The time has finally come for the return of the GW Podcast. After a brief break, a lot has happened. We touch on the NFL playoffs, our Super Bowl Predictions, and of course the passing of Kobe Bryant. Listen to the outro for a special treat. (;
We finally said ‘f’ it and did away with the bonus episode tag. From now on, we plan producing sports, entertainment, and discussion based episodes all under the same name.
On this episode, Connor, Bryce, AND SPECIAL GUEST DREW, discuss whether or not college is a scam, the ultra-optimistic attitude promoted in society, the idea of social media as a construct, and much more. Get ready to get philosophical.
I took a week off last week and based on my results I should probably take weeks off more often. There is no article but I do have a Fanduel account to prove that I correctly predicted Minnesota, LSU, and Appalachian State wins last week for my NCAA bets. I also was too busy losing a three game series in slow-pitch softball last Sunday to make any NFL bets. I will not be adding my results from last week to my overall record as I did not write an article but take my word that it was my best performance in weeks for college football. Call me superstitious but now that I am writing an article for best bets, I don’t plan on having the same performance.
Last Week: 3-2
Florida @ Missouri 11/16 12:00 PM EST
Florida’s two losses this season have come from two top five teams in Georgia and LSU, the latter being in Baton Rouge. They are coming off of a dominant 56-0 win against Vanderbilt last Saturday. Florida seems to be one of the better two loss teams in the country and I expect them to carry over their efforts from last week. Gators win by two touchdowns.
Indiana @ Penn State 11/16 12:00 PM EST
Penn State -14.5
Penn State’s loss last week wasn’t as much bad Penn State as it was good Minnesota. The Golden Gophers played the game of their lives last weekend and Penn State is going to want to bounce back and put their name back into the playoff conversation. What better way to get back on track than a blowout win against Indiana? The Nittany Lions will emphasize ball security after last week, not giving the Hoosiers many chances to score.
Georgia @ Auburn 11/16 3:30 PM EST
It’s time for the Bulldogs to put their foot on the gas and cruise to the SEC Championship game. If not for their slip-up against South Carolina, we could potentially be talking about the 2nd ranked team in the nation because of their two top 10 wins against Ohio State’s zero top 10 wins. True freshman Bo Nix has struggled against top defenses and this will be the best defense he has faced in his young career. He won’t be able to handle Georgia in this one down the stretch and that will be the difference maker.
Minnesota @ Iowa 11/16 4:00 PM EST
The Golden Gophers are in a classic letdown spot after upsetting Penn State last week. But if there’s anything we learned last week it’s that Minnesota loves being the underdog. Vegas is not given them any respect. Last week they were 6.5 point underdogs as an undefeated team at home. Now they are 3 point underdogs on the road against an Iowa team that is averaging less than 3 yards per carry. Iowa can’t score, they only put up 30 points against Rutgers at home and Rutgers is getting 53 points against Ohio State this week. Minnesota can score in bunches and QB Tanner Morgan shines in big moments. Minnesota wins this one outright.
Oklahoma @ Baylor 11/16 7:30 PM EST
We’ve seen what happens when undefeated teams are home underdogs. I’ve been doing nothing but praising Minnesota in this article but they are the perfect example as to why this spread is too big. I imagine it will go down to at least 7.5 by Saturday so grab the points while you can. The Sooners defense has been horrendous the last two weeks surrendering 48 and 41 points respectively. The only way for them to cover this spread is if they make zero mistakes on offense.
Last Week: 2-3
Steelers @ Browns 11/14 8:20 PM EST
The Steelers are 5-1 in their last 6 games with their only loss coming in overtime against the Ravens. This defense has turned a corner and don’t seem to be looking back. Meanwhile, the Browns could easily be 2-7 after the Bills missed two field goals last week and although they have not turned the ball over in two weeks, Pittsburgh’s defense could torment Baker Mayfield in this one. James Conner is also returning from his shoulder injury tonight so I like the Steelers to take this one despite being a road team on a short week.
Cardinals @ 49ers 11/17 4:05 PM EST
There’s a chance the Niners are without both Kittle and Sanders in this one giving them limited options in the passing game coming off a short week. These teams also played two weeks ago and the game was decided by only 3 points. The Cardinals have also shown the ability to score in bunches so I like Arizona against a probably depleted Niners offense.
Patriots @ Eagles 11/17 4:25 PM EST
Both teams are coming off a bye but the Patriots are coming off a loss which is bad news for the Eagles. Since 2005, the Patriots are 36-16 ATS after a loss and I don’t expect this bad Eagles secondary to keep New England’s receivers in check. Against Baltimore, Mohamed Sanu had 10 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown and the more time he spends with Tom Brady, the better he’s going to get. I’m expecting a career day out of Sanu as the Patriots throw all over this poor secondary.
