- Dave Tuley, ESPN Staff Writer
LAS VEGAS -- Miami Heat team president Pat Riley has some added incentive this season for his team to win its third straight NBA championship. He happens to own the trademark to "three-peat," procured during his days as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team that attempted to pull off the feat in 1988-89.
And unless both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are injured, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion the two-time defending NBA champions will be in the hunt for a three-peat next June. While not as heavily anticipated as NFL over/under win totals, the LVH SuperBook posted its NBA overs/unders Oct. 1 (see chart below). To no one's surprise, the Heat topped the list at 60 wins. The Oklahoma City Thunder's projected win total (50.5), which is 10 games lower than last season's, dropped due to the news that Russell Westbrook is expected to miss the first four to six weeks of the regular season. Nonetheless, they're still the 9-2 favorite to win the NBA title right behind the Heat.
For bettors, the Heat pose a problem. Currently at 2-1 odds to win the 2014 NBA title, a future-book wager on the Heat would tie up bettors' money for eight months while offering a mediocre return on investment.
This is where over/under season win total bets gain some appeal.
One can bet on a team to exceed expectations without worrying about if it can knock off the Heat in the playoffs. There's also the added option of being able to go against a team that you feel is overrated and will fall short of its over/under win total.
Here are five over as well as five under bets I recommend heading into the 2013-14 season, although as a betting rule of thumb I don't suggest placing bets on all 10 -- just the strongest plays.
Tuley's recommended 'over' bets
Minnesota Timberwolves (over 41 wins)
7dEthan Sherwood Strauss