Keep in mind, Vegas uses odds to entice the bettor to place a bet on what they believe is reasonable with a goal of balancing the books. However, when Westgate Las Vegas Superbook released its over/wins projections for the Eastern Conference, it’s no mistaken there was some level of disrespect for the Washington Wizards. Yet, it’s nothing to overreact to.
The top of the East is crowded. 👀
And for the first time since LeBron returned to Cleveland, Vegas does not project the Cavs as a playoff team. pic.twitter.com/k33MgWSk8q
— ESPN (@espn) August 6, 2018
Westgate placed the Wizards over/under at 44.5, which equals to the sixth-best total in the East. Are the Wizards only the sixth-best team in an Eastern Conference without LeBron James?
Of course there is a good deal of uncertainty for the Wizards, who revamped their roster after coming off a disappointing 43 wins a season ago. Is John Wall going to remain healthy? How will the additions of the strong-minded Dwight Howard and Austin Rivers going to affect the team? Can Jeff Green fit into the scheme and be an adequate replacement for the departed Mike Scott?
Those are some of the top questions that may have factored into the line. If all the questions are positively answered, one would think the Wizards could exceed 44.5 wins. But what if it does not?
Expectations are definitely lower than a year ago, when the Wizards were coming off a 49-win season and one game from the Eastern Conference Finals. But, 2017-18 season was a bit of disaster and forced the hands of general manager Ernie Grunfeld to shake up the culture and locker room, ridding it of Marcin Gortat, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Rivers.
While there is no LeBron James, the East is still stacked with Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier to name a few in Boston. Philadelphia returns to build off their breakthrough season with a more seasoned Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and hopefully a healthy shooting Markelle Fultz. And Toronto retooled by acquiring Kawhi Leonard in exchange for DeMar DeRozan. Then no one is counting out the Indiana Pacers and the MIlwaukee Bucks who have their fair share of talent.
There is no doubt the Wizards have talent but can they coexist? Washington could be combustible with the mixture of personalities, and despite the talent, Westgate had to factor in the possibility. Now it’s up to the Wizards to prove Westgate and any other doubters (see ESPN) wrong while winning some lucky bettors money in the process.