Odds against Philadelphia 76ers

LAS VEGAS -- It's no secret things figure to be bad this season for a Philadelphia 76ers team doing little more than masquerading as an NBA franchise.

Leave it to the oddsmakers in this gambling city to show just how bad things could be for a team contending for nothing but the NBA's next top draft pick.

As the regular season tips off, the over-under for 76ers victories is 16.5, the lowest of any team and the lowest total LVH sports book oddsmaker Jeff Sherman can remember putting up on any NBA team in the past decade or so.

That means optimistic Philly fans (assuming there are any for a team with only a handful of legitimate NBA players) can win if they bet their team will win 17 times during the 82-game season. Conversely, those who think the 76ers are even worse than they seem can cash in if the win total is 16 or fewer.

"They've pretty much made it known in Philadelphia they're trying to get the No. 1 pick for Andrew Wiggins and not holding back," Sherman said. "Teams try for the draft pick sometimes late in the season, but they're basically doing it the whole season."

It gets even better for true believers. They can get odds of 9,999-1 if they want to wager at the LVH on the 76ers winning the title.

"It was the highest number our computers would let us put in," Sherman said.

The 76ers aren't alone in coveting Wiggins, who has scouts drooling even though he's just beginning his freshman season at Kansas. Things are pretty dismal in the desert, too, with the Phoenix Suns posted as the next-worst team with an over-under total of 19.5 wins.

Perhaps most surprising, though, is that oddsmakers have such little respect for the chances of the Los Angeles Lakers and their aging and injury-prone cast of stars. They believe the Lakers will lose more than they win, with an over-under of 34.5 wins for the season.

"We've been writing a lot of over money from the public having a hard time believing the Lakers are going to be that bad," Sherman said. "We have a different view when you look at how severe Kobe's injury is and the mileage of [Steve] Nash and [Pau] Gasol."

Sherman, who teams with fellow oddsmaker Ed Salmons to put up the first betting lines weeks before the season opens, has the defending champion Miami Heat favored again for most wins, though with an over-under of 60.5 he doesn't believe the Heat will approach last season's win total of 66.

"That was one of the easier ones and it was close to what we had last year," he said. "They won more than that last year, but that included a 27-game winning streak that we don't expect to be repeated."

Miami is also favored at 2-1 to win another NBA title, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9-2, the Chicago Bulls at 6-1 and the San Antonio Spurs at 8-1.