**DISCLAIMER** These predictions are not made by AI. These are human-made predictions.
The 2020-21 NBA season is less than a week away! At FixdPicks we are going to give you the tools the be the best bettor you can be. This article will give you our prediction for the top 5 most profitable teams in 3 categories: straight up, against the spread, and total.
Top 5 Most Profitable Teams Straight Up
Straight up is tricky. The bigger the favorite, the less return on investment. But you can't rely on underdogs.
The winningest team in the regular season the last 2 seasons has been the Bucks. Giannis Antetokoumpo and Khris Middleton have carried a huge workload those 2 years. Now they have a true veteran leader in Jrue Holiday at the PG position. Not only that, they had one of the sneaky best offseasons in the NBA. They signed proven veteran scorers that can spot up off the ball when Giannis drives. Bobby Portis, Brynn Forbes, DJ Augustin, and Torrey Craig. Craig guarded the best player in Denver for years, and can now take that assignment from Giannis and let him relax a bit on the defensive end down the stretch when they need him most. In a 72-game season, the Bucks will be floating around that 50-55 win mark.
2. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets made it to the Western Conference Finals last year, and will take that momentum into this season. Their starting 5 is all returning, with a legitimate superstar duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. They unleashed Michael Porter Jr. last year, and will do the same with Bol Bol this season, who has his eyes set on being Rookie of the Year.
Will Barton will return from injury, to round out a bench unit with Bol, Monte Morris, JaMychal Green, and PJ Dozier. They will be at the top of the Western Conference because of teams like the Lakers and Clippers being extremely cautious with their stars.
3. Boston Celtics
The only core piece that the Celtics lost was Gordon Hayward. While that does matter, the players they added FAR outweigh Hayward. Jeff Teague is now the backup point guard, and Tristan Thompson will either start at center or will split time with Daniel Theis. They also added Aaron Nesmith in the draft, who is supposed to be the best shooter in this rookie class. Add all those pieces to the core of Tatum, Brown, Walker, and Smart and this team should be at or near the top of the Eastern Conference standings every year for a long time.
4. Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard deserves to win MVP. He might do it this year. This is the best roster he has ever had. Their offseason additions should take their team from a middle of the pack Western Conference team to a top 4 contender. Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr will be the first "shut-down" defensive wings that the Blazers have had in years. Rodney Hood and Zach Collins will return from injury, to come off the bench with Anfernee Simons, Carmelo and Derrick Jones. A starting 5 of Lillard, McCollum, Gary Trent Jr, Covington, and Nurkic will be impossible to guard for opposing teams.
5. Los Angeles Lakers
It might be shocking to see the reigning champs all the way down at #5, but this is just a regular season ranking. Come playoff time, Lebron and AD should be leading this team to another championship. But Frank Vogel has already said they are going to be extremely cautious with their stars during the regular season due to the short offseason. Even if Lebron or AD sits out a game, their team should still be elite with the additions of Dennis Schroeder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, and Wesley Matthews. The emergence of second-year player Talen Horton-Tucker is something to keep an eye on as well.
The Top 5 Most Profitable Teams Against the Spread
Good teams win. Great teams cover.
The second best team ATS last season (41-27-4) will continue their dominance this season. As stated before, their roster has improved and now has even less of a drop-off from starters to the bench. Brad Stevens now has more talent to work with, which is scary for the rest of the league. Jayson Tatum and co. should be able to replicate last season and keep their ATS win percentage above 60%.
2. Toronto Raptors
Nick Nurse breeds killers in Toronto. They beat up on bad teams and do not care how much they win by. This is a product of an outstanding mindset and depth down to the bottom of the roster. The Raptors were 41-30-1 ATS last season, good for 3rd in the NBA. They lost Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, and replaced them with Aron Baynes and Alex Len. Baynes proved himself to be a good NBA player last year, he should fit well beside Siakam, Lowry, Van Fleet, and Anunoby. Norman Powell might be in the 6th Man of the Year conversation this year, in a bench unit that includes stand-out rookie Malachi Flynn, Chris Boucher, and DeAndre Bembry.
