The Wizards’ over-under for wins

October 3, 2013

(Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

The LVH Superbook unveiled its NBA season over/under win totals this week, and the Wizards checked in at 42. If they hit the number exactly, they would finish 42-40, which would be the franchise’s first winning record since the 2007-2008 season.

As it turns out, the Wizards have gone “over” 42 wins just three times in the last 31 seasons. They’ve also finished with exactly 42 wins four times in that span. (In the seasons they went “over,” they finished with 43, 44 and 45 wins.)

Of course, betting on the Wizards to go over the total has been a great way to lose money in recent years. In fact, they’ve gone under for five straight seasons, based on over/unders posted by Eye on Basketball and The Painted Area.

2012-2013: Line 31.5 wins, Actual 29 wins

2011-2012: Line 20.5 wins, Actual 20 wins

2010-2011: Line 33 wins, Actual 23 wins

2009-2010: Line 41.5 wins, Actual 26 wins

2008-2009: Line 37.5 wins, Actual 19 wins

2007-2008: Line 39.5 wins, Actual 43 wins

2006-2007: Line 40 wins, Actual 41 wins

If the Wizards do manage to hit that 42 number, there’s a very good chance they’ll be playing in the postseason. Here’s what a 42-40 record (or a similar winning percentage) would have earned an Eastern Conference team over the past 10 seasons:

2012-2013: 7th seed

2011-2012: 9th place, out of playoffs

2010-2011: 6th place (tied)

2009-2010: 8th seed

2008-2009: 6th seed

2007-2008: 5th seed

2006-2007: 5th seed

2005-2006: 5th seed

2004-2005: 8th place (tied)

2003-2004: 4th seed

That’s at least eight playoff berths, with another season tied for the final spot.

And indeed, based on the over/unders, the Wizards should be favored to make the playoffs this season. Only five Eastern Conference teams have higher totals: the Heat, Bulls, Pacers, Nets and Knicks. The Pistons (41), Cavaliers (40.5) and Hawks (40) would be fighting with the Wiz for the final few playoff spots, according to the LVH Superbook totals.

“Until we see some development out of our young bigs or a truly great year from Wall and Bradley Beal, I think expecting 42 wins is a bit of a long shot,” wrote Bullets Forever’s Umair Khan. Hometown fans are usually not more pessimistic than Vegas, but here we are.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · October 3, 2013