NBA Odds and Predictions: Tuesday, October 28 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 10/27/2014
I don't know about you, but I am downright giddy that the NBA season tips off on Tuesday night with three games, highlighted by the champion San Antonio Spurs raising a fifth championship banner to the rafters. Would have been nice to see the Cavaliers be the opponent for San Antonio, but that apparently couldn't be worked out. I will provide these opening line reports Tuesday-Saturday (most weeks), trying to get you an early betting edge and with injury updates, etc.
Mavericks at Spurs (-4.5, 206.5)
I think we are safe in that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will not sit any of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili in the season opener. I think. Of course, Pop is apt to rest those guys whenever he sees fit. Actually Bovada has an interesting special prop on whether any Spurs player will average at least 30 minutes a game this year. San Antonio was the only team to not have one do so in 2013-14. "Yes" is -200 and "no" +160. I think I lean yes there because reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is young enough to play at least 30 a night. He's probably the only guy on the team who has a chance. The champs are pretty much back intact.
This will be the Mavericks re-debut of Tyson Chandler, acquired in trade from the Knicks this offseason. Ditto Chandler Parsons, acquired via free agency from Houston. So, yes, the Mavericks lead the NBA in Chandlers. Point guard Raymond Felton, also in that Knicks trade, will not play. He is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and then will be suspended four games whenever healthy. Felton was arrested in New York in February after allegedly threatening his wife with a gun. Jameer Nelson, another free-agent acquisition, will start at the point.
San Antonio has owned Dallas in the regular season of late and swept four meetings last season, winning each by at least six points. The Mavericks gave the Spurs fits in the playoffs, however, pushing the Western Conference quarterfinals to a seventh game.
Key trends: The Mavericks are 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings (all that playoff series). The "over/under" has gone over in five of the past six meetings.
Early lean: I used to lean against the defending champions on opening night with all the distractions and the opponent really fired up. However, the Spurs are too well coached to be distracted. Take them and the over.
Magic at Pelicans (-9.5, 196)
Count me among those who think the Pelicans will take a giant step forward this season -- as long as rising superstar Anthony Davis stays healthy. Davis is given Bovada totals of 22.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.7 blocks this year. The former Kentucky star averaged 20.8 points, 10.0 boards and 2.8 blocks a season ago. Injuries killed this team last season, mainly to point guard Jrue Holiday and 3-point specialist Ryan Anderson. Those guys are healthy now, and Davis doesn't have to get pushed around in the paint as much after the trade for Rockets center Omer Asik. He can do all the dirty work down there.
Orlando will be a lottery team again and unfortunately won't have Victor Oladipo for the first month or so of the season. He was one of the better rookies last season but suffered a facial fracture in practice last week. He was the No. 2 overall pick in 2013. The Magic do have some potentially nice young players in Oladipo and 2014 first-round picks Aaron Gordon (one of best dunkers already in NBA) and Elfrid Payton. The Magic signed free agent Channing Frye from Phoenix this offseason, but he's not expected to play Tuesday due to a knee injury.
These teams split last season, each winning at home.
Key trends: Orlando has covered just four of its past 27 road games. The Pelicans covered six of their final eight at home last year. The over is 6-0 in New Orleans' past six vs. the East.
Early lean: New Orleans and the under. Orlando is going to struggle to score all year, and two of its best players won't be on the court here.
Rockets at Lakers (+6, 208.5)
I don't think any good team -- well, west of Miami -- got worse this offseason than Houston. The Rockets put all their eggs in the Chris Bosh basket, and he spurned them at the last minute. That essentially cost Houston Parsons, Asik and Jeremy Lin. I believe this club takes a major step back. The Lakers, meanwhile, are going to be simply awful. The team recently lost starting point guard Steve Nash for the season due to a back problem, and the Hall of Famer's career is surely over. That turned out to be an incredibly lopsided trade for the Suns as they still have the Lakers' Top-5 protected first-round pick in 2015 as part of that deal. That injury moves Lin into the starting lineup.
Of course, all the L.A. fans will boo Howard, whose decision to leave the Lakers basically torpedoed that franchise. It will be interesting to see how Kobe Bryant looks after missing all but six early-season games a year ago. Bovada offers a prop on whether Kobe scores 50 in a game this year. He's going to shoot probably more than anyone in the NBA because the Lakers don't have anyone else. But 50? Take no at -1400. Kobe hasn't had 50 since 2009. The Lakers also will be without Nick Young the first five weeks or so as he recovers from a thumb injury. Thus, the starting five Tuesday is likely Kobe, Lin, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill. That's ugly.
Key trends: The Lakers have failed to cover their past five at home. The over is 13-4 in Houston's past 17 vs. the West. The over is 7-1 in the past eight meetings in L.A.
Early lean: Lean over on most Laker games this year. Their defense is really going to be bad. Take Houston, which won three of four meetings last season in blowout form.
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