At All-Star Break, NBA Over/Unders Already Almost Over

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The NBA is about 70% of the way into its season — a strange point at which to have an All-Star break, but no need to litigate that now — and since there are no games to wager on until Thursday, it’s a fine time to stop and assess win totals.

Sports betting operators posted lines before the season as to how many games out of 82 each team would win, and with 25 or fewer remaining for each squad, the results are mostly coming into focus.

The lines on win totals varied somewhat from sportsbook to sportsbook and shifted a bit leading up to the season, so for this article, we’re using the closest we could find to consensus lines entering the opening tip. Based on those numbers, each team’s record to this point, and its remaining strength of schedule, we’ve broken the league into categories: teams that have already clinched over or under, teams that are more or less a lock in one direction or the other, and teams that are trending toward a particular result but still could go either way.

That latter group is surprisingly small with 30% of the season to go.

Here’s where every team stands:

Already clinched the under

Golden State Warriors

Preseason over/under: 53.5
Record at All-Star break: 29-29 (.500)
Remaining strength of schedule: 16th
Comment: The defending champs still have the ninth-shortest title odds at FanDuel because of their pedigree and what they’re capable of in the playoffs, if healthy. But with 24 games remaining, they’re 24.5 wins shy of the line and the only team in the league that can’t possibly hit its over.

Lock/near-lock for the under

Los Angeles Clippers

Preseason over/under: 52.5
Record at All-Star break: 33-28 (.541)
Remaining strength of schedule: 2nd
Comment: Kawhi Leonard has played in just 34 of 61 games, and those who bet the over counting on more than that haven’t been paying much attention to Kawhi in recent years. To hit the over, the Clips need to go 20-1 the rest of the way against the second-toughest remaining schedule of opponents. Absolutely no chance.

Phoenix Suns

Preseason over/under: 53.5
Record at All-Star break: 32-28 (.533)
Remaining strength of schedule: 6th
Comment: The Suns need to go a perfect 22-0 post-All-Star break to hit their over. With the talent they have once Kevin Durant returns from injury, they could go on a run (and they’re the favorite to win the Western Conference, with odds as short as +200 at Barstool Sportsbook). But 22-0? It’s more possible than the Clippers going 20-1, but that’s not saying much.

Charlotte Hornets

Preseason over/under: 36.5
Record at All-Star break: 17-43 (.283)
Remaining strength of schedule: 22nd
Comment: This line struck most experts as a reach from the start, and now that the Hornets are in tank mode (like almost every other Hornets season ever), don’t count on the 20-2 finish needed to go over.

San Antonio Spurs

Preseason over/under: 23.5
Record at All-Star break: 14-45 (.237)
Remaining strength of schedule: 13th
Comment: For some teams, expecting 10 wins in their final 23 games wouldn’t be unreasonable. For the Spurs, who haven’t won since Jan. 17, it is.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Preseason over/under: 49.5
Record at All-Star break: 31-30 (.508)
Remaining strength of schedule: 12th
Comment: Expectations were clearly too high after the Rudy Gobert trade, leaving the T-Wolves needing a 19-2 finish to hit their over.

Toronto Raptors

Preseason over/under: 46.5
Record at All-Star break: 28-31 (.475)
Remaining strength of schedule: 5th
Comment: To the surprise of most, the Raptors are fighting for their play-in tournament lives, and 19 wins in their final 23 games — especially against a tough remaining slate — isn’t a realistic possibility.

Houston Rockets

Preseason over/under: 24.5
Record at All-Star break: 13-45 (.224)
Remaining strength of schedule: 15th
Comment: This is similar to the Spurs’ situation, but the Rockets (a) have only lost seven in a row, not 14, and (b) show hints of friskiness from time to time, making the required 12-12 finish ever so slightly less impossible than what San Antonio faces.

Los Angeles Lakers

Preseason over/under: 45.5
Record at All-Star break: 27-32 (.458)
Remaining strength of schedule: 25th
Comment: With a soft schedule ahead of them and with every game essential to the Lakers as they scrape to make the play-in (standing two games out of the 10th seed at the break), the needed 19-4 finish is … well, it’s not happening, but you could maybe see LeBron & Co. coming close and at least finishing around .500.

