The NBA is back! After an offseason that felt like forever, avid fans and sports bettors alike get professional basketball back tonight. Yeah, the NFL is cool, but for me there’s nothing better than the NBA. It provides us with nonstop action until June, and an awesome duo of games to dive into tonight. Here are the best opening night NBA games and Wicked Wagers for each.
Philadelphia 76ers (+130) at Boston Celtics (-154) – Tuesday, 7:30 PM EST
The first game of the evening is a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview. The Boston Celtics welcomes their rivals from Philadelphia in a game where the books are favoring the Celtics. However, not by much. This line has settled in with Boston favored by 3, and a total of 216. These teams met four times last season, with each team taking two wins in the series. I’m not looking at last season too much though, because Boston is a much different team.
The Celtics acquired Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers and didn’t have to give up much to do so. Daniel Theis might be the biggest loss for this team, but they replaced him with a gritty veteran in Blake Griffin. The Celtics have a new coach this year in Joe Mazzulla. He gets nothing but positive reviews from his peers and people who follow the league. However, the biggest impact move is easily the Brogdon trade. Brogdon brings veteran leadership to the Celtics second unit and will provide a level of tenacity on both ends of the floor. That was something this team was missing in their second unit last year.
Philadelphia also made moves this offseason. They traded for De’Anthony Melton and signed P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr., and Montrezl Harrel in free agency. These additions for Philly are a big deal and position them to compete with Boston for the East this season.
Looking at this game, it feels like more of a pick ‘em type of situation. If this game was in Philly, the expectation would be the 76’ers to be the 3-point favorite. The teams are evenly matched roster wise. Joel Embiid is the best player on the floor, despite Jayson Tatum being out there. On top of that, James Harden seems to have really bought into what they are doing. He’s slimmed down, and reports are that he looks the closest to Houston James as he has since he left.
For that reason, and the additions they made, I’m all over the 76ers plus the points tonight. Considering the full arsenal of players available for both teams, and the overall continuity from top to bottom, Philly is in a better place right now. Expect this to be a close game throughout, coming down to one or two possessions at the end. Boston has better closers in Tatum and Brown, but Philly will keep this one close and cover the 3 points.
Stay away from the total in this one, and it’s a good recommendation to start the season. Let’s see how both teams play before we start to handicap totals. If you followed me last season, you know that we coined a phrase around here in “Death, Taxes, and Celtics 2Q”. Well guess what, I’m going back to that well tonight: I’m taking that Boston -0.5 for the 2Q. The home crowd and Brogdon should give the Celtics the edge in the 2Q, and I’m laying the half a point. The way Boston plays, the projection is them trailing at the end of 1Q, making a run in the 2Q even more likely. These guys crushed this quarter in the last 20 games of the 2021 season, and that’s going to continue tonight.
Wicked Wagers – Philadelphia +3 Full Game / Boston -0.5 2Q
Los Angeles Lakers (+235) at Golden State Warriors (-290) – Tuesday, 7:30 PM EST
Game 2 features the most disappointing team in the NBA last year, and the defending NBA champs. Once again, the hype train is rolling at full steam on this aging, and poorly constructed Lakers team. Yes, they have Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, and added Pat Beverly. However, Darvin Ham wants Davis to play true center (which he hates), and Westbrook feels totally disconnected from his team. It’s going to be interesting to see how Russ responds to coming off the bench, in a move that favors him. He’s the type of player that needs the ball in his hand and needs to be in control. This simply doesn’t happen with Lebron on the court.
The Warriors on the other hand, have only added to their already talented team. James Wiseman is back, and Jordan Poole just got a monster extension. Not to mention, some guys named Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are still there shooting the lights out of gyms. This Warriors team could repeat as champs this season if they stop punching each other in the face.
The books are not giving LA a whole lot of credit here, favoring the Warriors by 7 on their home court. Last year, the Warriors were super dominant at home. They have a tremendous home court advantage with a raucous crowd and truly passionate fans. While 7 is a lot of points, expect the Warriors to cover this number, and even win this game by double digits.
It’s going to take LA some time to adjust to their new system. Patrick Beverly is a nice addition on the defensive end of the floor. However, he’s not going to be able to stop Steph Curry and Klay Thompson single handedly. Laying the 7 in the season opener might be a little daunting to some. Instead, I’ll give you my #1 play of the night, and most Wicked of Wagers in the Warriors 1Q line. Laying 1.5 here and hammering this bet.
The defending champs, at home, to win the first quarter by a bucket is low hanging fruit, and fruit I’m happy to pick. The Warriors are going to handle LA tonight, and its going to start in the first 12 minutes of play. Lay that 1.5 and sit back and watch as that ticket cashes. Let’s not forget that sports betting should be fun, and with that I’m also going to play the 3×2 prop bet. That’s where we just need 2 three-pointers to get knocked down in the first 2 minutes of the game tonight, and with the splash brothers on the court, it’s too good to resist.
At +104 on FanDuel, I’m going to throw some beer money on that for fun. Why wouldn’t you think that a team with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the starting lineup won’t achieve that.
Wicked Wagers – Warriors Full Game -7 / Warriors 1Q -1.5
Wicked Prop Bet – 3×2 Prop Bet (+104)