Beckley Mason piqued my interest with this tweet today:
The gamblers released their over/unders for win totals. According to his tweet, they were hating on Golden State. (That line has since moved to 35.5 wins — and maybe even more by the time you click on that link.) Even though I too expect more of the Warriors than 35 wins, I was more interested in my own team, the Wolves. They opened at 39.5 wins. That moved up to 40.5 at the time I am writing this. In other words, you’re going against Vegas to bet on the Wolves to finish .500.
This really says more about the depth of the Western Conference than anything else. The Wolves seem to get plenty of respect around the league. A panel of five ESPN writers were asked which Western Conference lottery team is most likely to make the playoffs, and four of them chose Minnesota. Of course, that question assumes that one of last year’s playoff teams is displaced. The two most likely candidates, Dallas and Utah, are currently set at 44.5 and 42.5 wins, respectively, by the gamblers.
Just a shot of realism as we continue to crank out optimistic preseason posts about Alexey Shved’s perimeter brilliance and Derrick Williams’ inevitable surge to stardom. Making the playoffs is a tall order in the Western Conference. It won’t be easy.