 41.5. The Utah Jazz's win total opened at 47.5, the third highest in the Western Conference.
Sherman said Tuesday that almost four times as much money had been bet on the Warriors than on any other team. Approximately 60 percent of the money bet on Westgate's odds to win the NBA title is on Golden State.
The Warriors, however, haven't attracted the most overall bets to win the championship. At the SuperBook, more bets have been placed on the 80-1 longshot New York Knicks than any other team.