We are starting to get past some of the early overreactions of the basketball season. Remember when the Lakers’ season was doomed after they lost to the Clippers on opening night? They haven’t lost a game since and are tied for the best record in the league. It’s been only a couple of weeks, but the dust is starting to settle, and we are starting to learn who the best and worst teams will be by the time the 82-game season comes to an end.
All odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS VS. BOSTON CELTICS
JAYSON TATUM OVER 20.5 POINTS (-110)
Jaylen Brown remains out for the Celtics and potentially could miss the team’s upcoming road trip. This is going to mean Tatum continues to see an expanded role on offense. With Brown off the court this season, Tatum has a 31.2% usage rating and is scoring 26.5 points per 36 minutes. It also seems like the line on Tatum’s points hasn’t adjusted for the improvements he’s shown this season. He’ scored 21 or more points in four of Boston’s five games. It might make sense to expect a down scoring night for Tatum if he was in a tough matchup, but the Cavaliers are 22nd in the league in defensive efficiency.
CHARLOTTE HORNETS VS. INDIANA PACERS
TERRY ROZIER OVER 16.5 POINTS (-107)
From one Celtic to a former Celtic. Rozier is starting to get more comfortable playing with his new team. After a couple couple rough games to open the season, he’s scored 17 or more points in four straight games. The Hornets have a thin roster and have relied on Rozier to carry a heavy workload. He’s had a usage rate of at least 27% in each of Charlotte’s past three games. On paper, the matchup against the Pacers doesn’t like great, but they could be missing their best defensive player, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis is questionable. Rozier should benefit if Turner isn’t there defending the rim.
ATLANTA HAWKS VS. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
SPURS -5.5 (-107)
It’s been an up-and-down day for the Hawks. The positive: Trae Young is coming back from an ankle injury. When he got hurt, the injury looked like it was going to be a long-term issue. He had to be helped off the court, but he returns after missing just one game. Even though this is an obvious benefit for the Hawks, I question if he will play a full workload. Atlanta could be cautious and somewhat limit the playing time of Young.
The negative: John Collins has been suspended 25 games for a failed drug test. He was having a breakout season, and his absence is a huge downgrade to the Hawks, who have a thin roster. Collins is playing 32 minutes per game, averaging 17 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Now Atlanta is going to have to rely on the likes of Alex Len and Jabari Parker to soak up extra minutes. This represents a fairly significant downgrade to the Hawks’ chances of winning games.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER VS. ORLANDO MAGIC
UNDER 204 TOTAL POINTS (-113)
The under for this game is extremely low — and rightfully so. Both of these teams have played in six games and combined to hit the over one time. The Magic are scoring an average of 93.5 points per game and the Thunder are scoring 104.3 points per game, two of the lowest scoring teams in the NBA. Particularly from the Orlando side, pace of play has been an issue for scoring points. The Magic are a team built around mostly big men, and it’s resulted in them playing at the second slowest pace in the league. Combine Orlando’s slow pace with the last ranked offensive efficiency, and we get low-scoring games. The Thunder aren’t much better in tis department and rank 26th in offensive efficiency.
PARLAY OF THE DAY
LAKERS/NUGGETS MONEYLINES (+105)
This are the two teams I feel most confident in winning tonight. The Lakers are riding a five-game win streak after an opening-night loss and are taking on the Bulls, who might be the worst team in the league. The Bulls have amassed early losses to the Knicks, Cavaliers and Hornets — an impressive feat for the wrong reasons. Even though the Nuggets are playing against a tough Miami Heat team, Denver always has had a strong home court advantage. The Nuggets went 34-7 at home last season — the best home record in the NBA. In addition, the Heat could be without Justise Winslow, who is questionable to play.
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