ESPN has set the over/under on the Celtics’ win total at 44. If you’re a bettor, where’s your money going?
Adam Taylor: If we do the math, ESPN is essentially saying that Boston would win 51 games in a full season. Assuming Kemba Walker is active for a large portion of games, and that Tatum and Brown continue their ascension, this feels like a reasonable projection.
Sure, Hayward might have departed, but that’s provided the Celtics with a defined hierarchy - something which they’ve needed. Then factor in the addition of veteran presence along with increased floor spacing, I am inclined to take the over on this.
Only by 1 or 2 games, mind you.
Jack Noonan: As Adam showed above, if the season was extrapolated out, the over/under has the Celtics’ number right at 51. That seems like a spot on number as the Celtics were on pace to have just above that number of wins last season before it shut down. Now, we’ll see if they can continue last season’s pace for another year.
The Celtics fan inside me is wanting to say take the over, but as a gambler, I have to take the under but just slightly. The condensed season will not set up well for the Celtics especially coming off a decently long run last season. Kemba Walker will be battling knee issues all season long, and it will be other young players who will be expected to hold the fort in his absence. Even with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown taking a step up, I think the smart gambling play would be taking the under. Many variables that could go wrong even for a short spell. Take the under but only by a little bit.
Greg Brueck-Cassoli: Kenna Walker’s knee screams that this should be a stay away for me. If I had to pick, I’d go under for all the reasons Jack lays out here. I could also see myself looking like a fool for doing so after the Celtics young wings lay waste to the league, Walker’s health be damned. If you are going to place an NBA bet or two or three, I’d advise looking elsewhere.
Jeff Clark: Give me the homer over, I care not for your science! Kidding, not kidding here. I wanted to be logical and say that between injuries, new roles, thin bench, and of course COVID, there’s a million reasons why the team could underperform in the regular season and still be ready to perform in the postseason.
HOWEVER, I will point out that all teams have issues with injuries, the lotto teams are going to be rested but rusty, many playoff teams are going to be just as warn down as the Celtics, and everyone’s going to deal with COVID in one way or another. So give me Tatum and Brown blossoming into face-of-the-franchise starring roles and the rest is just details. I’m taking the over. (What do I care? I’m not betting any money on this. Kids, don’t gamble.)
Keith Smith: That 44 number is pretty spot-on to how I feel this season will go. I think Boston could get off to a bit of a slow start this season, and then round in to form by the playoffs.
That has me leaning towards going slightly under. But just slightly, at 43 wins. I think the growth of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is more than enough to keep the Celtics as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. And I think that top group of 6-7 teams will be quite crowded this year.
(My actual prediction for this season is exactly 44 wins, but what fun is a push?)
Jeremy Stevens: I’ll take the slight over at 45 or 46 wins. The tough part to evaluate is the short preseason followed by a gauntlet of tough games to start the regular season. I could see a lot of teams starting slow, but not a lot of teams getting crushed.
The Celtics could hit their mid-season stride when Kemba comes back with fresh legs while the top of the league tries to manage the wear and tear of a short offseason. There’s a lot going on, but I don’t think it puts the Celtics in particular at any clear disadvantage.
I’m not as spooked by the Kemba knee stuff as everyone else, as he looked alright against Miami. I think this is more of a load management thing than a hidden injury thing, but we’ll see. I’m also not as bothered by Hayward leaving after only having him healthy for so few games over the last three seasons.
Adam Spinella: I’m taking the under as the pessimist in the room. 44 is an accurate number, as many have mentioned, and a lofty goal for a team with so many veterans already banged up. Realistically, the Celtics are one injury in their rotation away from being in a tough spot. Please join me in knocking on the proverbial wood as hard as possible.
The roster is filled with eight rookies or second-year players, the rest of the East has gotten better (especially Brooklyn, Washington and Atlanta) and minor injuries out of the gate to guys like Daniel Theis could add up in the long run. 44 isn’t an ambitious number, but I’ll settle for just underneath that as a safe bet.