Bills @ Dolphins 11/17 1:00 PM EST
I’d like to start off by saying that all the Bills believers out there might have to pump the brakes for at least one more year. They clearly struggle on offense and at this point in the season only one of their opponents is currently over .500. This is a team that isn’t as good as their record and now they have to go on the road against a Dolphins team with a 5-0 ATS streak. The last time these two teams played, the Bills had an onside kick recovered for a touchdown allowing them to win by 10 rather than 3. Miami has a chance to win their third game in a row against a team that’s 26th in points per drive.
Bengals @ Raiders 11/17 4:25 PM EST
The Bengals are easily the worst team in the NFL while Jon Gruden has the Raiders in the playoff hunt. The Bengals are allowing 6.7 yards per play while rookie RB Josh Jacobs is getting better by the week. Cincinnati’s offensive line is almost non-existent which doesn’t fare well for rookie QB Ryan Finley, who I think could be decent given protection and the right players around him. Jon Gruden will continue to build his case for Coach of the Year with a blowout win in this game.
On another entertainment based podcast, Connor & Bryce discuss what it takes for a movie to be ‘good’.
Connor & Bryce are back to talk NCAA Basketball, NBA, and NFL. Well Bryce talks. Connor screams. I tried to make him quieter, but boy is that hard to do when he puts the mic (basically) in his mouth. He also bumps into the mic a lot. Thanks Connor, we love you. We also give our personalized Top 5 Sports moments. Enjoy!
Connor & Bryce are back… ON HALLOWEEN!!! Except we never mention it LOL oops. We go over our weekly NFL, NBA talk, and give our Top 5 Athletes of our lifetime. BUT, Connor forgets one of the BIGGEST names in the sports world… Thanks for listening to this SPOOKTACULAR edition of the GW Podcast!
Last week was a strange week because of multiple line movements in both NCAA and NFL football. Based on the lines I posted on Thursday, I performed pretty well although the line movements would have had a negative effect had I placed the bets on game day. Still, I was over 4-1 in NFL games once again while I still struggled with NCAA games. As my twenty-fourth year approaches on Sunday, I think I will be entering my sports betting prime. Hopefully.
Last Week: 2-3
Georgia Southern @ Appalachian State 10/31 8:00 PM EST
Appalachian State -14.5
This line opened at -15.5 and I will gladly take the point difference on this line. Appalachian State hasn’t lost since the last time they played Georgia Southern last year by a total of 20 points. I’m sure the Mountaineers haven’t forgotten about that loss just yet. I expect Appalachian State to keep rolling and win their fourteenth game in a row in a blowout.
Kansas State @ Kansas 11/02 3:30 PM EST
Kansas State -6
No letdown game here. The Wildcats are the real deal and beating Oklahoma was no fluke. Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson seemed locked in against the Sooners and I don’t think he’s done yet. The play calling against Oklahoma was also very impressive last week so despite Kansas putting up big numbers against Texas and Texas Tech the past two weeks I think their offensive explosion ends here.
UAB @ Tennessee 11/02 7:00 PM EST
I might even consider taking UAB +400 in this game because of how close they will be able to keep this one. Tennessee has already dropped a game to a mid-major team this year and the talented Blazers could deliver another mid-major loss to the Vols’ record. Tennessee’s offense has been incredibly inconsistent, therefore the Blazers cover this spread with good defense and a balanced offense.
Boise State @ San Jose State 11/02 10:30 PM EST
San Jose State +17
There is still no word on if Boise State’s true freshman quarterback, Hank Bachmeier, will be back from his hip injury for Saturday’s game. Despite if he plays or not, San Jose State should cover this spread. Throughout the season, the Spartans’ quarterback, Josh Love has been making his case for deserving a spot in the NFL. He has thrown for 2,355 yards to go along with 15 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. I don’t see a scenario where Boise’s defense keeps Love in check so I have the Spartans keeping this one close.
Navy @ Connecticut 11/01 8:00 PM EST
I always seem to be on the wrong side of the huge spread in UConn games, however, I know for a fact Navy will score at least 40 points in this game. They have only scored less than 34 in one game this season which was their lone loss to Memphis. The Huskies are very bad on both sides of the ball so if their offense doesn’t show up the same way it did against an even worse UMass team, then Navy should have no issue covering this spread.
Last Week: 4-1
49ers @ Cardinals 10/31 8:20 PM EST
Last week I said the Niners were up against their first real test which was the Carolina Panthers. Safe to say they passed the test and also aced all the extra credit questions like the overachieving kid in algebra class. The Cardinals are without their top two running backs and Kenyan Drake has barely spent any time in Arizona to be able to handle a full playbook. That leaves Kyler Murray with too much responsibility to beat this impenetrable defense. San Francisco remains unbeaten in a blowout.
