The NBA Over/Under bets are out and the Open Floor Podcast has takes on the early expectations set for certain teams, namely the Blazers and Celtics.
In Portland, will the greatness of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum be enough? Could the Celtics make good on their potential and become a true superteam? Andrew sharp and Ben Golliver consider these questions and much more.
Ben Golliver: If there's going to be a team that just sputters and flounders and decides the chemistry just isn't right this year, it could be the Blazers. I'm not saying I would bet the under (41.5 games over/under). I think I can see the arguments for the over for sure, like Dame Lillard and C.J. McCollum are just going to guarantee you a certain baseline of wins with their scoring ability. But they also have had really good health from Dame in recent years and one injury and their bench is going to screw everything up, so I don't think the Portland over/under was as crazy as some people thought it was.
Andrew Sharp: It's not crazy but at the same time if you think about the balls it would have to take to go under 41. If you're expecting them to win 41 or 42 games and finish 10th, that I understand and I actually kind of like it because coming into this season I feel like not enough people have been talking about the very real red flags there are with the Blazers. I mean, this is a team that kind of overachieved last season, got blown out of the first round and didn't really do much over the summer to change the nucleus there or improve much of anything and the bench got thinner.
Golliver: Not only that they lost guys. Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier. Those are players who played real roles for them, so if they tread water at best then they're going to require the team health to be as good as it was last year, and they've also just sort of had some fits and starts with this group in general, right? They've had the overachiever cycle, they've had the underachiever cycle, so I guess to me that one didn't seem quite as crazy.
Sharp: It's not crazy, but the reason I would still go over on that particular bet is just that Lillard and McCollum are so good and so consistent throughout the year that it's just too hard for me to imagine them not winning 43 to 47 games.
And I also think that just from a grander perspective I just kind of look at that Blazers team and I think that they're stuck in some sort of Sisyphean narrative, where Dame and C.J. are always going to make it fun and they're always going to overachieve just enough to suck people in and then it's going to get disappointing and the ceiling will become clear in the spring. I just think that's kind of the loop that they're in and I don't see that ending this year. That's my Blazers thought. Do you want to hear about my stone-cold lock, bet-your-mortgage over/under of the year?
Golliver: Yes, of course. Andrew Sharp reports you're going to get rich from what he is about to say here. Here it comes. Drumroll, please...
Sharp: OK, well, there are really two, and I tweeted about them over the weekend so anyone who follows me on Twitter already knows this, but the two that I feel most comfortable about are the Celtics at 56.5 games. I'm really glad that I don't live near a casino. I would bet a lot of money on them going over next year. I think the Celtics are going to win more games than the Warriors, I think that they're going to be the Rockets of 2018–19, where we look up in March and they're pushing toward 64 or 65 wins.
Again, whatever you have in your bank account that you're willing to throw down on Brad Stevens and Company, I would do it. By the way I had a friend of mine write to me about all the Celtics optimism I've been throwing out on the pod this summer, and I apologize but they're going to be really, really good. It's going to be miserable for Celtics haters everywhere.
Golliver: You're doing exactly the smart thing to do, which is kiss up before it gets ugly. I understand that completely. I'm puckered up here too.
Sharp: Just playing the long game.
Golliver: We know our Green overlords are coming. We've been dreading it for a couple of years. I think I've said this before, but the Celtics superteam is going to be something that we start hearing more and more next season. When they're fully healthy, when they've got five potential All Stars on the court at the same time. I do think there's lots of reason for optimism. You know, 57.5 is a lot, though. That doesn't make you flinch a little bit? That's pretty high.
Sharp: It doesn't, and again, the level of confidence I feel is its own red flag and everyone else should sort of take heed there, but I feel pretty good about where the Celtics are going to be. And then the other one that I would add, and this is another one we went over a couple weeks ago: The Sixers are not going to win more than 50 games. The fact that the number is at 54.5 is completely insane to me, and I would go under hard. So for the second year in a row, bet your mortgage on the Sixers under and thank me later. Everyone go out there and get rich.
Golliver: If you guys want the Ben Golliver five-star locks, it's going to be Celtics under/Sixers over, take them to the bank. This is how I make all my predictions. I just got the opposite of whatever Andrew says and I am actually recording this from a yacht right now.