Atlanta Hawks

Preseason over/under: 46.5
Record at All-Star break: 29-30 (.492)
Remaining strength of schedule: 3rd
Comment: That 2021 run to the Eastern Conference finals keeps looking more and more like a fluke, and expectations for Trae Young and friends probably need to come down by a few wins next season. For now, an 18-5 finish against stiff competition is just about off the table.

Detroit Pistons

Preseason over/under: 28.5
Record at All-Star break: 15-44 (.254)
Remaining strength of schedule: 29th
Comment: Who knows what this season would have looked like if Cade Cunningham had been healthy — 29 wins would probably have been doable. But it’s turned into another rebuilding year, in which it’s hard to imagine the Pistons winning 14 of their final 23 games.

Chicago Bulls

Preseason over/under: 44.5
Record at All-Star break: 26-33 (.441)
Remaining strength of schedule: 19th
Comment: The Bulls, just outside the play-in bubble at the All-Star break, are among this season’s most disappointing teams. Even though they figure to play hard the rest of the way, a 19-4 finish falls outside any reasonable range of expectations.

Miami Heat

Preseason over/under: 50.5
Record at All-Star break: 32-27 (.542)
Remaining strength of schedule: 9th
Comment: Miami is a quality team that could potentially make some noise in the playoffs. It could crawl out of the play-in range and into a top-six seed, but what the Heat won’t do is finish 19-4 or better. (And no, the addition of Kevin Love doesn’t change anything.)

Brooklyn Nets

Preseason over/under: 51.5
Record at All-Star break: 34-24 (.586)
Remaining strength of schedule: 7th
Comment: The Nets need to go 18-6 down the stretch to hit their over, and their collection of pieces after trading Durant and Kyrie Irving isn’t bad. They probably aren’t going to win 75% of their remaining games, but we won’t call it a total impossibility.

Dallas Mavericks

Preseason over/under: 48.5
Record at All-Star break: 31-29 (.517)
Remaining strength of schedule: 30th
Comment: The Mavs are only on pace for 42.3 wins, and they’re almost certainly going to go under — but with the softest remaining schedule in the league and with Kyrie looking interested and motivated (for now), we won’t say definitively that they can’t win 18 of their final 22.

Trending toward under

Portland Trail Blazers

Preseason over/under: 40.5
Record at All-Star break: 28-30 (.483)
Remaining strength of schedule: 14th
Comment: To go over, Dame Lillard’s crew needs to go 13-11 the rest of the way. Like the Lakers, they’re in every-game-matters mode. This could go either way, but the math says 40-42 is their most likely final record.

New Orleans Pelicans

Preseason over/under: 44.5
Record at All-Star break: 30-29 (.508)
Remaining strength of schedule: 28th
Comment: The bar is higher for the Pels than for the Blazers, as they’ll need a 15-8 finish to hit their over. The under is clearly the favorite. But they have an easy remaining schedule, so with or without the injured Zion Williamson, their fate is not sealed yet. 

Trending toward over

Boston Celtics

Preseason over/under: 55.5
Record at All-Star break: 42-17 (.712)
Remaining strength of schedule: 10th
Comment: Boston needs to go 14-9 in its final 23 games, and 14-9 would be the worst 23-game stretch this team has had all season. The Celtics are going to go over — as long as they don’t go from lightly nibbled by the injury bug to fully devoured by it.

Philadelphia 76ers

Preseason over/under: 50.5
Record at All-Star break: 38-19 (.667)
Remaining strength of schedule: 1st
Comment: The Sixers have the best record in the NBA since a 12-12 start, are on pace for 54.7 wins, and look like a cinch for the over … until you peep that remaining schedule. There are very few soft spots remaining. The next six games, for example, are Memphis-Boston-Miami-Miami-Dallas-Milwaukee. Philly can probably manage 13 wins in its final 25 games, but it’s no guarantee.

