This article is part of our DraftKings Sportsbook series.
This week I went through the NBA team over/under win total lines on Draft Kings and FanDuel and was able to pinpoint the best values on each site. This is the best time to place your bets, as the lines will move toward the consensus as we get closer to the start of the season.
Here are the lines and bets I like the most on DK:
|2020-21 Wins (82-game pace)||2021-22 Line||Bet|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||25.1||26.5||Under (-115)|
|Dallas Mavericks||47.8||48.5||Over (+100)|
|Detroit Pistons||22.8||24.5||Under (+100)|
|Memphis Grizzlies||43.3||41.5||Under (+100)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||52.4||54.5||Over (-115)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||35.3||39.5||Under (-110)|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||25.1||23.5||Under (-120)|
|Orlando Magic||23.9||22.5||Under (-105)|
|Sacramento Kings||35.3||36.5||Under (-120)|
|San Antonio Spurs||37.6||28.5||Over (-110)|
|Utah Jazz||59.2||51.5||Over (-110)|
Cleveland Cavaliers under 26.5 wins (-115)
It's been much-discussed this offseason how many teams will be gunning for the playoffs this year in each conference. In the East, the Cavaliers, Pistons and Magic are the only three teams that can't conceivably get to 40-plus wins, so they will be underdogs most nights. Using any advanced stat, Larry Nance was one of the Cavaliers' three best rotation players last season. More importantly, he was pretty clearly the team's best or second-best defensive player — it was debatable between him and Jarrett Allen. With the exception of Allen, every player on this team projects to be really bad at one end of the court, and the old guys (Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio) and top rookie (Evan Mobley) could be bad at both ends. There are some guys with pedigree and some guys on big contracts, but I still don't think there's a single winning player on this roster other than Allen, and he's roughly the 15th best center in the league, so he's hardly a player who will lift this team up by himself. This isn't one of my "best bets", and the -115 vig isn't ideal, but with such a clear hierarchy of 12 playoff hopefuls and three bottom feeders, I like going under on the teams like Cleveland who the good teams need to beat.
Dallas Mavericks over 48.5 wins (+100)
I'm worried about the clear downgrade from Rick Carlisle to Jason Kidd, but at the same time, I think Carlisle's voice had stopped resonating with Luka Doncic, so it might not be as big of a downgrade as it appears on paper. The big reason I like this over is that COVID-19 and injuries really hurt the quality of the supporting cast last year. Maxi Kleber, who is typically one of the most underrated players in the league, was never right physically, and Kristaps Porzingis was downright bad at times. Even Dorian Finney-Smith, who had a good year on the whole, was a much better player in the second half of the season once he was able to get right. Getting rid of Josh Richardson and bringing in better spacing with Reggie Bullock should help the offense return to its heights of the 2019-20 season. Porzingis hitting rock bottom last year could lead to him putting in the necessary work and making the necessary sacrifices to return to the defensive force he once was. The Mavs can hit this over even if Porzingis never returns to his 2019-20 level, but they can blow past the over if Porzingis is able to have a bounce-back year, and you're getting this line for even money.
Detroit Pistons under 24.5 wins (+100)
As with the Cavaliers, a big part of the appeal here is that the Pistons are a clear bottom-three team in the conference, so not only will they be underdogs most nights, the good teams don't have the luxury of relaxing against the bad teams, since the competition to get into the playoffs will be so stiff. The cheat code here is Killian Hayes, who is one of the worst players in the league, but who was also such a recent lottery pick that he won't be banished from the rotation, at least not early in the season. Having the undeniably worst starting point guard in the league is a nice place to start. I also think there could be some hierarchy issues with this roster. Clearly Cade Cunningham should be the point guard, but Hayes can't play well off the ball. Jerami Grant will want to be the go-to scorer on the wing again, but that honor should go to Cunningham as well, and I'm not sure Saddiq Bey is ready to accept being a clear role player so early in his career, especially coming off such a strong rookie season. The core of Cunningham, Bey and Isaiah Stewart is promising long term, but this team is still very early in its rebuild, so they should be motivated to get another high lottery pick.
Memphis Grizzlies under 41.5 wins (+100)
The Grizzlies wisely opted to zig while the rest of the league zagged this offseason. They traded arguably their best regular-season player from last year (Jonas Valanciunas) for a significantly worse player (Steven Adams) who is under contract long term. Valanciunas was going to demand a pricey long-term extension after the season, so they avoided that potential trap while giving themselves a chance at a decent lottery pick this year. Unlike last year, they will get a full season from Jaren Jackson, and while he is their second-best long-term prospect, he is arguably still a negative real-life player at this point, due to his shaky defense and high foul rate. Additionally, if they play this year's lottery pick, Ziaire Williams, much at all, those minutes will be very negative, as he is a long-term project. This roster probably still has more talent than desperate Western Conference teams like the Pelicans, Timberwolves and Kings, but it seems pretty clear that, unlike those three teams, they won't be managing this season with a must-win attitude, which will affect things on the margins.
