nba win totals

2016-17 NBA Win Total Predictions

The MLB Playoffs are in full swing and the NFL is well under way so does that mean it’s too early to look at the quickly approaching NBA season? Never!

So for those who have been anxiously awaiting the season’s first tip, the first ground shaking slam dunk and for their teams to hit the court I offer the over-under picks for wins this year.  I’ve found a comprehensive list of NBA over unders from several sportsbooks at BoydsBets.

Some surprises, some of the usual suspects and maybe even a disappointment or two await. Don’t blame me, I just call it like I see it. How I see it looks something like this…

Atlanta Hawks – This is a team that has found themselves in the postseason conversation more often than not in recent history, and their formula has been defense, defense and more defense. Although they’ve lost some key components (namely Al Horford), don’t expect much of a fall off because of how they get here. Over 43.5

Boston Celtics – Speaking of the aforementioned Al Horford, a team on the rise welcomes the veteran leadership and the big man’s presence in the paint (an offensive boost here should help too), good math says a good team getting better plus Horford means good things. Over 51.5

Brooklyn Nets – A bad team that did little to nothing to change that shouldn’t expect much more than more of the same. Under 21.5

Charlotte Hornets – Mediocre teams generally need to do something reasonably impactful in order to rise above the medium. Simply put, they didn’t. Under 39.5

Chicago Bulls – Sometimes a team makes some surprising moves in the offseason, and sometimes the results can be surprisingly good or surprisingly bad. The Bulls will be in the group of good surprises this year. Over 38.5

Cleveland Cavaliers – The defending World Champions are ready to defend returning intact and healthy. History isn’t on their side when it comes to repeating, but expect them to be even better this year. Over 56.5

Dallas Mavericks – It is pretty obvious that this is a team going the wrong direction and I can’t see much that has happened between last season and now to reverse this trend. Under 39.5

Denver Nuggets – Even in a conference loaded with talent and contenders, the young nucleus and leadership of this team appears to be headed in the right direction. Over 34.5

Detroit Pistons – Unlike the Denver Nuggets in the West, the East doesn’t look to be as threatening on paper, and the Pistons look to be at least as good if not better on paper. Jackson, Caldwell-Pope and Drummond could very well be an under the radar team. Over 45.5

Golden State Warriors – Even non basketball fans have likely heard the hype surrounding the addition of Kevin Durant this offseason. Could one player make that much of a difference, in this case, absolutely. I’d have to expect some growing pains at periods this year with that much talent and figuring out how K.D. fits in. Championship season, probably. Under 66.5

Houston Rockets – This team is more than just Harden and company, but there is no question that he is the man in Houston. That being said, as James Harden goes, so goes the Rockets. I don’t expect the loss of an unreliable, albeit talented big man to have much impact. Over 41.5

Indiana Pacers – Returning essentially the same squad from a 45 win unit last year, the additions made certainly can’t hurt and a conference not as strong as a year ago definitely helps. Over 43.5

Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers have been pretty good for some time now, and this could be the year they are ready to challenge the stacked Warriors. Hungry and talented, if they stay healthy they could be the stumbling block for Golden State. Over 53.5

Los Angeles Lakers – Another abysmal year for the historically great Lakers? Yes. Give this team two or three years and that will all change in a hurry, just not this year. Under 24.5

Memphis Grizzlies – This team is my surprise of the year, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them in the Conference Championship game. Why? Defense, balance and one intangible – this is an angry team that fees like fate has been dealing them ugly hands, and it has with injuries and so on. Over 43.5

Miami Heat – Miami just doesn’t have enough of anything, with the exception of Whiteside, and he alone isn’t even close to enough. This is going to be a long year for Heat fans. Under 36.5

Milwaukee Bucks – Occasionally this team has shown glimpses of being a contender, but that is merely a façade. This is a middle-of-the-road team that will be just that. That makes this an iffy over-under, but I’m going with under. Under 39.5

Minnesota Timberwolves – This team will win more than the 29 games notched last year, but they are still young and finding their way and their identity. Under 41.5

New Orleans Pelicans – I don’t want to contradict myself here, so when I say Anthony Davis may arguably be the most dominant player in the league, I’m not saying the Pelicans are going to be good or win the championship. They will win more than expected though, provided he stays healthy. Over 36.5

New York Knicks – A very busy offseason, a bunch of changes and a city hungry for success doesn’t necessarily mean anything, anything. Under 38.5