Texans @ Jaguars 11/03 9:30 AM EST
Texans games have surpassed this total in all but two games this season while the Jaguars have only surpassed this total in three games. The last time these two teams faced off, the final score was 13-12 but that was before each team had players pile up on the injury report. In what is essentially a home game in London for Jacksonville who play there every year, I’m expecting a shootout.
Jets @ Dolphins 11/03 1:00 PM EST
I might be crazy taking this one but I honestly believe that the Dolphins have a more cohesive defense than the Jets. The Dolphins did lead the Steelers by 14 on Monday night while the Jets win over Dallas looks more and more like a fluke by the week. And despite being winless, the Dolphins still look like a team that’s trying to win but just don’t have the talent yet while the Jets seem like a team that’s trying to lose. I’m taking Miami to get their first win of the season.
Browns @ Broncos 11/03 4:25 PM EST
The Broncos are without Joe Flacco for 4-6 weeks making this a juicy matchup for the Browns defense. I think Baker Mayfield will do enough to propel his team to a victory by at least a touchdown in Denver. What I won’t be looking forward to is Mayfield’s post game interviews where he is way too high on himself after beating a below average team.
Buccaneers @ Seahawks 11/03 4:05 PM EST
The Bucs have hit the over in 16 of their last 21 games on the road. This is largely due to Jameis Winston’s inconsistency. He’ll throw for about 350 yards and 3 touchdowns to complement his 4 interceptions allowing his opponent to score on a short field. The Seahawks have struggled on defense at home this season allowing an average of 28 points to their opponents. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these teams covered the over on their own in this one.
Connor & Bryce are back again, but this time no sports talk… El Camino, the Breaking Bad series sequel movie, was absolutely fantastic. Find out what we had to say about it here!
Connor & Bryce talk NFL Weeks 7 & 8, plus some NBA/NCAA Hoops. Also, judge Connor HARSHLY for his horrible Schwarzenegger imitation.
Atlanta Hawks: 33.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 29
Dula: Over. I really like the direction the Atlanta Hawks are heading in. They are very young but also very talented. I expect second year guys, Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, to improve on their rookie campaign and I expect Atlanta’s two first round picks, DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish, to have an immediate impact. Atlanta will only improve for years to come.
Keehn: Under. Atlanta drafted well this year. Trae Young and John Collins are legitimate pros… on the offensive side of the ball. This team is far and away one of the most atrocious defensive teams in recent memory. Adding Hunter is a great addition for this and he will start at the 3 and play a lot. However, Young and Collins are so horrifically bad on defense that they will give up too many points for the fast-paced offense to match. They were both ranked number one at their position for worst defensive efficiency and most field goals given up.
Boston Celtics: 48.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 49
Dula: Over. While the Celtics did lose Kyrie Irving, they gained Kemba Walker who I think can propel this team to 50 wins. Kyrie proved he could not be a system player as he did not fit in Brad Stevens’ system. Kemba was 2nd in the league in scoring when driving to the basket last year, behind only the MVP of the league, Giannis Antentokounmpo. Combine him with young stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown then add a little bit of Gordon Hayward and you’ve got a recipe for a contender. Boston also got who I believe will be the steal of the draft in Purdue’s Carsen Edwards who averaged more than 30 PPG in the NCAA tournament earlier this year.
Keehn: Over. Brad Stevens and the rest of the crew in bean town can finally breathe a sigh of relief with the departure of Kyrie Irving. Kemba Walker brings in a new vibe to the team. This team did take a strong hit defensively, adding Kanter and Walker who are both not as good as Horford/Kyrie/Baynes. However, they finished the preseason as the best defense on paper when it came to efficiencies. Jayson Tatum is ready to pop this season. He will finally begin to go to the basket and draw fouls and shoot more 3’s which will propel him to an all-star appearance. Gordon Hayward will look to get back to his normal self again. This team is trending in the right direction. If Stevens can mix and match lineups that work, their depth could propel them past 50 wins. Look for Carsen Edwards to be the steal of the draft.
Brooklyn Nets: 44.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 42
Dula: Over. The Nets are a year away from being legitimate contenders when Kevin Durant comes back from his Achilles injury. This year will be a building block year with newly acquired Kyrie Irving leading the charge. The Nets also added a lot of depth this offseason with veterans like Garrett Temple, Wilson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, and third-year player Taurean Prince. Caris LeVert was in the midst of a breakout year before dislocating his ankle last season, if he stays healthy this starting lineup is scary good.
