1) BKN SU vs. NYK, OKC SU vs. MEM, DAL SU vs. SAS (+142)The Nets really need their stars back as they feel to the Knicks in a game where nothing worked for Brooklyn. None of their pieces were efficient, and they allowed Julius Randle to take over the game.
OKC was on a bit of a hot streak, however, Memphis came out strong at the start of each half getting great play from Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke. Hot streaks meditated on hot shooting from Schroder and SGA can’t be relied upon (as much as I love Shai and his amazing jersey to letter value).
Dallas was able to pull away late, but the first half was very tic for tat. This game featured the return of newly minted Jordan Brand athlete Luka Doncic, and in the end the Mavericks were able to secure the win against the Spurs. That being said, Doncic still has a ton of rust to knock off before I feel comfortable betting on the Mavs again.
Overall, these middle of the pack teams are hard to predict, even against bad teams.
1) TOR SU vs. WAS, MIA SU vs. NYK, BOS SU vs. DET (+106)
I was most worried about the Celtics withoit Hayward and Smart, but with Griffin out as well I figured the injuries were a wash. Given home field advantage and what the Celtics have shown thus far, I liked this matchup better than others on the slate. Kemba did his best to make me regret this decision (scoring a paltry 2 points in the game), but Brown and Tatum were able to pick up the slack.
The Heat at home against the hapless Knicks was a gimme. The Wizards made it a lot closer than I expected, but the Raptors were able to outlast.
I was tempted to take the 76ers against a short-handed Mavs team, as well as the Magic at Portland. However, the Sixers basically play the fourth quarter down a man due to Simmons being a max contract liability. The Blazers as well have turned around from their terrible start, and Melo has produced far better results than expected. Despite the current standings, these will be great lessons learned moving forward.
1) BOS SU vs. DEN, MIA SU vs. WAS, LAL SU @ POR (+191)
The Nuggets are on the 2nd night of a back-to-back road trip, and Boston has played great at home. The Wizards, while a top 5 offense, would be run by by the Heat. The Lakers have looked great, and look to be motivated to prove folks wrong that they’re pretenders based on the first quarter of the season.
2) DAL -9 @ NO (-110)
The Mavericks ended with an almost 50 point victory after a 40-14 third quarter. This wasn’t a matter of Luka-heroics, rather the entirety of the Mavs roster was able to take over, including a perfect shooting game for Jalen Brunson. The early start time likely hurt the traveling Pelicans as well.
1) LAL -.5 @ OKC, BOS +9.5 @ DEN (-110)
The Thunder put up much more of a fight than expected against the Lakers, who settled for mid range shots for much of the night. At the end of the night, talent prevailed, and the Lakers won (and thanks to the tease, covered).
I liked what I saw from the Celtics against the Clippers, but nobody could plan for Kemba exiting the game in the way he did. The Celtics were able to rally after going down 19 thanks to defense and some hot shooting. I hope Kemba is healthy and able to return soon, and I like the Celtics on the road as they have the type of team that never seems out of a game.
1) MIL -1 @ IND, DAL +.5 vs. TOR (-110)
With Brogdon being out I wasn’t sure how the Pacers scored enough to keep pace (pun intended) with Gannis and the Bucks. Gannis was able to take command and overpower an undermanned Pacers team.
The Mavericks and Raptors went back and forth, fluctuating between double digits leads on both sides. Porzingis finally started to play up to his contract, and the bench was able to do just enough to keep the Raptors at bay. A bad night from Siakim also helped as the scoring slack was picked up by Norman Powell who was streaky at best.
Taking the Raptors and Mavericks to win seemed like the best bet of Saturday’s NBA slate.