Memphis Grizzlies

Preseason over/under: 49.5
Record at All-Star break: 35-22 (.614)
Remaining strength of schedule: 24th
Comment: This is close to a pure toss-up. Memphis is on pace for 50.3 wins and has a relatively easy remaining schedule, but it has struggled for the last month, going 4-9 since Jan. 20. Is Steven Adams that important to this team? He should be returning from his knee injury soon, so we suspect Ja Morant can carry this team to at least a 15-10 finish and the over.

Already clinched the over

Oklahoma City Thunder

Preseason over/under: 22.5
Record at All-Star break: 28-29 (.491)
Remaining strength of schedule: 26th
Comment: Not much to say here. When Shai Gilgeous-Alexander makes the leap and averages over 30 points per game (+130 for Most Improved Player at PointsBet), over bettors get to claim victory in January.

Utah Jazz

Preseason over/under: 25.5
Record at All-Star break: 29-31 (.483)
Remaining strength of schedule: 21st
Comment: This was a team that was thought to be in total rebuilding mode after trading Gobert, but it started the season 10-3 and remains in the play-in hunt.

Indiana Pacers

Preseason over/under: 23.5
Record at All-Star break: 26-34 (.433)
Remaining strength of schedule: 23rd
Comment: This win total was set way too low, as it turns out. Maybe it was hard to see rookie Bennedict Mathurin (+800 for ROY at BetMGM) coming, but Tyrese Haliburton’s emergence was perfectly predictable.

Lock/near-lock for the over

Sacramento Kings

Preseason over/under: 34.5
Record at All-Star break: 32-25 (.561)
Remaining strength of schedule: 4th
Comment: Even folks who bet the over didn’t see this level of success coming for the Kings. And they continue to avoid a serious losing streak. They only need three more wins, so expect this to be clinched in the next week or two.

Orlando Magic

Preseason over/under: 26.5
Record at All-Star break: 24-35 (.407)
Remaining strength of schedule: 17th
Comment: Like Sacramento, Orlando only needs three more wins. With the young nucleus of Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and even Markelle Fultz clicking, the Magic may even make a run at the 10th seed.

Washington Wizards

Preseason over/under: 33.5
Record at All-Star break: 28-30 (.483)
Remaining strength of schedule: 18th
Comment: The Wizards are mostly a veteran team that’s built to … well, not exactly “win now,” but let’s say “win about as often as they lose now.” Washington needs just a 6-18 finish to reward over bettors.

Denver Nuggets

Preseason over/under: 51.5
Record at All-Star break: 41-18 (.695)
Remaining strength of schedule: 20th
Comment: It’s hard to envision the Nuggets not going at least 11-12 the rest of the way, but one injury to Nikola Jokic would change that. So we can’t call this a total lock just yet.

Milwaukee Bucks

Preseason over/under: 52.5
Record at All-Star break: 41-17 (.707)
Remaining strength of schedule: 11th
Comment: Same deal as Denver — the Bucks could go 12-12 or better in their sleep, but subtract one Greek Freak and they’re nothing special. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s wrist injury doesn’t seem serious, but if it is, Milwaukee would sooner have him rested for the playoffs than push for wins now.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Preseason over/under: 47.5
Record at All-Star break: 38-23 (.623)
Remaining strength of schedule: 27th
Comment: The Cavs just need to go 10-11 down the stretch, and against the opponents they have remaining, they almost can’t fail.

New York Knicks

Preseason over/under: 40.5
Record at All-Star break: 33-27 (.550)
Remaining strength of schedule: 8th
Comment: Just because they’ve had a couple of rough patches this season — one five-game losing streak and one four-gamer — we can’t rule out an ugly finish against mostly solid opposition. Still, Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, and the rest of the gang only need an 8-14 finish to hit the over. Those who bet the over shouldn’t spend that money just yet — but it’s fine to start thinking about how they want to spend it.

Photo: Ned Dishman/Getty Images

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Author: Ryan Gonzales