Caesars Sportsbook released its over/under numbers for every NBA team Thursday and had the Spurs pegged for 43.5 wins. It was apparently enough to get them into the 8th seed in the Western Conference as well. There are a number of reasons why 43.5 is both low and a great place for the Spurs.
We can start with the easiest topic here in that the number itself is just fine for the Spurs. If you’re a gambler, then this number seems like easy money as the Spurs won 48 games with basically the same roster minus a healthy Dejounte Murray. You can expect them to repeat that number, or at least come close to it, as several positive factors will be in play and will be why 43.5 is a low win total.
Murray will be back and playing this season, Derrick White will have proper load management to help him and guys like Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes can go back to being their normal microwave-like selves instead of trying to be a main scorer that they aren’t.
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge having the aforementioned players actually seeing time they are accustomed to will help their rhythm as well. Those two also won’t be expected to be the only scoring options when they are on the floor. That should ease the burden from them and hopefully allow coach Gregg Popovich to manage their time on the floor more efficiently. They played about 35 and 33 minutes a game, respectively.
With the high probability of Lonnie Walker IV also playing more than 17 NBA games this season, the Spurs will have plenty of options for their back court lineups whether they want a more defensive-minded one, offensive-minded one, or even a somewhat balanced lineup that doesn’t give up too much on either end. And with the depth in the front court catching up a bit — thank you to Drew Eubanks, Trey Lyles and a possible Chimezie Metu appearance — the Spurs should have a myriad of choices when it comes to how they want to play different teams and their differing styles.
So while Vegas seems to be sleeping on the Spurs, never forget that the Spurs are playoff machines and have been there in 22 consecutive seasons under Popovich. The lone season they missed out was his first season at the helm — they got a guy named Tim Duncan in the draft following that season — and have not won less than 47 games in a season. The one exception to that being the 1998-99 lockout-shortened season where they won 37 games and the NBA Finals.
It’s safe to say that 43.5 wins is not only doable, but likely a low end estimate for the expectations the Spurs should have for themselves this season. So bet the over and expect something better than the 8th seed come April.