3. Charlotte Hornets
This might come as a shock to some people, but the Hornets were 34-30-1 ATS last year. They dealt with injuries along with some of their veterans just quitting mentally throughout the year. This season there is a newfound love for the game. They signed Gordon Hayward and drafted LaMelo Ball to pair with their backcourt of Devonte Graham (one of the most improved players in the league) and Terry Rozier. Miles Bridges and PJ Washington showed how they fit last year as complimentary pieces. This team might be hovering around the bottom of the playoff race but they should cover more than they did last year.
4. LA Clippers
Similar to the Raptors, the Clippers beat up on bad teams. Not like last year, they are going to get a full season to play with the same roster. Since the second half of last season, they have added Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson, Serge Ibaka, Luke Kennard, and Nic Batum. The rest situation will be interesting with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but when one of them sits out it lets Lou Williams and other guys step up into a role they are more familiar with. They were 41-31 ATS last season, they should improve on that 57% this year.
5. Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo is healthy going into this season. Hopefully it stays that way and we can see a full season of him with Malcolm Brogdon and (hopefully) bubble level TJ Warren.
Domantas Sabonis was also injured down the stretch, so Indiana was really never at full strength all season. This may have contributed to some of the lines of their games, but they still managed to cover over 57% of the time (40-30-3). The beginning of the year they might feast on spreads not favoring them until Vegas realizes they are a legit contender when healthy.
The Top 5 Most Profitable Teams on the Total
It's not true what they say. Offense OR defense can win championships.
San Antonio Spurs - Over
Gregg Popovich has always coached his teams to be well-oiled offensive machines. Is it a coincidence that the first time the Spurs didn't make the playoffs under Coach Pop their games went over the total at a 60% rate? The past 3 years their % of hitting the over has gone up 7% each season. They drafted 2 outstanding defensive players in Devin Vassell and Tre Jones, but will their minutes be significant enough to make a difference? Their entire core is returning from last year, so it seems like this trend of hitting overs will continue.
2. Atlanta Hawks - Over
This team is going to be so much fun to watch. I'm not sure how their defense can improve other than with more effort, but the offense will be explosive. Trae Young now has added 2 top tier 3 point shooters in Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari, to go along with drafting one of the best big men Onyeka Okongwu. Atlanta might score 150 points in a game this year...defense on the other hand might give up 150 points in a game. Trae Young has been statistically the worst defender in the NBA during his first 2 seasons, if he can just be average they will win a lot of games.
3. Houston Rockets - Under
Shockingly the team that played without a center last year actually did not give up a lot of points. Their strategy worked during the regular season like it always does with James Harden, and then it came crashing down in the playoffs. The swap of John Wall with Russell Westbrook shouldn't change too much, both players are menaces in the paint but struggle shooting. Demarcus Cousins and Christian Wood are good additions, which will keep their team totals high but still a little too high. As long as James Harden is on the court it is hard for everyone else, for both teams, to get in rhythm.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves - Over
Defense is optional in Minnesota. Their President came over from the Rockets teams that surrounded James Harden with as many shooters as they could, regardless of how they performed on the defensive end. D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns are as good as any young duo in this league, they just haven't figured out how to win yet. Their defense was 3rd to last in the NBA last season and none of their free agent or draft additions bring any defensive prowess other than Anthony Edwards.
5. Memphis Grizzlies - Under
These unders are a product of below-average defense being looked at as worse than it is. Vegas set their totals higher than they needed to be, but that should continue this year. Taylor Jenkins has the young Grizzlies playing hard, which will be worth more for unders in the long run. Ja Morant will be without Jaren Jackson Jr for most of the year, which should hurt them just as much defensively as he helps them offensively. Their totals hit the under 55% of the time last year, good for 2nd most in the NBA.