For all the gamblers among us, Sunday was a pretty big day. The Westgate Sportsbook in Las Vegas released its over-under win total lines for the 2018-19 NBA season:
The Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James this offseason so they’re expected to see a massive increase in wins even if the team’s other free agency questions have come under question. As presently constituted, Vegas expects that improvement to be about 13 or 14 wins.
Last year, Westgate set the Lakers’ over-under at 33.5 and the Lakers just barely beat that by hitting 35. So, Vegas is usually pretty close to getting these right with some outlier teams either majorly surpassing expectations or not coming close to reach them.
Of course, Vegas is also trying to get a lot of bets so having a conservative number for the Lakers will both ensure that many rabid fans take the over while Vegas has a good chance of not having to cash out considering the Lakers are a tough team to figure out at the moment.
Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, and the New Orleans Pelicans (the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds, respectively) all had 48 wins. But the ninth-seed Nuggets finished with only two fewer wins. The West is an incredibly tough conference but that sometimes means that win totals for great teams are brought down solely due to the level of competition.
The Lakers are going to be in the mix for those mid-tier playoff spots, and it’ll all, most likely, come down to some individual matchups and tiebreakers.
The Lakers’ win total won’t make or break their season so long as they can do enough to get into the playoffs. With LeBron James, that seems like the safest bet.