Warriors Win Total Betting Impact Upon NBA Schedule Release
There’s usually not much to analyze when the NBA schedule is announced as it was on Monday afternoon. Then again, the 2019-20 Golden State Warriors aren’t your usual team.
And based on a number of factors we’ll analyze below, the positioning of their 82-game schedule should help bettors make a more informed decision on their over-under season win total of 47.5 wins. Their current NBA betting odds to go over that mark sit at -120 on PointsBet and the backloaded portion of their schedule combined with Klay Thompson’s eventual return make that a good one to bet.
Warriors Have A Backloaded Schedule
Thompson will miss the majority of the 2019-20 regular season as he recovers from ACL surgery, and it undoubtedly will have an impact on the Warriors’ regular season. Their over-under win total is the lowest it’s been since 2013, the year before their recent dynasty began.
The good news is the Warriors’ schedule is backloaded in a major way. Their strength of schedule in October, November, December, and February is below .500, based on oddsmakers’ NBA futures betting over-under win totals for their opponents.
NBA 2019-20 Strength of schedule by month for each team, using vegas over/under for opponent strength. Teams shown in order of hardest to easiest. pic.twitter.com/l6DCwon9e9— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) August 12, 2019
While their January slate is the most difficult month of the season, they’ll play seven of their 13 games at home and won’t play any of their 11 back-to-back sets – tied for the fewest in the NBA – in that month. That’s significant for a team built on resting its starters whenever possible. They may not have to as much.
Their toughest stretch of the season in terms of scheduling comes in November when they’ll play 11 games in 20 days across all four time zones without Thompson. But in that stretch, they’ll face just three teams who made the postseason last year and have just one back-to-back set in that span.
Thompson's Return Set For Tough Closing Stretch
An easy stretch before the All-Star break means a difficult one after it.
NBA 2019-20 Strength of schedule for each team before Xmas, before and after All Star break. Teams shown in order of hardest to easiest. pic.twitter.com/kfjIAgtinz— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) August 12, 2019
Only the Grizzlies and Wizards project to have a more difficult post-All-Star break schedule than the Warriors. That includes a 16-day, eight-game stretch in March all against teams that made the playoffs a year ago (home against Raptors, Sixers, Clippers, Nets; on the road against Bucks, Raptors, Pacers Pistons.
They close the regular season playing seven of nine games against projected playoff teams, too. But Thompson’s return will help them both by his own play as well as the added depth he’ll provide on the wing.
Newcomer D’Angelo Russell becomes a third scoring option instead of a second, Draymond Green becomes a fourth option instead of a third, and Steph Curry will have more space with Thompson attracting defenders. The trickle-down effect of his return will come at a perfect time as the Warriors close with a brutal schedule.
Having another healthy body – and a really talented one, at that – will be critical not only because of their opponents, but because the Warriors will be at a disadvantage in terms of rest.
NBA 2019-20 Team rest advantage by month. This one is a little trickier to read, so zoom in and pay attention. Each bar shows the number of games in each month each team has Less/Equal/More rest than their opponents. Got it? pic.twitter.com/Iy4Ry81jhS— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) August 12, 2019
The red bars in March and April – times when the Warriors will be playing on fewer days rest than their opponent – are higher in March and April than in any other month. Thompson’s return will be critical.
What this means is that the Warriors should be able to pick up wins more easily without Thompson. When the going gets tough and the schedule hits its hardest time period, Thompson could be back in the lineup and the Warriors will be at full strength. That means a much better shot to hit 48 or more wins.
Thompson Won’t Rush Back From ACL Surgery
Thompson spoke in July for the first time since tearing his ACL in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and was candid when asked about a potential return date. He told the LA Times he doubted he be back before the All-Star break in late February but that he “wanted to return soon” and would “come back 110 percent.”
It was an honest, level-headed response. Thompson is 27 years old, just signed a four-year max deal in the offseason and shouldn’t rush back. He has three rings, and the Warriors have always been more focused on games in May and June than they have been on games in February and March.
But Thompson will also need time to acclimate back to game speed – he has missed just 24 games in eight seasons, and many of those were for rest purposes; he’s never missed significant time with an injury.
The Warriors may also be fighting for playoff positioning by the time he’s ready to come back. The Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, and Jazz all will likely be ahead of Golden State in the West standings by the time Thompson returns, meaning the Warriors could be in an unfamiliar territory of trying to get homecourt advantage in March and April. That could expedite Thompson’s return more quickly than in years past when the Warriors were coasting to the finish line at the end of the regular season.
About the Author
Mark Strotman is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago since 2012. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports. He covered the NBA Playoffs in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as Team USA Basketball in 2014 and 2016. He has also covered high school football and was nominated for a Midwest Emmy in 2016 for his work on a documentary featuring local Chicago product and NFL prospect Miles Boykin. Strotman graduated from Marquette University in 2012 and during his time there reported on the men’s basketball team, covering both the Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2012.