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Lakers vs. Warriors: Under 229.5
Opening night of the NBA season is Tuesday!
The moment all of us hoop fans have been waiting for, while football fans are looking forward to betting some lunch money during the week.
Here we go. Lakers versus Warriors! I will start the season by saying -- this total is set too high. Let's go Under.
None of the O/U's for their meetings have been set this high (229.5-plus) since 2019 (nine meetings ago). Not to mention, they won't be playing in empty gym anymore, fans are back in full.
Now, onto preseason basketball. Not that important, but when you have a brand-new team like the Lakers, it kind of matters.
The Lakers finished 0-6 in the preseason and lost by an average of 15 points per game. Los Angeles is one of the teams that I believe benefited from empty arenas when it came to shooting. Not saying they will lose this game or come out terrible, but this team had more turnover than anyone else.
While all of those players' names carry a validated weight in some respect, I do not trust any of them to impact the season-opener significantly.
The Lakers lost players like Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, Ben McLemore, Marc Gasol, Markieff Morris and Wesley Matthews.
I am not sure the Lakers will reproduce all of that offense with Westbrook and the rest of the Lakers 2021-22 freshman class.
Curry and company are without Klay Thompson and James Wiseman for a few more months, so expect him to carry the load. The Warriors went 5-0 in the preseason and featured a 10-man rotation in the final game.
A few Golden State role players expected to contribute minutes in the starting lineup or off the bench are Kevon Looney, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., plus rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
That does not scream offense to me either, especially with Draymond Green probably drooling over guarding Westbrook/LeBron/Davis. We will likely see prime-Dray on Opening Night and I cannot wait.
NBC's game projection model's strongest play of the night is on the Under in this matchup and I have to agree. Back the Under to keep hitting between these two as they adjust to each other and their new rosters.
Pick: Under 229.5 (1.5u)
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Celtics vs. Knicks: Under 217.5
This game is on Wednesday.
Now that we have that cleared up, this is another prime spot for the Under. The Under between the Celtics and Knicks has cashed five of the last six times (83.3%) and seven of the previous 10 (70%), per NBC's Edge Finder.
Nothing changes when they meet in New York, as the Under hit four of the last five (80%) meetings. When the O/U was between 210-218 for the Knicks, they were 25-16 to the Under (61%) last season, while the Celtics were 10-9 (53%).
Both squads were defensive-minded. New York led the NBA with 104.7 points per game surrendered and Boston, 11th with 111.2. The Celtics are going through a coaching change with Brad Stevens leaving his role as head coach to President of Basketball Operations.
That could change a few things for Boston. I thought Stevens was an offensive genius at times, especially out of a timeout or inbound situation, so I feel comfortable with an Under game total with a new head coach adjusting to his team.
New York has the most defensive-minded head coach in the league, Tom Thibodeau. He is so defensive-minded that they averaged 107.0 points per game on offense, ranking 26th in the NBA, while leading the NBA in defensive points per game.
Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier are the big names in this matchup for a revenge angle versus the Celtics. Those two will benefit the Under, in my opinion, as Julius Randle could suffer from Walker's ball dominance.
Jaylen Brown and Al Horford also tested positive for COVID during the preseason, so there is a chance a Celtic or two could miss the season-opener. Outside of Brown and Jayson Tatum, the forward depth is Josh Richardson and Grant Williams.
These two teams likely won't reach 110-plus points each, so play the Under now as the total will creep down to 214.5 and 215.5 by Wednesday.
Pick: Under 217.5 (2u)
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