Oklahoma City Thunder – So K.D. has left, and Westbrook has an even greater role to play (if that is even possible) than before. Yes, Russell is still great. No, they aren’t as good without Durant. Under 45.5

Orlando Magic – Perhaps one of the toughest calls to make this season, how much will the additions help, and how much will the loss of a couple of key player hurt? Under 36.5

Philadelphia 76ers – Just plain bad last year. Better this year? Hard not to be, but not by much. Under 27.5

Phoenix Suns – The Suns will be better this year, playoffs are probably a stretch though. Over 26.5

Portland Trail Blazers – A team unlike most that remembers that defense still counts, and counts towards winning. Better than last year, maybe. Playoffs, bank on it. Over 46.5

Sacramento Kings – Just another example of having an “All World” player (Cousins), but not enough else. Under 32.5

San Antonio – With San Antonio it is like the NFL Patriots or the MLB Giants of the past decade. The system and the coaching is enough to keep them competitive. Over 56.5

Toronto Raptors – Don’t expect them to be better than last year as there wasn’t much noise made between last year and now. Do expect them to be about the same in the “W” column. Over 49.5

Utah Jazz – Basing this entirely off of last year, as this is a good team and basically the same team. Slight improvement over the 40 wins last season, but slight. Under 47.5

Washington Wizards – One more of those questionable calls in the Wizards this year. This should be a really good team, that has been just okay. I have to believe they are still good enough to scare some teams and perform a bit better this year. Over 42.5


Top Rookies to Watch for the 2016-17 NBA Season

This years batch of NBA rookies are a mixed batch of youthful players, experienced players and some players who seem to have potential to be NBA game changers but as always, the proof is in the pudding.

From a rare skill set in the likes of the overall number one pick, to experienced players having been through proven NBA player producing college systems, these are players I see as impact players, either this season or in the very near future.

The overall draft is loaded with potential and talent, and it appears that much of the success of this year’s class will depend on the system they find themselves in and how they are used.

Denzel Valentine 

He led Michigan State in points, assists and steals, but Valentine’s leadership was much greater than statistical categories. The versatile forward may be the most NBA ready, and as the unquestioned floor leader, emotional leader and crunch time go to guy, he takes the tools that coach Izzo’s leaders leave Michigan State with into the NBA.

Think Draymond Green now with Golden State. His biggest hurdle may be finding the right role with the Chicago Bulls, a team that is in the midst of some transition and player turnover. If Chicago figures out how to utilize Valentine and maximize his potential, the results could be immediate.

Buddy Hield 

His shooting ability is obviously his greatest asset heading into the next level. Unlike the previously mentioned Valentine, however, his role with the New Orleans Pelicans should be more clearly defined.

It isn’t hard to see him getting really good looks early and often with the Pelicans using the amazing talents of Davis inside as they could work an extremely effective inside out game.

Brandon Ingram 

Rookies can hope for one of two situations coming into the NBA. Either joining an established and successful team that will allow growth and afford learning experiences from proven winners or joining a team that is young and rebuilding.

Ingram, with his skills and athleticism (although he will need to add some size to his slender build), can be easily envisioned as a perfect fit for the Los Angeles Lakers and their young nucleus. There could be some concerns with the Lakers being too young, meaning who (other than the coaches) can help Ingram integrate his skills into the NBA game.

Kris Dunn 

Dunn finds himself in a potentially good situation with the Minnesota Timberwolves. A team lacking (and needing) one more good ball handler could find Dunn to be the answer and allow Minnesota to take advantage of their scorers who primarily need players to feed them in the right spots, and get the ball into the post for scoring looks.

The big question mark is how he will handle the defensive looks and the defensive minded guards at the Pro level. Summer league is one thing, the NBA season is another. Dunn may be the biggest unknown of my group of five, and he could also have the greatest impact too.

Ben Simmons 

Everyone knows the possibilities for this young stud, and his unique gift of possessing both physical strength and a soft touch makes those possibilities more than exciting. The big question mark for Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers is his jump shot, but that is also good news as this may be one of the easiest areas to improve upon, especially with his talent set.

The number one overall pick does carry the burden of being the number one pick, but once again this should highlight one more strength as Simmons has shown a maturity beyond his years. I don’t know if expecting him to immediately bring the 76ers to contender level is fair, but they will be better with him.


2016 MLB Predictions

The 2016 MLB season is almost here and what better way to prepare yourself than to read up on some predictions on how the teams will do this year?

Let’s start with the Cy Young Awards.  Who has the best chance of winning in each league?

