Betting buzz: Celtics, Knicks among NBA teams with highest opening win totals

The new-look New York Knicks have the second-highest win total in the Eastern Conference at ESPN BET. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Everything that happens in sports has some additional context when viewed from a sports betting perspective. From season-changing injuries to record-setting moments and so much more, the sports news cycle will constantly and significantly affect the sports betting industry.

Our betting buzz file, with contributions from David Purdum, Doug Greenberg and others, aims to provide fans with a look at the sports betting stories that are driving the conversation.

Key links: Sports betting home | NFL odds page | College football odds page | ESPN BET

July 17: Celtics, Knicks lead NBA opening win totals

Doug Greenberg: Sportsbooks are expecting the Boston Celtics to pick up right where they left off after a 64-win regular season and an NBA record 18th championship. ESPN BET released its win totals for the 2024-25 NBA season Wednesday and has the C's leading the way with 58.5 wins. That would be their highest preseason win total in the past 30 years, surpassing their previous high of 56.5 in 2009-10, which they went under.

Next up are the Oklahoma City Thunder (55.5 wins), who tied the Denver Nuggets (52.5 wins) for the most wins in the Western Conference last season with 57. The New York Knicks, one of the most active teams during the offseason, has the second-highest Eastern Conference win total at 53.5, eight games higher than their total of 45.5 heading into last season. It also ties their highest preseason win total in the past 30 years, matching the 1997-98 team (they went under that season).

The NBA Finals runner-up Dallas Mavericks debut with a 50.5 win total, tying them with the Milwaukee Bucks for seventh on the list. The Los Angeles Lakers win total is 44.5 and have gone under their win total projections in each of the past five seasons.

The team with the lowest win total heading into this season is the Brooklyn Nets, who are in the midst of a rebuild following the high-profile Mikal Bridges trade. Their total is 19.5 juiced to the over at -125.

2024-25 NBA win totals

Atlanta Hawks 35.5
Brooklyn Nets 19.5
Boston Celtics 58.5
Charlotte Hornets 29.5
Cleveland Cavaliers 47.5
Dallas Mavericks 50.5
Denver Nuggets 52.5
Detroit Pistons 24.5
Golden State Warriors 42.5
Houston Rockets 42.5
Indiana Pacers 46.5
LA Clippers 40.5
Los Angeles Lakers 44.5
Memphis Grizzlies 47.5
Miami Heat 44.5
Milwaukee Bucks 50.5
Minnesota Timberwolves 52.5
New Orleans Pelicans 45.5
New York Knicks 53.5
Oklahoma City Thunder 55.5
Orlando Magic 47.5
Philadelphia 76ers 52.5
Phoenix Suns 46.5
Portland Trail Blazers 21.5
San Antonio Spurs 35.5
Sacramento Kings 46.5
Toronto Raptors 30.5
Washington Wizards 22.5

July 10: U.S. men, women commanding favorites for Paris Olympics

David Purdum: The United States men's and women's basketball teams are commanding odds-on favorites to win gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The U.S. men are -550 to win at ESPN BET, while the U.S. women are even stronger favorites at -1,500.

The U.S. men have won four consecutive Olympic tournaments and head to Paris as bigger favorites than they were in 2021, when they marched through the field to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics, going 8-0 with an average margin of victory of 27.9 points per game. The U.S was around a -350 favorite in 2021. The U.S. has claimed 16 gold medals in men's basketball overall while all other countries have combined to win four.

Canada has the second-shortest odds to win gold at 11-1, followed by Victor Wembanyama and France at 15-1.

The U.S. men open Olympic play July 28 as consensus 12.5-point favorites over Serbia.

The U.S. women are seeking an eighth-straight gold medal, which would set an Olympic record for most consecutive gold medals for a country in a team sport.

Oddsmakers aren't expecting the U.S. women's basketball team to face much competition. No team outside of the U.S. has shorter than 20-1 odds to win gold at ESPN BET. Belgium has the second-shortest odds at 20-1, followed by Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan and Spain, which are each listed at 28-1.

The U.S. women open July 29 against Japan and are 16.5-point favorites.

July 9: WSOP main event sets attendance record, prize pool tops $94M

Greenberg: For the second year in a row, the World Series of Poker main event has set a new bar.

The 55th iteration of the WSOP main event, a $10,000 buy-in freezeout held in Las Vegas, registered 10,112 entrants to create a total prize pool of $94,041,600, breaking the previous records of 10,043 players and $93,399,900 set last year, according to Caesars Entertainment, which hosts the annual tournament series.

This year's event also set a new single-day registration record by welcoming 5,014 entrants on July 6. Players were able to register through July 8 with late registration remaining open until then.

"Ten thousand entrants has become the new magic number for the WSOP main event," executive director of World Series of Poker Ty Stewart said in a statement. "The response has been overwhelming since our move to the Las Vegas Strip."

Although the overall pot is bigger, 2024's winner will take home a smaller share of the prize pool at $10 million; last year's champion, Atlanta's Daniel Weinman collected $12.1 million for winning. Every player at this year's final table will win at least $1 million and the minimum payout (1,517th place) will earn $15,000.

Final table payouts:

1st: $10,000,000
2nd: $6,000,000
3rd: $4,000,000
4th: $3,000,000
5th: $2,500,000
6th: $2,000,000
7th: $1,500,000
8th: $1,250,000
9th: $1,000,000

July 8: Caitlin Clark effect: Fever games draw three times more bets than WNBA average

David Purdum: WNBA games involving Caitlin Clark attracted approximately three times more bets than games without her in May, according to recently released results of an analysis by marketing technology firm Optimove.

Optimove, which works with sports betting and internet gaming companies, said it analyzed 15 million WNBA bets placed on 43 games during May, including nine featuring Clark and the Indiana Fever. On average, Fever games saw a 380% increase in the number of bets compared to the baseline game (Washington Mystics-Connecticut Sun, May 17).

The Fever's season opener against the Sun on May 14 attracted more bets than any other game during the month, according to the analysis. The Fever were involved in each of the five games that attracted the most bets during the first month of the season.

Optimove also analyzed Clark's impact on the betting market during the final rounds of the NCAA women's tournament this spring and found a similar surge in interest. Games involving Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes attracted 540% more bets on average in the Elite 8, Final Four and championship game.

Clark, who on Saturday became the first WNBA rookie to record a triple-double, is a -550 favorite to win Rookie of the Year at ESPN BET, followed by Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky at +300.