Milwaukee Bucks over 54.5 wins (-115)
I was pleasantly surprised to see Bucks ownership suck it up and accept a high luxury tax bill with their moves this offseason. Letting P.J. Tucker go was controversial, but it certainly won't have much of an impact on this team's regular-season production. Tucker is the epitome of a 16-game player. While I expect Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to be managed carefully from a workload standpoint, a lot of that can come at the end of blowout wins and against walkover opponents. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo appears extremely motivated to build off last season's championship, and with him in the middle of his prime, there is no reason to not let him go after a third MVP award. George Hill and Grayson Allen should represent upgrades over D.J. Augustin and Bryn Forbes, and I think the on-court chemistry between Holiday and the other Bucks regulars should be better than it was early last season. Few teams have this level of continuity and home-court advantage, and unlike the Brooklyn Nets (who are a stay away at 56.5), the Bucks will desperately want that home-court advantage come playoff time.
New Orleans Pelicans under 39.5 wins (-110)
This is the best bet on the board. The Pelicans were on a 35.3-win 82-game pace last season, and they clearly got worse this offseason. They might have the worst defensive backcourt in the league, and the one big thing Steven Adams is better at than Jonas Valanciunas is defense, so their biggest weakness appears poised to become an even more devastating shortcoming. The Pelicans' best players didn't like Stan Van Gundy's style, but SVG is probably a better tactician than Willie Green, although that is still to be determined. On top of all of that, Zion Williamson was healthier last year than anticipated, and if he misses significant time this year, they'll cruise to the under. I really don't know what the case for the over is.
Oklahoma City Thunder under 23.5 wins (-120)
The Thunder suffered a catastrophic setback with this summer's Draft Lottery results. Granted, they could have salvaged things by taking Jonathan Kuminga or Alperen Sengun at No. 6, but potentially squandering that pick only helps the case for this under. They can't afford to not get a top-five pick in next year's draft, so they will do whatever it takes to sink to the bottom. The roster is bad enough that they may not even have to shut Shai Gilgeous-Alexander down to get there. We could see them trade Luguentz Dort to a contender in season, which would help that effort, and giving Aleksej Pokusevski a full season to explore the studio space should be just what the doctor ordered.
Orlando Magic under 22.5 wins (-105)
The Magic could be even worse than the Thunder. They were only on a 23.9-win 82-game pace last year, and that was with over half a season of Nikola Vucevic and with Steve Clifford at the helm. Clifford may not be considered one of the game's best coaches, but he is one of the game's best floor raisers. His defensive schemes and ability to drag this Magic team to the eighth seed in past seasons should not be overlooked when considering this under. Jamahl Mosely may end up being a good long-term replacement for Clifford, but Mosely is there to develop young players, not win games. This team obviously needs another high lottery pick, and they won't need to pull off anything shady to finish with one of the two worst records in the league.
Sacramento Kings under 36.5 wins (-120)
The Kings were on a 35.3-win 82-game pace last season. Why would they be better this year? Luke Walton is arguably the worst coach in the league, but instead of firing him, they kept him so that they didn't need to pay him millions to go away. That never works out, but it's great for those of us who want to bet the under. This team should have traded Harrison Barnes last season, but they opted to hold him for some reason. When they fail to contend again this season, they'll have to seriously consider such a move at the trade deadline. This team isn't good enough to be strongly in the mix for the playoffs, so if they are motivated to do anything, it will be to improve their lottery odds. The -120 vig isn't ideal, and I don't think this is one to hammer, but a modest bet is still worthwhile.
San Antonio Spurs over 28.5 wins (-110)
This is one of the stranger lines on the board. DeMar DeRozan was the most well-known player on the team last year, but he was their worst defender and he didn't stretch the floor. They brought in Doug McDermott, who is actually a slightly better defender than DeRozan, but more importantly, he will stretch the floor. They also brought in Thaddeus Young, who is one of the most underrated players in the league. This could be one of the top five defenses in the NBA. Jakob Poeltl and Dejounte Murray form one of the best center-point guard defensive duos in the game, and Young, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell also bring strong defense to the table. The offense won't be great, but expecting this team to go from a 37.6-win 82-game pace to 28 wins is bizarre. Additionally, unlike teams like the Thunder and the Rockets, the Spurs will be very motivated to win every game this season, as it could be Gregg Popovich's last.
Utah Jazz over 51.5 wins (-110)
This is another one of my favorite bets on the board. I have always thought of Hassan Whiteside as death to any team's chances of hitting their over, but the Jazz were on a 59.2-win pace last year and Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley both missed significant time. They swap out Derrick Favors and Georges Niang for Rudy Gay and Whiteside, which may be a slight downgrade, but not enough for this team to be eight wins worse, all things considered. Additionally, the Jazz will be desperate to get the No. 1 seed, while the Lakers will be prioritizing health, rather than seeding, heading into the playoffs.