Fri, Oct 28, 3:08pm by Jake Equid
Opening night of the 2016/17 NBA season was played on Wednesday night and the anticipation in our country has never been higher with a record number of Australians (8) playing in the league and ESPN Australia doubling its TV coverage.
ESPN will televise 200 regular-season and playoff games this year, including a minimum of five, live regular-season games each week plus the All-Star game, all the Playoffs and The Finals.
Before we get into the best bets, check out our season preview.
Now it’s time to get the first weekend of action underway and as we’ll do every week at australiangambling.com.au, we’ve picked out the three best bets for the weekend’s hard-court action.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors, Air Canada Centre, Toronto –Saturday October 29, 10:00am AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN2
It’s the rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals and the best match up for the weekend as the reigning Champion Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Toronto Raptors, a team that pushed them to six games in that series in May. Both teams opened up with solid home wins to start their respective seasons.
The Cleveland Cavaliers received their championship rings in front of a sold out Quicken Home Loans Arena on Wednesday night and the celebrations continued throughout the match, beating up on the Knicks to finish up winning by 29 points.
The team went at 47.9 percent shooting, lead by Kyrie Irving who scored 29 points and had four assists while Kevin Love finished 23 points and 12 rebounds. LeBron James achieved yet another double-double, 14 assists and 19 points.
The Raptors put 109 points on the board with 47 percent shooting in their opening night win. DeMar DeRozan finishing with 40 points and four rebounds while Jonas Valanciunas had 32 points and 11 rebounds.
Winning in Toronto isn’t easy and you can ask Cleveland, as the home team has won eight of the last nine meetings between the Raptors and Cavs. The Raptors are one of the few threats for the Cavs in the East and I’m backing them to continue the good run of home teams in this fixture.
BEST BET: Raptors to win: $2.13
Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans, Smoothie King Centre, New Orleans –Saturday October 29, 12:30pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN2
The biggest talking point after opening night was the Golden State Warriors’ first up loss to the Spurs. It was nothing short of embarrassing, giving up 129 points with their star-studded roster spending periods of the game as spectators. The good news is that they now face the Pelicans, who were humbled by the Nuggets, who finished fourth last in the West last season, on the same night.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in his debut while Steph Curry had 26 points and four assists. The main issue was the shooting from beyond the arc which was at a rock bottom 21.2 percent.
Anthony Davis couldn’t have done more to will his team over the line, the number one pick in the 2012 draft had a monster night, scoring 50 points and taking 16 rebounds.
There was little help from his teammates, besides Tim Frazier who scored 15 points and dished out 11 assists. The New Orleans Pelicans hope to avoid a 0-2 start for the third time in four years.
The Warriors have won the last seven meetings against the Pelicans and a lot of those games weren’t even close. The Pelicans also showed in the season opener that there’s very little depth or talent outside of Davis.
I’m backing the Warriors to bounce back by double digits here and cover the line of 9.5 points, they have not started 0-2 since the 2009-10 NBA season.
BEST BET: Warriors by more than nine points: $1.91
Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls, United Centre, Chicago –Sunday October 30, 11:00am AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN2
Indiana heads to Chicago after an overtime win in Dallas, while the Bulls kicked off with a 105-99 win over the Celtics. The Pacers play their second match on Saturday away to the Nets, before travelling to Chicago.
The first up win nail-biting win over Dallas was lead by Myles Turner who had 30 points and 16 rebounds while Paul George also had a big game with 25 points and six assists.
The home side’s new-look starting line-up boasts two new additions in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, who are two solid perimeter defenders to pair with their rising star in Jimmy Butler. Wade scored 22 points on debut against the Celtics, but Rondo struggled to be 1-9 from the field and scored just four.
Unfortunately for Chicago fans, it seems like the Bulls lack scoring in their front court and overall depth in their roster which could be disastrous should Rondo or Wade suffer injuries.
The Pacers have a solid starting five who can get very hot from beyond the arc and should be able to go to Chicago and win this game. I’m backing the Pacers.
BEST BET: Pacers to win at $2.19
MULTI OF THE WEEK: Combining the Saturday double for $4.06 at Sportsbet
Raptors to win: $2.13
Warriors by more than nine points: $1.91
Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing
All times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)
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