NBA SportsLine projections: Raptors projected to finish with best record; Warriors still clear title favorites

We've now passed the two-month mark of the 2018-19 NBA season, which means teams are starting to separate themselves and show us what they're really about. There's still a long way to go in this season though, and SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has run the simulations and crunched the numbers to give us some updated projections on where teams will finish. 

Here's a look at the odds for every team to make the playoffs, win their conference and win the title. 

Western Conference

Team

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win Conference

Win NBA title

Golden State Warriors

58.5

100%

62.71

44.3

Houston Rockets

49.2

96.7%

16.84

8.5

Denver Nuggets

48.4

95.3

3.08

0.8

Los Angeles Lakers

47.6

92.2

7.94

3.3

Oklahoma City Thunder

46.8

87.4

2.77

0.7

Utah Jazz

45.6

82.1

2.98

0.9

Portland Trail Blazers

43.6

59.8

0.57

0.2

Minnesota Timberwolves

42.2

43.3

1.41

0.3

San Antonio Spurs

42

43.1

0.77

0.2

New Orleans Pelicans

40.6

28.2

0.41

0.1

Sacramento Kings

40.4

25.3

0.22

0.01

Memphis Grizzlies

40

23.8

0.23

0.01

Los Angeles Clippers

40

21.3

0.08

0.01

Dallas Mavericks

35.1

1.2

0.00

0.00

Phoenix Suns

18.8

0.0

0.00

0.00

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The drama surrounding the Warriors last month has settled down, they've gotten healthy and everything looks back on track. So too are their title odds, which are over 44 percent. Meanwhile, no one else even has a 20 percent chance of lifting the trophy. 
  • The Rockets have been up and down all season, but the projections are holding firm on them being the second-best team in the West. Their win projection total is just under 50, their odds to win the conference are over 16 percent, and they have the third-best odds to win the title at 8.5 percent.
  • Things are extremely crowded in the Western Conference. The Clippers, for example, are projected to finish 13th in the West, which seems like it would be well out of a playoff spot. However, they're projected to win just two fewer games than the eight-place Timberwolves. 
  • No trust in the Mavericks? Dallas has gotten out to a surprisingly strong 15-13 start this season, but the SportsLine projections do not see that keeping up. Their expected win total is just over 35, which means their projected record for the rest of the season is 20-34. 

Eastern Conference

Team

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win conference

Win NBA title

Toronto Raptors

59

100%

35.18%

19.6%

Philadelphia 76ers

52.8

100%

22.98%

7.8%

Boston Celtics

52

99.9%

21.67%

8.3%

Milwaukee Bucks

50.7

99.8%

7.55%

1.8%

Indiana Pacers

50

99.7%

8.86%

2.5%

Orlando Magic

41

66.4%

1.02%

0.1%

Detroit Pistons

40.6

60.3%

0.56%

0.1%

Miami Heat

39.5

45.7%

0.97%

0.2%

Brooklyn Nets

39.5

50.1%

0.52%

0.1%

Charlotte Hornets

39.2

46.7%

0.55%

0.1%

Washington Wizards

38.3

31.4%

0.15%

0.0%

New York Knicks

26

0.0%

0.00%

0.0%

Cleveland Cavaliers

21.7

0.0%

0.00%

0.0%

Atlanta Hawks

21.1

0.0%

0.00%

0.0%

Chicago Bulls

19.8

0.0%

0.00%

0.00%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The Raptors have the best record in the league through the first two months of the season and are now projected to finish the year that way with 59 wins. SportsLine's simulations see them just edging out the Warriors for the best record in the league, which of course would give them homecourt advantage in a potential Finals matchup. But despite that, the Warriors are still overwhelming favorites to win the title. 
  • The Wizards have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season, but they recently made a fairly big trade to try and fix some of their problems. There still isn't a ton of hope for them, but the SportsLine simulations do see their acquisition of Trevor Ariza as a big positive. After the trade, their playoff chances jumped from just nine percent to 31.4 percent. 
  • Indiana is the hottest team in the league, having won seven games in a row. They're projected to finish fifth in the East in the regular season standings, but have nearly a 10 percent chance to win the Eastern Conference championship, and could be worth a long-shot bet at 20-1 odds. 
  • Are the Magic for real? Prior to the season, the SportsLine projections had them as the second-worst team in the East and expected them to win just 27 games. Now, the most recent data gives them greater than 66.4 percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. 
NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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