Placing bets to start the NBA regular season is always a unique experience. Unlike the rest of the year, linemakers actually give you odds in advance, since they're not up against a nightly slate of games. That, in turn, gives you more time to prepare and suss out the top opportunities.
And that's exactly what we're here to do. Our NBA betting predictions for the opening night of the 2021-22 regular season will cover only our favorite wagers—the gambles we deem the surest things.
Before we start, here's a look at the NBA betting odds for the first two days of games, on October 19 and October 20, courtesy of BetOnline:
|Brooklyn Nets||-119||+100||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-210||+175||Golden State Warriors|
|Charlotte Hornets||-140||+120||Indiana Pacers|
|Chicago Bulls||-145||+125||Detroit Pistons|
|Toronto Raptors||-160||+135||Washington Wizards|
|Boston Celtics||-110||-110||New York Knicks|
|Memphis Grizzlies||-350||+280||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-125||+105||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||-195||+165||Houston Rockets|
|San Antonio Spurs||-235||+190||Orlando Magic|
|Utah Jazz||-775||+535||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Portland Trail Blazers||-235||+190||Sacramento Kings|
|Phoenix Suns||-270||+220||Denver Nuggets|
Remember to double-check these NBA odds before making your NBA picks. At this writing, there are roughly two weeks separating us from the opening tip. The odds will move at BetOnline and other top online sportsbooks.
NBA Opening Night Predictions 2021
Though the NBA has scheduled more than a dozen games to start the schedule, we want to make sure we're hitting on as many of our picks as possible. In order to do that, we've plucked out our top-seven bets, with the hopes you can use them to get off to a rip-roaring start!
Of course, with that said, we have to include the two games scheduled by the NBA on their first opening night. Matchups between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors are receiving top-billing, as the first two contests to be played, for a reason. They are high-profile, and it wouldn't make sense to overlook them.
Brooklyn Nets (-119) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (+100)
Lots of people believe one of the Nets or Bucks will win the 2022 NBA Finals, making this quite an intriguing matchup. To that end, many consider Brooklyn to be a championship formality, suggesting this matchup is less interesting and more inevitable.
Assuming a Nets victory would be foolish, though. Not only are they still figuring out their center rotation, but they are expected to be without All-NBA point guard Kyrie Irving, who remains unvaccinated against COVID-19 and may not be a part of the rotation unless he changes his mind.
As such, this feels like a good chance to roll the dice on the reigning champs.
OSB Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks (+100)
Los Angeles Lakers (-210) vs. Golden State Warriors (+175)
The Warriors might be one of the most overrated teams entering the regular season. Sure, they have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, but they're either too old or too young at basically every other spot on the team.
Perception should change when Klay Thompson makes his season debut. But that's not happening until January. Investing in the Lakers, who have a healthy LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, is the only reasonable play.
OSB Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers (-210)
Utah Jazz (-775) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (+535)
Look at the odds for Jazz-Thunder. They say it all.
Utah finished last year with the league's best regular-season and is returning the same core. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, has built its roster to tank for a high lottery pick in the 2022 draft. This one's a no-brainer.
OSB Prediction: Utah Jazz (-775)
Chicago Bulls (-145) vs. Detroit Pistons (+125)
Truth be told, the Bulls feel like they'll be an awkward fit following the addition of DeMar DeRozan. We don't trust them to meet expectations over the long term.
Immediately, though, they should be fine. The Pistons are built to be a bottom-five team this season. Chicago should have no issue dispatching them.
OSB Prediction: Chicago Bulls (-145)
Charlotte Hornets (-140) vs. Indiana Pacers (+120)
It's easy to understand why the Hornets enter this game as favorites. LaMelo Ball took the league by storm as a rookie last year, and the Pacers will be missing Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren.
Still, Indiana's defense has looked great in the preseason, and they have the deeper roster even without LeVert and Warren in the fold. And on top of that, Charlotte's a touch too young to get our full vote of confidence.
OSB Prediction: Indiana Pacers (+120)
Toronto Raptors (-160) vs. Washington Wizards (+135)
This Raptors-Wizards line is risky. Most tend to believe Toronto is rebuilding, and that Washington is caught somewhere between rebuilding and competing.
Push comes to shove, the Wizards are the team integrating more pieces. The Raptors may be without Pascal Siakam for the time being, but their overall roster has more experience playing together.
OSB Prediction: Toronto Raptors (-160)
Portland Trail Blazers (-270) vs. Sacramento Kings (+290)
Don't let the lack of certainty surrounding Damian Lillard's future fool you: The Blazers, as currently constructed, are a genuine playoff team in the Western Conference. They should have one of the league's top-five offenses once again.
The Kings, for their part, have a handful of talented players in their rotation. But they are short on wings and switchable defenders. This is a game they should lose.
OSB Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers (+100)
Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting: