Earlier, we looked at the 2019-20 NBA win totals for the Eastern Conference.

http://www.sportsintel.com/nba-eastern-conference-predictions-win-totals-for-2020/

Today, with the season opener a week away, we look at the West win totals for 2019-20.

The Western Conference of the NBA might be the best it’s ever been, and that is really saying something.  With the Warriors ceding their top spot it might be a team from LA to take over, but not the one you might think.  Let’s examine the best team totals to bet on for 2019-20 and see who we think will overachieve and who will fall short.

We’re about a week from the tip-off to the NBA season and the preseason is in full swing.  Team win totals have been out for quite some time, but I feel it’s best to wait until the free agency dust settle and preseason is underway to really start making predictions. Not only is the West stacked full of talent, with the decimation of the Warriors starting five, but it’s also a pretty wide-open race for the No. 1 seed.

The Road to the Finals will likely make at least one stop in Los Angeles, perhaps even two with others like the Jazz, Rockets, and Nuggets with a shot at top honors out West. The Warriors, of course, have not given up, but one has to wonder what their current roster can produce, especially come playoff time.  So, who are the underachievers and who will shock the league this year?  We aim to preview each team with a brief look at their season win totals. All lines are from the Westgate Superbook and will be on the move from now until the season begins Oct. 22.

NBA Western Conference Season Win Totals
Dallas Mavericks 41.5
Denver Nuggets 51.5
Golden State Warriors 48.5
Houston Rockets 53.5
Los Angeles Clippers 53.5
Los Angeles Lakers 50.0
Memphis Grizzlies 27.5
Minnesota Timberwolves 35.5
New Orleans Pelicans 40.5
Oklahoma City Thunder 31.5
Phoenix Suns 29.5
Portland Trail Blazers 46.5
Sacramento Kings 37.5
San Antonio Spurs 45.5
Utah Jazz 53.5

Dallas Mavericks 41.5 wins
Just how unbalanced is the Western Conference this year?  Well, the Mavericks odds can help us right off the bat here to understand the gap.  The odds on the Mavericks have them finishing at right around .500 with 41.5 wins.  This would still keep them out of the playoffs, however, with the ninth-best line in the West at the moment.  The projected 8-seed would be the Spurs or Blazers, each of which is expected to win five more games than the Mavericks.

That means that two teams over .500 will miss the playoffs in the Western Conference.  A bet on the over here means a bet that the Mavericks will outperform the Spurs and Blazers to earn a playoff berth in 2019.  With season win totals of 33, 24 and 33 games over the last three years, I just don’t see how the Mavs win 9 more games than 2018.

Sure they’ve got Kristaps Porzingas, but he’s yet to play a single minute for Dallas and that has to because for a small bit of concern.  The Mavericks have also added Seth Curry and Delon Wright to their backcourt rotation which is nice, but is that worth nine games? Sure, Luka Doncic looks to take a huge step forward, but a sophomore slump is also a possibility and that would be a disaster for this team.  With such competition around them, I don’t see the Mavericks hitting that .500 mark this year and therefore will be betting them to fall under their projected win total.
Best Bet: Dallas Mavericks UNDER 41.5 wins

Denver Nuggets 51.5
Much like the Orlando Magic out east, the Denver Nuggets stuck with their roster over the summer instead of drastically restructuring through trades and free agency.  They are essentially banking on consistency in lieu of the busting up this roasted in the offseason. This also means they are high on the young talent which showed so much promise a season ago.  MVP candidate Nikola Jokic could continue his ascent to superstar level along with point guard Jamal Murray.  These guys both kicked it into high gear during the playoffs and obviously raised confidence amongst the organization.

As good as the Nuggets were last year, they have yet to hit their ceiling with the current roster.  They had issues with injuries to Will Barton and Gary Harris which limited their games to 43 and 57 respectively, with neither guy full healthy in the games they did play. The additions of Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr, which give the Nuggets more options on the wing and depth in the backcourt.  After posting 54 wins last year, why their win total is just 51.5 is beyond me, this is an easy call at such an attractive line.
Best Bet: Denver Nuggets OVER 51.5 wins

Golden State Warriors 48.5
Let us all have a moment of silence for the Golden State Warriors as the team to beat in the NBA.  Heck, they aren’t even the team to beat in the Western Conference, might not even win their division.  Kevin Durant is gone along with longtime role-players Shaun Livingston and finals MVP Andre Iguodala.  Still remaining is Klay Thompson, but will be sidelined for the majority of this season after undergoing ACL surgery. So, what are we left with?

Well, Steph Curry and Draymond Green make up the core of remaining players along with Thompson.  Even better, they will actually play significant minutes this season. The biggest addition to the team would be D’Angelo Russell, but I have doubts about his ability to quickly gel with his new team.  This is a problem in particular due to their lack of depth overall, creating a situation where Curry, Gree, DLo the only highly skilled starters until Thompson returns. Rounding out their rotation will be ‘talents’ such as Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson Jr., and Alfonzo McKinnie to name a few.  I’d name other but you wouldn’t know who they are anyway.  Their offense will certainly take a hit but their losses on defense are more concerning.  Draymond Green can’t lock down teams all on his own and will miss Iguodala and Livingston to help out on that side of the court.  The Warriors will fight, they will make the playoffs and they might even win 50 games if Steph goes full MVP mode.  But these core starts are a year longer in the tooth and will be asked to do more than they’ve had to in the last five years.  I see the path to a 45-win season more likely and will be fading the Warriors for the first time in a long time.
Best Bet: Golden State Warriors UNDER 48.5 wins

Houston Rockets 53.5 wins
The Rockets are coming off a disappointing regular season which saw them win just 51 games, failing to cash the over for the first time in quite a while.  They take aim at 2019 with the same roster with one massive change at the point.  Chris Paul has departed after just one season after the Rockets signed a huge extension with Russell Westbrook and his equally giant contract.  That’s pretty much it.  Can James Harden and Westbrook rekindle their on-court bromance which was formed in OKC so many years ago?  Or will they struggle to share the ball and find enough opportunities to go around?  This problem was so back in OKC that Harden was coming off the bench for the most part.  If anyone can game plan for these guys, it’s Mike D’Antoni, so I have confidence in this uber-talented pair of guards.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Paul and Westbrook is reliability.  CP3 played just 58 games the last two seasons, which really makes me question the Rockets’ choice to sign him long-term in the first place, but I digress. Westbrook, in stark contrast, almost always plays the full season, full minutes and at maximum effort.  He has played 50% more minutes than Paul over the last 3 seasons and those minutes are so important to protect such a thin bench.  The Rockets win 54 games easy, so bet this one with confidence and enjoy the ride.
Best Bet: Houston Rockets OVER 53.5 wins

Los Angeles Clippers 53.5
The Clippers became the team to beat out West overnight after acquiring Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in the offseason.  All they had to give up was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a number of high-quality picks, totally worth it. This team won 48 games last season with Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari in the spots that PG & Leonard are prepared to occupy.  So, simply put, are those two changes worth five extra wins to the Clippers?  Yes, and it’s not even close.  Kawhi Leonard cemented himself as one of the best players in the league with his postseason run with the Raptors and eventual NBA Finals victory.  He scored 28 per game and came in a close third in MVP voting, all this while suffering a shoulder injury for much of the year.

It’s easy to overlook the addition of Paul George with the excitement surrounding Leonard’s signing.  He averaged 28 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game last season.  That alone might be worth the five extra wins when compared to Gallinari last year.  This line is lowered due in part to the fact that the Clippers might coast into the one seed and might not need to keep winning down the stretch.  I don’t see that happening and I love the Clippers to win 55 as they make a run toward the Conference Championship.
Best Bet: Los Angeles Clippers OVER 53.4 wins

Los Angeles Lakers 50.5
So we know that basketball is back in Los Angeles, but will favor also shine on the Lakers this year?  Will they finally step back into the conversation in the Western Conference?  Well, it’s obvious that the addition of LeBron James wasn’t enough to get it done, so will Anthony Davis be the real difference-maker? After swinging for a miss in the race for Kawhi Leonard they smacked a home-run by adding AD to join LeBron at Staples Center.  They have also brought in Danny Green and DeMarcus Cousins to form what should be a formidable starting lineup.  At least on paper, this looks like a 50-win team all day.

There are issues with some aspects of the team including age, defense, and perimeter shooting but mark my words, this is not the same Lakers team we see come playoff times.  Teams that LeBron is on annually make big moves mid-season to give their star the best chance of leading the team to the Finals.  Be it buyouts or trades, this team will only get better as the year progresses.