Keehn: Over. This one really could go either way. If Kyrie stays healthy this season, all season, they should be more than okay to beat this total. Maybe now that DeAndre Jordan is playing with his friends he will show a small bit of effort. Last year was embarrassing for him and he looks to turn this around. If Atkinson can keep a hold of the personalities of this team, it will all work out. But if he starts to let the players dictate the show, it could get out of hand. Jarrett Allen should play more than Jordan. However, with Kyrie at the helm, he might demand otherwise. It will be interesting to see how the young Nets do with Uncle Drew at the helm. When healthy this team is loaded with talent. They are one year away (obviously).
Charlotte Hornets: 23.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 39
Dula: Under. Kemba Walker single-handedly won games for Charlotte last season. Now, I don’t believe that he won an extrta 16 games for them, but he kept them in playoff contention until the end of the season. With no Walker, the Hornets’ starting backcourt includes two guards who would probably be backups on any other team with Rozier and Bacon. I expect a lottery pick from Charlotte in next year’s draft.
Keehn: Under. I have no comment on this team because they are by far the worst in the league. Jordan should be ashamed of the team he has put together. Giving Rozier that much money is ridiculous. This is going to get ugly. Maybe worst team in the league is a bit harsh but without Kemba, what can they even be?
Chicago Bulls: 30.5 (-134/+110), 2018-19 wins: 22
Dula: Over. The Chicago Bulls are only getting more experienced and Zach LaVine can hopefully play at least 70 games this year. The Bulls are also very deep at the guard position with Satoransky, LaVine, Dunn, and rookie Coby White. They also get Otto Porter Jr. for a full season and they added veteran, Thaddeus Young. Lauri Markkenen and Wendell Carter Jr. round out the frontcourt making Chicago a pretty decent team.
Keehn: Over. Don’t be surprised if Chicago makes a little bit of a playoff run at some point in the season. Zach Lowe put them as one of his preseason playoff teams, and I don’t blame him. If LaVine can stay healthy along with Lauri, they can be a fun team to watch. Wendell Carter and Coby White are prototypical guys with their sizes and skill-sets for the modern NBA. This team has so many young weapons and should surprise a lot of people this year.
Cleveland Cavaliers: 23.5 (-121/+100), 2018-19 wins: 19
Dula: Under. Outside of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, the Cavs are a rather young team with potential. Sexton and rookie Darius Garland could eventually be a dynamic backcourt and I think Dylan Windler will also be an impactful rookie. This team does have some bright spots but they still won’t be able to claw out of the hole LeBron left them in.
Keehn: Under. The Cavs are really bad. Kevin will be traded by December and they have an extremely young backcourt with Garland and Sexton. This team just doesn’t have enough to compete. They are going to need a lot of help if they are going to get above 20 wins.
Dallas Mavericks: 40.5 (+110/-134), 2018-19 wins: 33
Dula: Under. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are going to be a dominant scoring duo. I also believe that Doncic will be a top 3 player in the league in the near future. But for now, the Western Conference is too good for Dallas to reach a .500 record. That being said, the Mavs are not too far away from competing in the west.
Keehn: Under. There are actually quite a few people who have Dallas making the playoffs this year. This is quite bold considering Kristaps is coming off injury and Luka is is still so young. Outside of those two guys they really don’t have any play makers who have played in any big games. In fact, Luka and Kristaps haven’t played in big games either. This team will be good eventually. Look for them to be active at the trade deadline. They’ll get there eventually, but not this year.
Denver Nuggets: 52.5 (-121/+100), 2018-19 wins: 54
Dula: Over. The Denver Nuggets come into the season with essentially the same roster as last year with the addition of Michael Porter Jr. who sat out all of last season after back surgery. The Nuggets have four guards who could be starters in the NBA with Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Monte Morris, and Malik Beasley. Nikola Jokic is also arguably the best center in the league rounding out this very solid roster. The Nuggets should still be considered contenders despite the amount of offseason action in the Western Conference.
Keehn: Over. This team is going to finish as the number one seed in the West, and it’s not that bold to say. It isn’t even because of Michael Porter Jr coming back. This team is the most balanced team in the league with several matchups that work in their favor. Adding Jerami Grant was one of the best additions this offseason. This team is defensively poised, they are maturing, and they are ready to go deeper in the playoffs. Jokic is the best center in the league. He is absolutely someone you should consider throwing money on for MVP this year and he is a clear-cut top 5 fantasy player. He looks to lead this team to another great year.
Detroit Pistons: 37.5 (-134/+110), 2018-19 wins: 41
Dula: Over. The Pistons O/U being at 37.5 is kind of disrespectful if you ask me. The Pistons were a playoff team last year and entered the postseason with an injured Blake Griffin. Luke Kennard did a better than expected job filling in for Griffin and with the additions of Derrick Rose and BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson, I think the Pistons have a chance at making the playoffs again this season.
