The NBA regular season kicks off tonight with the Miami Heat taking on the Boston Celetics. Those 82 games seem to be just a formality for the Heat, because AccuScore's jocky computers have declared that without even 0.1 percent of a doubt, the team will make the playoffs. Though AccuScore doesn't seem so sure the Heat will actually win its division or come close to breaking the total regular-season wins record.
AccuScore, which employs the biggest sports geeks this side of Billy Beane, runs 10,000 computer simulations to come up with its preseason NBA predictions. Those machines have decided the Heat will definitely make the playoffs. The Orlando Magic, meanwhile, stands a 99.3 percent chance of getting to the tournament. Last year's defending champs, the Lakers, have a 96.2 percent chance of making the playoffs.
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To put that in prescpective, the newly LeBron-less Cavaliers have a 15.6 percent chance, while Chris Bosh's old team in Toronto has only a 13.3 percent chance. Sorry, guys, at least you're not the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their chances stand at 0.1 percent.
AccuScore predicts the Heat will win 62.7 games, by far the highest predicted in the league, but far short of the '95-'96 Bulls' record-setting 72 wins. The computer also gives the Heat only a 65.1 percent to win its division, with Sunshine State rival the Magic sitting at a 31.6 percent chance to take the Southeast.
Obviously, computer predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. They play no part in deciding who ultimately gets to play for a championship. This isn't college football; the NBA postseason has actual integrity.