In the National Basketball Association, regular season wins aren’t always an indicator of how a team will do in the playoffs. The current odds on regular season wins versus a championship playoff run bear that out. The best NBA team in January might be playing golf in June, as the NBA Championship doesn’t always go to the squad with the best regular season record.
Odds are dead even the team with the most wins in the regular season will end up holding the championship trophy come season’s end. Over the past 10 years, the team with the most regular season wins has won five titles. Three of those belong to the Golden State Warriors.
Take the top 50 regular season winning percentages ever in the NBA and you get the same result – 25 championships and 25 losses. Of those 25 losses, only seven of those teams even made it to the finals.
So, what do the preseason odds say about regular season wins and a potential champion for the 2019-2020 season?
“No matter how well you do in the regular season, it has to be capped off with a championship to really mark your legacy in the game.” – Scottie Pippen
NBA Regular Season Win Predictions
Here’s how the regular season win predictions stack up against championship odds for the coming NBA season.
Over/Under Win Totals 2019-20
Milwaukee Bucks 56.5
Los Angeles Clippers 54.5
Philadelphia 76ers 54.5
Houston Rockets 53.5
New Orleans Jazz 53.5
Los Angeles Lakers 51.5
Denver Nuggets 51.5
Boston Celtics 48.5
Golden State Warriors 47.5
Portland Trailblazers 46.5
Only three games separate the top five teams for most wins in the regular season. But does being #1 translate to an NBA Finals title for the Milwaukee Bucks? Not according to the oddsmakers. In fact, the Bucks come in third behind the newly formed Los Angeles powerhouses.
Odds to Win the NBA Championship
The odds remain close among the top three teams, but the Los Angeles Lakers make a big move up.
Los Angeles Clippers +350 to win NBA Championship
Los Angeles Lakers +400
Milwaukee Bucks +500
Houston Rockets +800
Philadelphia 76ers +900
New Orleans Jazz +1200
Golden State Warriors +1400
Boston Celtics +1600
Denver Nuggets +1600
New Jersey Nets +2500
Toronto Raptors +2500
All About the Conference?
The Eastern Conference has only three of the top-10 teams in the regular season win predictions. This seems to indicate the East isn’t dominated by a few elite teams, as it has been in recent years. A top-heavy division would lead to runaway win leaders in the regular season. It doesn’t appear to be that way this year in the East.
The opposite seems to be true in the West, which is filled with power teams. Seven of the top-10 win predictions fall in the Western Conference. Still, there’s no runaway win leader. So will the West spend the regular season pounding each other, leaving one or more Eastern teams to fight for the title? Not according to the current odds. Preseason predictions favor the championship hardware coming back West
And the Winner Is . . .
Two weeks before the regular season begins with the Pelicans and Raptors in the tip-off game on October 23, and nearly six months before we really care about the results of any single NBA game, the odds are already telling us how the season will end. The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference final. The winner of the LA series will defeat the Milwaukee Bucks in a seven-game NBA finals.
Thanks for watching. When does free agency begin again?