- The New Orleans Pelicans are without rookie Zion Williamson for the NBA opening game.
- Kyle Kuzma, Paul George, and Dwight Howard are also ruled out for the second game tonight.
- The LA Clippers and LA Lakers are co-favorites to win the NBA title.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Tuesday marks the start of the NBA season and bettors have already submitted millions of dollars in action at US sportsbooks.
The schedule begins with an 8:05 p.m. EST tip-off of the New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors on the reigning champion’s home court. Following that contest, the NBA Finals favorites in the LA Lakers and LA Clippers will face-off, where the Clippers are noted as the home team.
Pelicans Vs. Raptors
Zion Williamson will not be playing for the Pelicans in the season opener, nor for the first two months. Williamson injured his knee and has already undergone surgery but his odds have started to shift. While the rookie superstar is still labeled as the favorite to win the NBA rookie of the year (+150) at USA online sportsbooks like Bovada, Vegas has already shortened the odds for Ja Morant (+200) ahead of Williamson (+300).
With the injury news, the game line moved from -4.5 in favor of Toronto to -7. The Raptors have lost great talent in Kawhi Leonard but still may be able to cover this spread with the emotional support of their fans acknowledging the team’s first NBA championship.
In terms of their divisions, the Raptors are the third favorite (+600) to win the Atlantic Division behind the Philadelphia 76ers (-250) and Boston Celtics (+330). For the Pelicans, they sit in the middle of the pack, as they play in what is considered one of the best divisions in the NBA.
Their +800 odds to win the Southwest are beaten out only by the Houston Rockets (-350) and San Antonio Spurs (+450), though the Dallas Mavericks (+950) are just behind them.
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Lakers Vs. Clippers
The focus on the second matchup will certainly control the sportsbooks’ results. This highly-touted matchup is not only a battle of the two LA teams but also of the two teams that are favored to win the NBA Finals (tied at +450).
However, for the Western Conference, the odds are slightly favoring the Clippers (+250) over the Lakers (+275). This slight advantage comes as the Clippers are also projected to win the Pacific Division (-115) over the Lakers (+200) and the other three teams.
Despite the favoritism heading toward the Clippers, they are underdogs in the first of the four games these two teams will play against each other this season.
The Lakers (-160) are 3.5-point favorites over the Clippers (+140) but this comes with multiple players not suiting up in the teams’ opener.
The season is only beginning but expect to see betting odds on the NBA Finals and divisional winners adjust accordingly throughout the first month and a half of the season. Though this time is predominately known for betting on the MLB’s World Series and the NFL season, keep in mind that 20% of the season takes place in the first month of the season.
Michael spends most of his time betting on over/unders and analyzing algorithms in attempts to beat the book. His focus on statistics comes from an early understanding of mathematics as well as knowledge of opportunity costs. Michael enjoys playing basketball and reading about the NBA whenever he has the free time. When he is not writing, he can be found in Mississippi hitting the sportsbooks and enjoying a margarita… on the rocks, no salt.