The Lakers won a shockingly bad 37 games last year which begs the question.  Is Anthony Davis worth 15 wins for this team?  Well no, of course not, but he isn’t the only addition here.  First off, I expect an all-around better version of LeBron James this year after starting just 55 games last year.  Replacing Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram with guys like Danny Green and DeMarcus Cousins make up for the rest of those extra wins.  This team has such a high ceiling that 51 wins are well within reach, so bet accordingly.
Best Bet: Los Angeles Lakers OVER 50.5 wins

Memphis Grizzlies 27.5
The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off two seasons which saw this total just 55 wins, so it would seem their projection this year is right on the money.  The Grizzlies have a new look for 2019 with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, long-time teammates, who have moved on from Memphis.  In their place, the Grizzlies will look to build around youngsters Ja Morand and Jaren Jackson, both top draft picks.

While the future does appear to be bright for Memphis, there will be some growing pains along the way.  The fact is, young talent takes time to develop and the Grizzlies will be no exception.  They have gotten objectively worse, even with the additions of Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder, and will be focused on developing their young talent above all else.  Another consideration is that the Grizzlies are on the hook for a draft pick to the Celtics unless it is a top-6 pick.  This creates a situation where it works out better for the Grizzlies if they trade or buyout some of their veteran talents and snag another lottery pick for the 2020 season.  They will be competing for the worst team in the league and I don’t see them winning 28 games.
Best Bet: Memphis Grizzlies UNDER 27.5 wins

Minnesota Timberwolves 35.5
The Minnesota Timberwolves will look to move on after a disastrous 2018 season hangs over their heads.  The entire team’s season was upended with the whole Jimmy Butler saga, which divided the locker room and created a toxic environment.  Cut to Butler being traded to coach Tom Thibadeau given the hook and major injuries decimating the roster and it’s frankly amazing they won 36 games.  With all of those heavy negatives, it’s hard to believe they could possibly be worse this year.  Jeff Teague will get a full season of play and Karl Anthony Towns is expected to take a leap and the reigns of this offense.  The Timberwolves won’t be good by any stretch, but they won’t be 35 wins bad.  This is a solid over bet.
Best Bet: Minnesota Timberwolves OVER 35.5 wins

New Orleans Pelicans 40.5
The Pelicans are a tough nut to crack heading into the start of the regular season. Coming off a 39 win season and losing perennial All-Star Anthony Davis it’s confusing that their season win projection sits at 40.5 right now.  How did the Pelicans get a game better by losing such a world-class talent? Well, they haven’t in my opinion. A bet on the over is essentially a bet that Zion Williamson is worth one game more than an already established star in Anthony Davis. Spoiler alert, he’s not.  While they did get a lot of young talent from the Lakers, they still quite stack up as a playoff team in the West.

Don’t get me wrong, this team does have potential and I feel good about their chances to compete for a title sooner than later.  With Jrue Holiday, J.J. Reddick and Derrick Favors they have a strong veteran presence to complement Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart.  An over bet on the Pelicans is really expecting too much from Zion and this supporting cast.  The future is bright in New Orleans but these guys need a season or two under their belt before a Western Conference title will be in sight.  The Pelicans will likely roll with their youth early, and that means dropping early games as the growing pains are worked out.  I see them as a sub-40 win team and they are priced right around there.
Best Bet: New Orleans Pelicans UNDER 40.5 wins

Oklahoma City Thunder 31.5
Another tough team to get a good feel for is the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They have such a high ceiling, but also a low floor.  Things could really go either way.  Question is, what will Chis Paul bring to his new team after losing Russell Westbrook and Paul George.  While Chris Paul is a strong candidate to be traded in the first half of the season, this roster is something that OKC fans should be excited about.  Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari come over in the George trade.  They join veteran Steven Adams and others to form what can only be described as a ‘solid’ roster.