Keehn: Over. Ever so slightly over. Like, 38 or 39 wins kind of over. I actually like this O/U for them. The teams in the East who improved this year with their offseason additions and changes did more so then the Pistons did. D-Rose is obviously a great addition to any team but point guard really wasn’t this team’s problem. They got badly exposed on the wing on both sides of the ball and did nothing to get better at that position. The East teams who did improve all have dynamic wings who will be able to keep exploiting this. If Blake gets hurt like I expect him to at some point, they are in serious trouble. They’ll be a borderline playoff team but I don’t think they will be able to keep up with the other teams in a better (but still not great) Eastern Conference.
Golden State Warriors: 47.5 (-134/+110), 2018-19 wins: 57
Dula: Over. So they lost KD and Klay Thompson, but that doesn’t make them 10 games worse than they were last year. They still have Steph Curry who is in a position to put up MVP numbers and teams can’t shut him down like the Raptors did in the finals because D’Angelo Russell will take that defensive pressure off of him. Willie Cauley-Stein was an underrated acquisition at center and if they can figure out their small forward position, I expect the Warriors to thrive with a chip on their shoulder this season.
Keehn: Under. Part of me thinks that this team will just somehow magically get to 50+ wins just because they’re the Warriors. Adding Russell is very interesting but here’s a twist not a lot of people are thinking of. Russell is going to be one of the most talked about guys likely to get traded at the deadline than almost every player in the league besides Kevin Love. If the Warriors get a few picks and some solid players, that would be preparing them for the future. It doesn’t help when they have Omari Spellman and Alfonso McKinnie in their starting lineup and in the crunch time lineup with Curry and Draymond in the preseason. In a loaded Western Conference, those guys aren’t going to cut it. One thing is for sure: Steph is going to win the scoring title. The rest is up in the air for this team. With the uncertainty of Klay coming back, I have to under on this one. However if Klay were to have a similar timetable to Oladipo, I would switch to over very quickly.
Houston Rockets: 52.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 53
Dula: Over. While this team is not very deep outside of backups, Tyson Chandler, Gerald Green, and Austin Rivers, the combination of Westbrook and Harden is going to be too powerful for most teams to handle. It still baffles me that Scott Brooks had those two guys and Kevin Durant and failed to win a championship but that’s another discussion. The Rockets will maintain their regular season dominance and achieve at least 53 wins this season.
Keehn: Over. A thousand times again… this will be over. This team is going to finish near the top of the West. I cannot believe people are excluding this team from their playoff projections. The amount of disrespect Russ gets around the league is laughable. Him and Harden are going to be an absolute nightmare for even the higher end defensive teams. Russ is still going to stuff the stats sheet, Harden is still going to put up MVP numbers, and the role players are going to do their thing. This team is going to WALK to 50 wins. Come on guys, is this real?
Indiana Pacers: 47.5 (+100/-121), 2018-19 wins: 48
Dula: Over. While Oladipo won’t be healthy do start the season, if he comes back and is the same All-Star he was last season then the Pacers are a dangerous team. They are very deep and a backcourt consisting of Dipo and Malcom Brogdon is no joke. I expect a 50 win season from Nate McMillan and his squad.
Keehn: Under. The loss of Thaddeus Young and Bojan are huge for this team. With Oladipo’s return up in the air, his ideal complement, Brogdon, won’t be able to do the things he did with Milwaukee because the cast is nowhere near as good as the Bucks. The Pacers have a lot of talented individual guys, but being able to gel as a team and continually grow leading up to his return will be a big test for this team.
Los Angeles Clippers: 56.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 48
Dula: Over. Doc Rivers was simply robbed of Coach of the Year last year. Now he gets the two best two-way players in the league with Paul George and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers return both of their Sixth Man of the Year nominees, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell which shows how strong their bench is. This team will coast to the Conference Finals if healthy.
Keehn: Over. This is higher than I would have expected. 56 is quite high considering Paul George will miss the first 10 or so games. However, when healthy, this team is far and away the best in the league. The 2 best 2 way players in the league surrounded by veteran who is the best 6th man in the league, young stars who play their roles beautifully, a defensive pest as a point guard, and a championship head coach. That is the formula for winning if there ever was one.
Los Angeles Lakers: 51.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 37
Dula: Over. Mising out on Kawhi Leonard was a blessing in disguise for the Lakers. Because of that, they were able add the necessary depth to their lineup. LeBron had the first serious injury of his career last year so we’ll see how his body holds up after logging over 46,000 regular season minutes in his career. A healthy Anthony Davis should take the pressure of LeBron though, making this team a favorite to win the west.
