It's the 3rd annual Canis Hoopus over/under contest! Here are the rules, to be modified by popular acclaim and/or act of God. Winner(s) will gain bragging rights and an unshakable feeling of superiority. I'll do my best to remember to post the results at the end of the year.
1. You have $100 (fictional). You may bet this money on any team(s) you choose.
2. Whoever "wins" the most (fictional) money based on said bets is the winner.
3. In the event of a tie, victory to be granted to the person with the most correct bets.
4. Separately, list your picks for all 30 teams. Whoever gets the most correct also wins bragging rights of some sort.
$30 Utah Jazz over 27.5 I've covered this already. Briefly, the Jazz gave a lot of responsibility to very young players and were a schematic mess last season. They won 25 games. This year, those guys have more experience and the team appears to have a Suns-like cohesive identity. I expect them to improve by more than 3 games.
$20 Brooklyn Nets under 42 The Nets were outscored last season despite a sizzling second half and they lost Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston, and Andray Blatche, who were 2nd, 4th, and 6th on the team in minutes. With them leaves the team's defensive identity and positional versatility. The team is counting on excellent, healthy years from Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, and Joe Johnson to remain in the playoff hunt. An over bet is a bet that all three will stay healthy and that the team will be able to win with a slow, plodding style - the same style that proved so disastrous last fall.
$20 Charlotte Hornets under 44.5 My #1 Plexiglas Principle team for 2014-15. The Hornets maximized their defensive potential last year, finishing 5th in defensive rating. I expect some regression on that end, and the fact that they were outscored on the season despite a top 5 defense doesn't inspire confidence. Lance Stephenson is expected to improve the offense, but he didn't appear to have a huge salutary effect on the Pacers, who finished 23rd on offense last year, and the Hornets lost their best passer to the Heat.
$10 Memphis Grizzlies over 48.5 These guys burned me last year, going ever so slightly under 50.5. This year's line is two games lower despite the addition of Vince Carter and a healthy Marc Gasol. If Gasol and Conley stay healthy, it's difficult to imagine this tough, deep squad winning fewer than 49 games.
$10 Los Angeles Lakers under 30.5 They have the talent to hit this mark if Kobe comes back at a near All-Star level and Byron Scott utilizes Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis, and Ryan Kelly properly. I'm betting that both of those things won't happen. Frankly, I'd be surprised if even one happens.
$10 San Antonio Spurs over 57.5 At this point, why would you bet against these guys? Their big three is getting older, but Kawhi, Tiago, Green, and Diaw will help them win a lot of regular season games.
Over/unders from Sportsbook.
Portland Trailblazers 50