They are neither overwhelming nor are they boring, they should be effective and not all that flashy. The problem with Chris Paul has always been the same, his durability.  He has missed significant time over the last few seasons and his absence would leave a huge hole in this starting lineup.  The chance for him to be traded is also very high.  So I ask myself.  With such a high chance that CP3 has a little positive impact on the team, be it from injury or trade, how do they win 32 games in such a difficult conference? I don’t see it happening but look forward to this team in 2020 to make some noise in the West.
Best Bet: Oklahoma City Thunder UNDER 31.5 wins

Phoenix Suns 29.5
In contrast to the Thunder, the Suns are a very easy team to predict and will therefore not waste too much space on them here.  They have been one of the more no brainer under bets on the board in recent years and with 30 wins needed to go over the total, this year will be no different.  This is a team that has won 19,21,24 and 23 games over the last four seasons.  This is a franchise that has one less win in the last four years that the Warriors had in the 2015-16 season.  No bueno.

Last year they finished a staggering 14 games in last place, just wow. So the question is, are the Suns 11 games better than last year? They have added a point guard finally in Ricky Rubio, who I am a big fan of by the way.  But that’s about it to be excited about.  They will desperately need Devin Booker to make a historical leap and Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges to follow in kind.  This is another team with a great set up long term, but also one that lacks the necessary pieces for short term success. They will win more than 19 games, but not much more.  Bet the Suns under for yet another season.
Best Bet: Phoenix Suns UNDER 29.5 wins

Portland Trail Blazers 46.5
Another team banking on continuity more than offseason blockbusters is the Portland Trail Blazers. They decided to hang onto Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum this offseason in the hopes of building upon an established foundation.  The rest of the team has seen changes, but the core two remain.  With Jusuf Nurkic out until 2020, Hassan Whiteside will slide into the starting rotation with Zach Collins and Kent Bazemore as starting forwards.  Lillard and McCollum have led the Trail Blazers to an average of 51.5 wins and finishing in the three seed in each of their seasons together. So long as they can tread water until Nurkic returns in early 2020 than the Blazers are in good shape to surpass this projection.  A trade can, and likely will, make this a much better team come mid-season and I see them winning close to 50 games this year.
Best Bet: Portland Trail Blazers OVER 46.5 wins

Sacramento  Kings 38.5
The Sacramento Kings were hands down, the biggest positive surprise in the NBA last year.  Their season win total was set at 26 wins and they reeled off 39 while staying relevant right up until the end of the year.  De’Arn Fox and Marvin Bagley really took to the new offense and along with Buddy Hield wreaked havoc on opposing defenses. With the additions of Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza, and Corey Joseph it is rather easy to see the Kings at least match their wins from last year.  Harrison Barnes will also be back for a full season and many prognosticators have them as the 8-seed this season.

The problem is that teams adjusted to the Kings last year and they had it rough toward the end of the season, eventually finishing nine games back of the playoff race.  I don’t see them taking any significant step back so a 40-win season is doable, but I’m not ready to commit a playoff spot to them.  I think this number might be the most accurate projected total on the board and have them pegged to win 39 games for the 2nd year in a row and just barely cash this over for bettors.
Best Bet: Sacramento Kings OVER 38.5 wins

San Antonio Spurs 45.5
The Spurs continue to play the cockroach role in the NBA in that they just refuse to die.  After losing Kawai Leonard for just about an entire year they still won 47 games.  Last season he left for real for real along with Dejounte Murray going down. They won one more game with a 48 mark in 2018-19.  The big names are all back, Aldridge, and DeRozan and Dejounte will be coming in healthy.  With Derrick White, they make up a dangerous backcourt, and a young one to boot.  Pop knows how to get his team to the playoffs, he knows how to play defense and he know how to make the most out of the pieces he is given.  45 wins would be the worst season for this team since before the days of Tim Duncan back in 1997.  I don’t see this being the worst season in 22 years for the Spurs and therefore will be happily betting the over here.
Best Bet: San Antonio Spurs OVER 45.5 wins

Utah Jazz 54
The Utah Jazz finally made a move this offseason, trading away longtime team member Mike Conley to shake things up roster wise. They then made a big move in free agency by acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic who should complement Donovan Mitchell nicely and add another scoring threat to this offense.  The Jazz did sacrifice some defense however, with Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors hitting the bricks.  They retain the talent of a two-time defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, but he is just one man.  Albeit a talented one.  The Jazz feel like a team one year into a two-year rebuild and therefore will be leaning under 54 wins for them in 2019-20.
Best Bet: Utah Jazz UNDER 54 wins