Keehn: Over. If Anthony Davis can stay healthy all year, this team will be so much fun to watch on defense. Anthony Davis is a clear-cut candidate to compete with Giannis for the MVP. LeBron still looks as sharp as ever. The guys around them are all defensively oriented. Davis, LeBron, Green, Bradley, and McGee is a downright scary defense. However, if one of LeBron or AD goes out for a long period of time, this team won’t have enough scoring to stay afloat and it could plummet quickly.
Memphis Grizzlies: 26.5 (-112/-109), 2018-19 wins: 33
Dula: Over. I think it’s reasonable to say this team can reach 30 wins. With the additions of young talent like Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, and Brandon Clarke the future looks bright for Memphis but they will continue to rebuild for the next few years.
Keehn: Over. Not by much here. They are going to have to steal a lot of games from the East teams. Morant is ready to be the front-runner to win ROY (yes because he will play more minutes and get more volume than Zion). Jarren Jackson Jr. is going to be a force in this league really soon. It should be him this franchise builds around. They’ll get there eventually. Clarke is one of my favorite recent college players to come out of a draft. This team is built for the future. Slightly over here. Maybe they’ll get to 30 but over 30 would be a stretch.
Miami Heat: 42.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 39
Dula: Over. Jimmy Butler is back in a situation where he is undoubtedly the star on his team. I’m expecting potential MVP numbers from him this season. He’s accompanied by Rookie of the Year candidate, Tyler Herro, who I haven’t even seen hit the rim on the shots he’s made throughout summer league and preseason so far. Spoelstra’s move of Justise Winslow to point guard last season should also continue to see its benefits.
Keehn: Over. The Heat got rid of the most lazy player in the league and added the least lazy player in the league. I would take that as a huge win. Jimmy Butler completely changes the Heat’s mindset to a “win now” one. If they can make an acquisition at the trade deadline for a Love, Griffin, or Russell, this team could be a real contender. Bam Adebayo, Justice Winslow, and Tyler Herro are great young pieces who will be used at length this year. Expect them to compete for a high seed in the East.
Milwaukee Bucks: 56.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 60
Dula: Under. Khris Middleton and Giannis are one of the NBA duos that nobody is talking about but they belong in the conversation with AD and Lebron, Russ and Harden, and PG and Kawhi. However, 57 wins is still a lot of wins and the east has gotten stronger despite losing Kawhi Leonard. That’s not to say they won’t get 55, but I’m not seeing 57 for the Bucks.
Keehn: Over. Watching Giannis in the preseason was incredibly hilarious. 27 points and 14 rebounds in 24 minutes of action was pretty consistent (ball-parking). He is the favorite to repeat as MVP. His jumper also took a HUGE step forward. It is far smoother and he is shooting it with more confidence. The team as a whole got worse but Giannis, somehow, got better. I like them to be the top seed in the East once again.
Minnesota Timberwolves: 35.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 36
Dula: Under. Losing Derrick Rose hurts the Wolves. I expect Jarrett Culver to beat out Jake Layman for the starting job sooner rather than later but I still don’t think this team got any better in the offseason. Karl-Anthony Towns’ talent will be wasted for yet another season in Minnesota.
Keehn: Under. This is the season that is going to drive Towns out of town. Jarrett Culver is ranked as my second best rookie for the long-term. He is going to be a good 2 way NBA player for a long time. They lost Jones and Rose which is a big hit on load that Jeff Teague will have. This team did not get much better while the rest of the conference did. I expect Josh Okogie to take a jump this year.
New Orleans Pelicans: 38.5 (-112/-112), 2018-19 wins: 33
Dula: Over. There is no team in the NBA that I am more excited to watch than the Pelicans. They were a top 5 team in pace last season so what they did in the offseason was go out and get a bunch of athletic guys who can beat their guys up and down the floor. I cannot wait to see how they implement a transition offense with. And they will have an above average defense with guys like Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick Favors in the starting lineup. Not to mention, they had an excellent draft getting Zion Williamson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Jaxson Hayes. I don’t think it will happen, but I hope I see this team in the playoffs.
Keehn: Over. This is one of those where the number for this might have people shaking there heads, but it’s actually pretty good. I like them to win around 40 games this year and just missing the playoffs. This team will have a rare identity that isn’t really seen at any level of basketball these days: a young team with an exceptional defense. They will be a show in transition but it is their defense that will get people out of their seats. If Zion can stay healthy, get your popcorn ready.
New York Knicks: 27.5 (-122/+100), 2018-19 wins: 17
Dula: Under. I don’t think the Knicks are as bad as everyone has made them out to be. If Julius Randle can stay healthy, they can potentially be a 30 win team. But I just don’t think they are good enough to beat the teams they’ll be playing. Give RJ Barrett some time and let Kevin Knox get another year of NBA experience and they should be a decent team in a few years.
