Gary | Wed 26/10/2016 - 12:36 EDT

NBA Betting Predictions

Who To Back In The NBA

By Dan Favale

Orlando Magic (-4) vs. Miami Heat (+4)


Nothing like starting out our picking spree with a tough one.

The Miami Heat lost Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade over the offseason, and Chris Bosh's career, at least in South Beach appears to be over. Josh Richardson is also injured, so with the exception of Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, the Heat are dealing with a bunch of unknowns.

That might not be a problem against this Orlando Magic squad. Head coach Frank Vogel will get them to play defense, but the offense will default into ruins. They don't have the spacing or the shot-creating to perform at a high level, and their superior defensive ceiling may not be enough to handle the run-and-gun style Miami figures to adopt.

The Pick: Miami Heat (+4)

Indiana Pacers (-6.5) vs. Dallas Mavericks (+6.5)

Pretty much everyone who's anyone is probably going to roll with the Indiana Pacers here. They are playing at home, their offense should be better, Paul George is a superstar and Myles Turner entered beast mode during the preseason.

Me, though? I'm going with the Dallas Mavericks. Their roster isn't deep, but the Pacers' isn't, either. More importantly, the Mavericks enjoy superior coaching courtesy of Carlisle. Even if they don't win, this one should be close.

The Pick: Dallas Mavericks (+6.5) 

Toronto Raptors (-7.5) vs. Detroit Pistons (+7.5)

The pick has to be the Toronto Raptors here. They will be in the hunt for 50 wins once more, are playing at home and will no doubt be carrying a chip on their shoulder with everyone up in arms about how much the Boston Celtics improved over the offseason.

It helps the Raptors, of course, that the Detroit Pistons will be missing starting point guard Reggie Jackson. While many don't expect his absence to kill the Pistons, it does torpedo their pick-and-roll chemistry, which is the foundation for their entire offense.

A quality playoff team like Toronto should be able to take advantage of that.

The Pick: Toronto Raptors (-7.5)


Boston Celtics (-13.5) vs. Brooklyn Nets (+13.5)


Yours truly is always leery of investing in large spreads during opening week. Many of the games are wild cards that early in the season, as team's try to work through months of rust.

But I've got to make an exception here, for two seasons.

First, the Brooklyn Nets aren't going to be good. They will cobble together a rotation headlined by veterans, but even their most experienced players, perhaps with the exception of Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez, don't project as above-average contributors.

Second, and most importantly, the Boston Celtics profile as a 50-win hopeful. Al Horford, their big offseason acquisition, is a perfect fit for the roster, and the Celtics steamrolled opponents with him on the floor during the preseason.

Missing Marcus Smart will sting, but Terry Rozier looks like he's ready to play a bigger role. Toss in the improved shooting of Jae Crowder and the continued two-way versatility of Avery Bradley, and the Celtics shouldn't have any trouble running away with this one early. 

The Pick: Boston Celtics (-13.5)


Memphis Grizzlies (-2) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (+2)

Admittedly, this line surprised me. The Memphis Grizzlies will be without Chandler Parsons and Brandan Wright for this one, and Marc Gasol is laboring through a bone bruise in the same right foot he fractured last season.

Translation: Uh-oh.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, meanwhile, are healthy and off to the races under Tom Thibodeau. Their playoff candidacy might be overstated in the grand scheme of things, but in this space, for this game, on this night, against this injury-ravaged Grizzlies team, they should be considered the favorite.

The Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves (+2)


Philadelphia 76ers (+8.5) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (-8.5)


Oof, another tough one.

Yes, the Oklahoma City Thunder look like an appealing pick. But let's not forget how much they struggled to close out bad teams without Kevin Durant back in 2014-15.

Still, the Sixers are a different kind of bad. They will be without Nerlens Noel and Ben Simmons, while Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor will be on minutes limits. That's far from an ideal way to start the season, even if you're not expected to win many games in the first place.

Oklahoma City has the clear upper hand in this one.

The Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder (-8.5)


Milwaukee Bucks (+2) vs. Charlotte Hornets (-2)

The Charlotte Hornets are not going to be the team that they were last year—the near-50-win squad that finished in the top 10 of both offensive and defensive efficiency. They lost too much talent over the offseason to replicate that offensive success, tethering their playoff hopes tightly to their defensive ceiling.

There's honestly no telling what type of Milwaukee Bucks team they are traveling to face. This squad is thin on shooting, and there's no guarantee its plummeting defense from last season is any better.

Push comes to shove, bet on the Hornets. Their defensive identity is more certain than anything the Bucks have to offer—and that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Pick: Charlotte Hornets (-2)


New Orleans Pelicans (-2.5) vs. Denver Nuggets (+2.5)


It's borderline amazing that the New Orleans Pelicans are favored over the Denver Nuggets. Sure, they're at home. But they'll also be without Jrue Holiday (personal reasons) and Tyreke Evans (knee injury). And Anthony Davis is now surrounded by a host of unknown flier commodities.

Not that the Nuggets are some established juggernaut. But they are much deeper than the Pelicans and more likely to lock down defensively at this point.

The Pick: Denver Nuggets (+2.5)


Phoenix Suns (-2.5) vs. Sacramento Kings (+2.5)

Those of you who followed these writings last season should be familiar with my foremost rule by now: Never bet on the Sacramento Kings if you can avoid it.

In this case, though, the Phoenix Suns' rampant uncertainty isn't enough for us to follow our cardinal rule.

The Pick: Sacramento Kings (+2.5) 


Los Angeles Lakers (+6.5) vs. Houston Rockets (-6.5)

No contest here. The Los Angeles Lakers are at home and could end up being a lot of fun on the offensive end, but the Houston Rockets are a fringe contender that profiles as one of the two best offseason teams in the league.

Given the choice, who are you picking: The rebuilding Lakers or high-octane Rockets?

That's what I thought.

The Pick: Houston Rockets (-6.5)

Category : Sports Betting News

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