It’s that time of year again! The 2019-20 NBA season gets underway this Wednesday, the 23rd of October with a fantastic double header!
If you haven’t already, go check out our NBA Season Preview & Betting Tips, which were posted last week!
Today, we take a look at both games on opening day of the season and give our betting tips below!
The first game of the opening day double header sees the New Orleans Pelicans hosting the Toronto Raptors from 11am. The schedulers must have thought this would be an interesting clash between the defending champions and the highly touted No.1 pick, Zion Williamson of the Pelicans. Unfortunately, the high flying forward has been ruled out for the first few weeks of the season with a knee injury.
The Pelicans still have a host of new talent to run out on night one after they traded star forward Anthony Davis to Los Angeles for a package including Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in the off-season. The new look Pelicans should play a fairly high pace and exciting brand with the young core.
Many have already written the defending champion Raptors off after they lost star forward and finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers in the off-season. Leonard leaves a big hole in the frontcourt, but the Raptors still posses a very talented team, and progression from youngster Pascal Siakam should fill some of the void left by Leonard. With limited pre-season play to go on, we are staying away from the match line here. One market we are extremely interested, however, is the Siakam point line, which currently sits at just 20.5.
In 60 games with Kawhi Leonard in the line-up last season, Siakam averaged 16.25 points and in 20 games with Leonard out of the line-up he averaged 18.95. Siakam should be recognised as the leader of the offence this year and should continue to get more touches.
A highly anticipated matchup in the Western Conference sees the two Los Angeles teams squaring off from 1.30pm. Both the Clippers and the Lakers made big moves in the off-season to improve, with the Lakers trading for Anthony Davis to pair with LeBron James while the Clipppers secured the services of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Unfortunately, George will miss the opening night and the first few weeks of the season with a shoulder injury. Which has resulted in the Lakers starting as firm favourites for the opening night clash. The Lakers have surrounded James and Davis with a mix of cast offs and role players in the likes of Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, many of who have won NBA Championships with other teams.
The Clippers bring back a very similar team to the one that performed above their weight class last season, with the glaring additions of George and Leonard. The likes of Patrick Beverly, Landry Shamet, Lou Williams, Maurice Harkless and Montrezl Harrell should provide fantastic support to the two stars.
Tough game to call here, however, with George out and so much hype surrounding this Lakers side after a dominant pre-season, we have to lean towards them here. Anthony Davis looks in great shape, which is a fantastic sign for the Lakers.
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