Celts given top win total with Suns on their heels

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The Boston Celtics, the consensus betting favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA title, have the highest projected win total for next season at 54.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, which released its numbers Wednesday.

The Phoenix Suns have the next-highest total at 53.5 and are followed by the defending-champion Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks at 52.5.

With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving involved in a wild offseason full of trade rumors and public discord, the Brooklyn Nets (45.5) pose unique bookmaking uncertainty for the coming season.

“We just have to go off of what we know now,” Caesars Sportsbook assistant director of trading Adam Pullen told ESPN. “One thing I am not high on is predicting where players are going. If [Durant or Irving] gets traded, then we have to adjust to the news.”

Said Caesars Sportsbook senior trading manager Eric Fenstermaker: “[45.5] is kind of in the middle. If Durant and Kyrie stick around, it will be higher. If Durant leaves, then it will be lower. We just have to anticipate what bettors will do and go from there.”

FanDuel and DraftKings have already posted their win totals as well, with DraftKings opting not to offer a Brooklyn total and FanDuel also going with 45.5 for the Nets.

A team of eight Caesars oddsmakers independently made their own win totals for each team, and Pullen posted a consensus number. The Nets presented the biggest challenge, but the teams with the highest and lowest totals also complicated the process.

“[The Spurs] have been good since I’ve been an adult. How bad are they going to be now in a total rebuild?” Pullen said of a San Antonio franchise that traded All-Star Dejounte Murray to Atlanta and is tied with the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers for the lowest total at 24.5. “And at the top, now with load management, [good] teams aren’t putting much stock in wins in the regular season.”

The totals at FanDuel and DraftKings largely match Caesars’ opening numbers, though a couple of teams differ by one or two wins. A noticeable position is FanDuel and DraftKings offering the Memphis Grizzlies at 48.5, while Caesars has 50.5.

The Grizzlies went 56-26 last season to outperform their win total (42.5) by 13.5 games. That ranked second behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38), who surpassed their win total by 18.5 games.

“I made it 51.5. I like them. … I’m higher on the Grizzlies than the market, definitely,” Fenstermaker said.

After missing the playoffs, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are slotted at 44.5 wins. That’s the same number as the New Orleans Pelicans, who will welcome back 22-year-old All-Star and former top overall pick Zion Williamson from injury. Seven other Western Conference teams, including Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers, have higher win totals.

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