Keehn: Under. Before the preseason started, I would have thought about the over on this one. However, after watching some of their games I am going to have to take the under. Dula is right: they aren’t as bad as people think. It is clear that Fiz is running the team through Barrett and Randle this preseason. The problem is the team doesn’t really have an identity. With 4 of their 8 best players all being power forwards, it’s hard to have an identity with a lop-sided roster. Barrett is going to be a serious contender for rookie of the year, Knox will improve his all around game, and Mitchell Robinson will learn from his bad high school tendencies he had last year.
Oklahoma City Thunder: 33.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 49
Dula: Under. OKC is in full rebuild mode this season, but with all the draft picks they attained this offseason I’d say they have a good foundation for what they want to build. I actually like their backcourt with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and who doesn’t love Steven Adams? Still, this team won’t be able to compete this season.
Keehn: Under. As cool as this team is on paper, there is going to be some moves for this team. It can almost be guaranteed that this team will be different roster wise from beginning of the season to the end. Steven Adams will have a great year and Chris Paul will be a nice mentor for Shai Alexander who is one of my favorite young players in the league. They will be fun to watch, but won’t have enough firepower to compete with the elites in the west.
Orlando Magic: 40.5 (+110/-134), 2018-19 wins: 42
Dula: Under. The Magic didn’t get any worse this offseason, they just didn’t get any better. I was very surprised when Nikola Vucevic decided to remain with Orlando after testing the waters as a free agent, seeing how he is one of the best centers in the league who has nothing to show for it. The Magic selected Chuma Okeke in the first round of the draft this year which also made no sense to me so despite resigning Vucevic, the Magic had a below average offseason.
Keehn: Over. The Magic are going to be a force that nobody sees coming in the East this season. Ranked in the top 3 defensively the last 3 months of the season, this team is the real deal. Jon Isaac is my pick for most improved player this year. Fultz’s jumper is better, but it is still really odd. The Magic having him isn’t too much of a factor here. Aaron Gordon looks to be an all-star along side his extremely underrated big man, Nikola Vucevic is going to continue his monster campaign. I really like this team a lot.
Philadelphia 76ers: 53.5 (-134/+110), 2018-19 wins: 51
Dula: Under. The Sixers are one injury away from being just an average team. The lack of depth in Philly makes me want to take the under here. While Ben Simmons looks like he’s been working on his jumper in the offseason, and the Sixers signed Al Horford, I’m worried that one injury could exponentially set this team back. The Sixers were a much better team as whole last year (their starting 5 is among the best in the league but their depth last year made them better) and they only totaled 51 wins so it wouldn’t make sense to me to take the over here.
Keehn: Over. Their depth is a PROBLEM. Brett Brown played more than 10 guys off the bench in almost all of their preseason games to see who was going to put in. Strong campaigns from rookie Matisse Thybulle, Mike Scott, and a few others. Those guys are not nearly enough to fill the shoes of an injury prone, but loaded, starting 5 of Philly. Their 5, when healthy, is the best in the league. I want to take the under here, but I am going to make the bold assumption that this team can actually stay healthy for once. If they do, they will be a regular season dream. However, when it comes to crunch time in a playoff series, they could be in trouble, especially with the lack of durability of Embiid and the age of Al Horford.
Phoenix Suns: 27.5 (+100/-121), 2018-19 wins: 19
Dula: Under. My heart wants to say over but it’s the Suns. They have been the laughing stock of the league for the last five years and I just won’t believe they’ll win 30 games until I see it. They do have a lot of solid players like Rubio, Ayton, Tyler Johnson, Mikal Bridges, and Devin Booker, but I still don’t think it’s enough to get them to 30 wins which is a mark they haven’t reached since the 2014-15 season.
Keehn: Under. This team is so bad. Devin Booker will always be a good player on a bad team. He is a great fantasy option but really has to take over this year if he wants to help this team get anywhere. It is a lot of talented guys playing together with no real identity. Mikal Bridges and Ayton look to have big years for Phoenix.
Portland Trail Blazers: 47.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 53
Dula: Under. Dame and CJ will continue to be one of the best backcourts in the NBA but the frontcourt is what worries me with the Blazers this season. I really don’t like Zach Collins as a starter and there is no timetable for Jusuf Nurkic’s return. Even if Nurkic comes back healthy, it could be too late to give the Blazers another 50 win season.