National League

I’m going with Clayton Kershaw.  He’s been absolutely dominant the last few years and there is no reason suspect he’ll be anything less this season.  A couple of guys who will contend with him are Jake Arietta, who pitched superbly in the second half, Madison Bumgarner, Max Scherzer and Jake deGrom.

American League

The AL isn’t as clear cut to me.  I like David Price.  He’ll be pitching in Boston.  The Red Sox should be improved.  But there is a lot of competition from the likes of the Indians’ Corey Kulber and Carlos Carrasco.  There is Chris Archer for the Rays.  Chis Sale for the White Sox, and don’t sleep on Felix Hernandex for the Seattle Mariners.  He had a down year but should be motivated to prove he’s still one of the top aces in the business.

Let’s move on to the MVP award and who is likely to win those.


Is this a clown question bro?  Bryce Harper seems to be getting better and better every year, and he wasn’t too bad last year.  He’s my top pick.  How about if Giancarlo Stanton can just stay healthy?  Nobody has the power that he has.  Andrew McCutchen wasn’t 100% last year, but if that’s a down year he’s a player to be mentioned in this race every season.  Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks is someone else to keep an eye on.


You know that Mike Trout is going to be right there in this conversation every year and since he didn’t win it last year I’m going with him this year.  Last year’s MVP was Josh Donaldson and while he was a good player, I think he’s going to take a step back.  Miguel Cabrera is only 32, but everyone is writing him off as past his prime.  Expect a return to glory in 2016.

World Series

There are some good teams in the NL this year.  Everyone is big on the Chicago Cubs.  I don’t disagree that they will be good, but give me the San Francisco Giants.  They have proven year after year that they can get it done not only in the regular season but also in the playoffs.  The Mets won’t surprise anyone this year and they’ll have tough competition in the Nationals.  I think the Dodgers will be right there too.  San Fran though is the team to beat.

Moving over to the AL side of things I’m going with the Red Sox.  Sure they were terrible last year, but I like that David Price signing.  I also like their young players like Mookie Betts.  The Blue Jays and Royals will both be tough, and the Astros aren’t going to sneak up on anyone this year.  All those teams I liek to make the playoffs along with the Indians.

Overall, I’m sticking with the Giants.  Tough pitching, timely hitting, and guys who show they can just win when games matter the most.


NCAA Tournament Preview

The teams have been set and it’s time to start filling out your brackets for the 2016 NCAA Tournament.  If you want the best chance of winning your bracket then I recommend using the Vegas odds to your advantage.  Basically, let the experts tell you how far to advance each team in your bracket.

Let me know you figure out what that means.

Overall champions: Kansas, Michigan State, or North Carolina.  These are the three favorites to win it all.  You are going to be better off having one of these teams cutting down the nets in the end.  That means the championship game should feature Kansas and either Michigan State or North Carolina.  What other team makes the Final Four?  It’s a toss up between Oregon and Oklahoma.  Personally I would go with Oklahoma.


It’s pretty easy to slot Kansas at least until the Elite 8.  The odds say you should take them in the Final Four.  Who else has a chance?  Villanova and Miami.  Cal is likely to make the Sweet 16 too.  Wichita State could be a sleeper.  I would imagine they are favored over Arizona.  Iowa is big favorite over Temple but will be a big dog to the Wildcats.


Oregon and Oklahoma are likely to make the Elite 8.  Duke and Texas A&M are the next teams on the list.  There is a good chance those teams will all be left in the Sweet 16.  VCU might be a 10 but they are favored over Oregon State.  St. Joe’s and Baylor are also favored to advance.  Texas has a slight edge over UNI, but if you need another upset this could be a ripe spot for one.


North Carolina is a big favorite, but Kentucky isn’t too far behind.  If you are in a large pool and need a sleeper title contender the Wildcats would be a good choice.  The odds see Providence winning in the first round, Indiana losing to Kentucky in the second, Notre Dame losing to West Virginia, Wisconsin over Pitt and then Xavier over Wisconsin.  West Virginia is favored over Xavier so I would advance them to your Elite 8.


The two-seed Michigan State is the popular choice to advance here, followed by Virginia.  Butler is favored over Texas Tech, Purdue over Iowa State in the second round, Gonzaga over Seton Hall but then they get beat by Utah, Syracuse upsetting Dayton are how the rest of the bracket plays out.

Does playing the odds give you a better shot at a $1 billion perfect bracket?  Probably not.  But it does give you the best chance to maximize your point total and beat all of your friends.  However, the larger the pool that you are in the more you have to go outside the box in order to take home the first place prize.