The Brooklyn Nets, the consensus favorites to win the title, opened at a league-best 54.5 wins at Caesars Sportsbook after the NBA released its full 2021-22 schedule on Friday.
The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks are next at 53.5. The Bucks host the Nets on opening night, Oct. 19. Milwaukee is an early 1-point favorite over Brooklyn in the season opener.
After last season’s abbreviated 72-game regular season, the NBA returns to its traditional 82-game slate. Caesars posted win totals on each team and allows bettors to wager on over or under.
The Nets won 48 games last season, a winning percentage of .667. Their opening win total of 54.5 reflects a nearly identical win percentage this regular season.
The Lakers won 42 games last regular season, a .583 winning percentage, which was just enough to sneak into the play-in tournament for the playoffs. The Lakers advanced out of the play-in tournament but promptly lost to the Suns in the first round of the playoffs. They went to work in the offseason to rebuild their roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, adding veterans Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, among others.
Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said that while Westbrook positively impacted the Lakers’ win total, he’s not sure how interested any of the top teams will be during the regular season.
“That’s why you see the highest total at an unusually low 54.5,” Pullen told ESPN. “All that matters is keeping players healthy. Just no reason to go all out in the regular season anymore. Load management is the name of the game.”
The Lakers have been installed as 4.5-point favorites over the Golden State Warriors in their season opener.
The Warriors, who are hoping to have sharpshooter Klay Thompson back in the mix this season, lead the next tier of teams at Caesars Sportsbook with a win total of 48.5. The Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat are next, each opening at 47.5.