Keehn: Over. This is a very different team for the Blazers. They sub in two long, athletic, defensive-minded wings for two above average shooting ones. They get Hassan Whiteside, an expiring contract, which will be huge in their negotiations for a “win now” guy at the deadline. They can flip Whiteside’s expiring for a Griffin or Love with Nurkic coming back. Each of the past 5 years the Blazers always project in the bottom of the playoff picture and always finish better. I trust Damian Lillard, not only because he is my favorite player in the league, but because he can lead a team in a loaded western conference. This team has a winning formula and can still be very talented in the West.
Sacramento Kings: 38.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 39
Dula: Over. The Kings are not too far away from being in the top tier in the west. The top tier meaning the seven teams who should be locks to make the playoffs but the Kings should fight for an 8-seed this year. Bagley, Barnes, Hield, Fox, and potential Most Improved Player, Bogdan Bogdanovic, make up a solid roster that shouldn’t be slept on.
Keehn: Over. It’s crazy because when I say the over on this one, I’m guessing 39 wins, the same they had last year. I like this young team a lot. Buddy is an elite shooter. He is in the tier of shooters just below Klay and Steph. Bagley looks to take the leap this year and De’Aaron Fox is ready to enter a high level tier of NBA point guards. He is going to have a huge year for the Kings. However, the conference is loaded and I still expect them to be in the hunt for the 8 seed.
San Antonio Spurs: 46.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 48
Dula: Over. I will never bet against Popovich. Even if this team was depleted and they didn’t have guys like Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan accompanied by Derrick White and the return of Dejounte Murray, I still would not take the under with Popovich coaching this team. This team also has depth with DeMarre Caroll, Patty Mills, Lonnie Walker IV, Trey Lyles, and Rudy Gay coming off the bench. The Spurs are a lock for 50 wins this season.
Keehn. Under. Dejounte Murray is really good. the injury to him last year was really unfortunate. The Spurs always find a way to hang around and be relevant in the post-Kawhi era. However, I feel as though the conference as a whole got better and the Spurs did not get much better. They have a lot of minutes distributions they have to figure out. This is probably the first time ever I would have hit the under on Pop. What has happened to me?
Toronto Raptors: 46.5 (-121/+100), 2018-19 wins: 58
Dula: Under. The Raptors won’t sniff the second overall seed in the east like they did last year. Losing Kawhi won’t have the same effect losing LeBron had on Cleveland, but Toronto is by no means a contender. I expect Fred VanVleet to come back down to earth from his extraordinary playoff run while Siakam will continue to emerge as a star. Not all is lost for Toronto and they can still sneak into the playoffs but a repeat is very far out of the question.
Keehn: Over. The Raptors are a very interesting team. They just gave Lowry his money for his years of service there. The Raptors are the number one team to move their own pieces at the deadline. Pascal Siakm is ready for a big year. The majority of this team is back and even without Kawhi, they are still a good basketball team in the East. They’ll finish with anywhere around 45-49 wins… IF… big if, they keep their team in tact. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they moved Gasol at the deadline. OG coming back is bigger for this team than people think. Dula and I have disagreed on this one ever since Kawhi announced he was leaving. This’ll be a fun one for us to watch throughout the year.
Utah Jazz: 53.5 (-110/-110), 2018-19 wins: 50
Dula: Over. The Jazz could be the best defensive team in the NBA with their starting lineup including Mike Conley, Joe Ingles, and Rudy Gobert. Not to mention they have Ed Davis coming off the bench who shut down Joel Embiid in the playoffs last season before he left the series with an injury. While everyone is talking about the flashy teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets, the Jazz are getting lost in the contender conversation.
Keehn: Under. The Jazz are picked by a lot of people to be in that top 3 range right behind the Lakers and Clippers. They had an amazing offseason and their team definitely got a lot better. They finally have a playoff experienced guy who can help them out in those big game situations when they need a play maker or a quick bucket. Mitchell is ready for a big pop this year and they look extremely good on paper. However, I really think the Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Rockets, and Blazers are all better than them. For that reason, I think they might be a tad overrated. Gobert will repeat as DPOY that’s for sure.
Washington Wizards: 27.5 (+100/-122), 2018-19 wins: 32
Dula: Under. I truly believe the WIzards will be the worst team in the NBA this season. Despite Beal’s extension, I am not ruling out a trade to send Beal elsewhere through his own request. Although, I really like rookie Rui Hachimura who I think has a legitimate chance at winning Rookie of the Year because of the amount of minutes he will get on this very bad team. Hachimura is also a good all around player on both sides of the ball. So I really don’t like the Wizards this season but I love Hachimura.
Keehn: Under. This team is going to be so bad. It’s such a shame because Bradley Beal is such a good player. He is a popular pick to get traded at the deadline, despite him signing an extension. Rui Hachimura is a guy who I thought could have easily been a top 5 pick. Bryant is emerging a little bit. But unfortunately, they have nowhere near enough fire power.