GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Season Totals

Pinnacle release their season win totals today, and as far as I know, they're the first sports book to do it. As the other books start releasing these odds, it will be interesting to see how they compare and to possibly look for scalping/middling opportunities.

Anyway, Here they are (in a rather crude format):

Team Total Over Price Under Price
Char 19.5 -134 124
Bos 42 126 -136
Phil 41.5 -102 -108
NJ 46.5 -122 112
Tor 29.5 100 -110
Detroit 52.5 -105 -105
Chicago 44.5 103 -113
Indiana 52 -117 107
Cleveland 47 -109 -101
Milw 35 -112 102
Miami 57.5 -106 -104
Wash 41 -102 -108
Orlando 33.5 -120 110
Atlanta 19 -105 -105
Seattle 44.5 -108 -102
Denver 49.5 -108 -102
Minnesota 44.5 -102 -108
Portland 29 -105 -105
Utah 32 -123 113
Phoenix 54.5 110 -120
Sac 49.5 -105 -105
LAC 37 -105 -105
LAL 41.5 -114 104
GS 40 -123 113
SAS 57.5 104 -114
Dallas 52.5 -110 100
Houston 53.5 -101 -109
Memphis 42.5 108 -118
NO 20.5 -105 -105
NY 37 -105 -105

I haven't done any thorough analysis yet, but my initial reaction was to bet the under on almost everybody. This reaction tells me that I should probably be a bit more computative in my prognosis. If you add up the numbers, you'll get a total of 1246.5 wins, which is just slightly higher than the 1230 wins that will be had in the NBA this year, so the unders are probably slightly better, but certainly not as much as my intuition would lead me to believe.

My general toughts are that you should generally bet under on good teams who have listed totals similar to last season and similarly, to bet the over on bad teams from last season. In addition, there has been a slight shift of power to the East this off season, so it might also be a good idea to bet over on mediocre teams in the West and under on mediocre teams in the East.

Now for my thoughts on why you should bet under on everybody (with some counterpoints thrown in there):

Minnesota Timberwolves Under 44.5 wins (-108)

Which do you think it more likely, that the Wolves will win 40 games, or that they'll win 49? As I predicted, the Wolves line is slightly higher than it should be. They could go for 49, but I see it as much more likely that they'll fall slightly under the .500 mark. On the other hand, they still have KG. They've dumped off the cancerous Cassell and Sprewell and picked up a solid new PG in Jaric along with a load of young players that have huge question marks attached to their names. With a slight shift of power to the East and all the stars aligning, the Wolves just might find a way to 45.

Charlotte Sting Under 19.5 wins (+124)

Ok, I know they're actually the Bobcats. The funny thing is, Pinnacle didn't seem to know this when they first released the lines, accidentally listing them by the name of their WNBA counterparts (who have about a 0% chance of winning 20 games next season). When I first looked at this line, I kinda liked the over. They won 18 games last year and normally with a team that bad, you'd expect to see significant improvement the next season. However, their team still looks god awful, and their 18 wins from last season was a huge overachievement.

Miami Heat Under 57.5 wins (-104)

Probably the most overrated team in the NBA right now. Their trade for Walker will prove to be quite menacing when he starts jacking up threes and Shaq and Dwyane don't ever get to touch the ball on offense. When they traded for him, I pretty much assumed that they were planning on retrading him to a non-contender. That they haven't done this yet is baffling. They also have Shaq, who has a tendency to coast through the regular season and not turn it on until the playoffs. This team wins 53 games tops.

Golden State Warriors Under 40 wins (+113)

If there's anything Petey has taught me about his hometown crew, it's that they're one of the most horribly mismanaged teams in all of sports. Even if they have the talent to make it to the playoffs, there's no way they'll actually do it. Baron Davis should just start demanding a trade now.

Philadelphia 76ers Under 41.5 wins (-102)

This is a team that's based around Chris Webber and Allen Iverson--two of the most injury prone players in the NBA (and they're not getting any younger). Come mid-January, this team will be lucky to win a game when the two of them are sidelined. If there's an over bet to be made on this team, it's on how many injuries Iverson will sustain.

What have we learned?

I could go on like this and actually give you reasons why the under is a good bet for each and every team in the league, but I've restricted it to a few I thought would be interesting/humorous. Conversely, I could also probably give good reasons to bet the over on any team in the league.

The truth is, if your betting scheme relies entirely on verbal arguments, it's probably not very good. If you're not careful, you can talk yourself into making a bad bet for reasons that just aren't very good. That's why I feel that any modern sports-betting system has to have some sort of mathematical model behind it. Once you do the math, you can adjust your predictions ever so slightly to adjust for things that it doesn't account for. Right up front, can you really tell me if the Warriors Under 40 wins is a good bet at +113? What about +120? Or even money?