NBA Handicap Betting Preview – Saturday 29th October By @DavAulak

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors – 00:00 at Air Canada Centre

The Cleveland Cavaliers needed to dig down deep to see off the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals last May, but their recent record in Canada is not great. They might have won in Game 6 on the road in Toronto, but previously had failed to win or cover in four straight visits north of the border.

Both teams opened the new season with dominating wins, but this is a big game for both to set a marker for the season. My feeling is that it means more to the Raptors to show they can compete with Cleveland this time around, but I have to say it is tough to oppose the Cavaliers when you see how loose they looked on Tuesday now the pressure of bringing a title home is no longer on them.

Even with that in mind, I can just see the Toronto Raptors wanting this one more than Cleveland and that can make all the difference in these tight games. There is no doubt in my mind that Cleveland will beat Toronto if they play again in the Play Offs, but this isn’t that time of the season and the Cavaliers will head into a hostile environment and might not want to dig as deep as Toronto will.

The Raptors are 4-1 against the spread in their last five home games against Cleveland and all of those times they have covered the spread has also seen Toronto win straight up. They are playing with more desire having been humiliatingly beaten by Cleveland in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at home and I like the Raptors to give it their all to win this one and will take the points on offer.

Handicap Betting Pick: Toronto Raptors +2.5 Points at 1.96 with Unibet

 

Handicap Betting

Cleveland Cavaliers

 

Indiana Pacers @ Brooklyn Nets – 00:30 at The Barclays Center

A couple of days ago I backed the Brooklyn Nets to cover with a lot of points on the road at the Boston Celtics because I felt the latter might be looking ahead to their big game with the Chicago Bulls. The Nets play their home opener in an identical position as their opponents, the Indiana Pacers, will be visiting the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

However, this time I think the Indiana Pacers can pull away for the cover on the road against the pretty average Brooklyn Nets.

Even though the Nets did come back to cover on Wednesday, they were actually down by 23 points in the Fourth Quarter and made use of the double digit points they received from the layers. The Pacers did need Overtime a couple of days ago to see off the Dallas Mavericks, but this is a team that looks to have made the right moves in the off-season to be a genuine contender in the Eastern Conference having missed the Play Offs last season.

Brooklyn are focusing on becoming a three point shooting team and that will make them dangerous whenever they are in receipt of a lot of points. This might not be enough though and Indiana have a 10-4 record against the spread here. I think the Pacers are a team looking to build some chemistry and so should be focused to prove they can work up the standings this season with a double digit win over one of the poorer teams in the NBA.

Handicap Betting Pick: Indiana Pacers -6.5 Points at 1.95 with Pinnacle 

 

Orlando Magic @ Detroit Pistons – 00:30 at The Palace

Both the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons would have been disappointed in the effort made in opening game losses and both will be looking to bounce back effectively on Friday. The Pistons have been set as the favourite, but I think Orlando Magic can make the points count.

Reggie Jackson is out for the Pistons which means they are running their Offense through Ishe Smith and Beno Udrih who both had some issues with their shot in the blow-out loss in Toronto. There also will be some concern about Andre Drummond and his health having seen him come out early in the last game and now in concussion protocol ahead of this one.

That is going to be a key for Detroit who frustrated Head Coach Stan Van Gundy by being dominated on the glass. It will be a problem again on Friday with Orlando bringing in players like Bismack Biyombo who will make his season debut here and give the Magic more of a presence in the paint. Serge Ibaka is another who can pound the glass and Nikola Vucevic is yet another big man who can give Detroit a lot of problems especially if Drummond is limited.

Orlando will be looking for improvements of their own having been upset by the Miami Heat at home but this looks a chance to match up better against the Pistons who have won and covered in the last six in the series between these teams. However the problems Detroit have had Offensively coupled with Orlando perhaps dominating the boards and earning second chance points could make the points being given to the Magic the key to the game.

Handicap Betting Pick: Orlando Magic +4 Points at 1.97 with 188Bet 

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

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NBA Handicap Betting Preview – Friday 28th October By @DavAulak

Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks – Philips Arena at 00:30

It will feel like a new beginning for the Atlanta Hawks and Dwight Howard when they open their new season on Thursday. Howard was the big name signing for the Hawks this off-season, but he has to show that his dip in numbers in the 2015/16 season with the Houston Rockets is not the start of an irretrievable slide towards the end of his career.

Howard is a ‘marmite’ kind of player with many of his former teammates critical of his attitude and most NBA fans have never really forgiven him for the way he worked his way out of Orlando. He now returns to his home town team in a bid to show he is capable of being a leader and taking a team to the NBA Finals like he once did with Orlando.

Atlanta have changed too having moved for Howard when Al Horford decided he would take less money in a better situation with the Boston Celtics. There has been a transitioning from players like Jeff Teague too who have run the point for Atlanta in recent years as he was traded to the Indiana Pacers.

The Hawks still have some talent, but they could be battling with the likes of the Washington Wizards who are looking to get back to the Play Offs after missing out last year. The Wizards might need time with Bradley Beal never far away from an injury and John Wall recovering from his own knee surgeries which means his minutes will be limited at best in the opener.

Scott Brooks has come in as the new Head Coach for Washington who fired Randy Wittman unsurprisingly at the end of last season. The Wizards will hope Brooks can blend Beal and Wall in a way he did for the Oklahoma City Thunder with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, but it might take some time for both of these teams to really find the right formula at both ends of the court.

The four games last season were split two each with all four games ending in comfortable wins for the team taking home the ‘W’. The Hawks were 1-1 against the spread in those games at home and I think this is going to be another tight game between them. I am giving the edge to Atlanta because they look to have a little more steadiness in the line-up with players who have been here and a Head Coach whose system is in place.

I like the Hawks to find their way to a win and a cover in their opening game of the season.

 

Handicap Betting Pick: Atlanta Hawks – 3.5 Points at 1.76 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

 

Handicap Betting

Dwight Howard

 

LA Clippers @ Portland Trail Blazers – Moda Center at 03:30

Last May will have been a big disappointment for the LA Clippers who failed to make an impact in the Western Conference Play Offs as they were hit hard by injuries. They were beaten four straight times by the Portland Trail Blazers in the First Round Play Off series and now the Clippers get a chance to put the record straight in their first game of the 2016/17 season.

It can’t be a surprise that any team that has both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are going to be seen as a contender to win the NBA Championship and that is where the Clippers find themselves going into a new season. They looked to have made significant moves to bring in more veterans and offer more depth after those injuries derailed their last season and the Clippers might be the deepest they have been in the Doc Rivers era.

They do have to deal with a Portland Trail Blazers team that already have their first regular season win under their belts and who will have positive memories of winning four in a row to beat the Clippers in the Play Offs. Damian Lilliard has said he wants to win the MVP award, and began the season with a strong game and the Trail Blazers look good offensively.

There is still work to do on the other side of the court and a team like the Clippers have enough to expose those vulnerabilities. Playing in the Rose Garden has been difficult over the years, the Clippers did lose three times here in the Play Offs, but that was without Paul and Griffin who are both set to go in this one. Before those losses the Clippers had also won three out of four visits to Portland and they covered the spread in those wins.

With revenge on their mind, the LA Clippers can get off to a positive start with a big road performance and I will look for them to cover here.

 

Handicap Betting Pick: LA Clippers – 1.5 Points at 1.85 with Unibet

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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NBA Handicap Betting Preview – Thursday 27th October By @DavAulak

Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics – TD Garden at 00:30

The Brooklyn Nets might be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season as they have changed philosophy over the last couple of seasons. They are going to have a new look this time around and the best Brooklyn fans can hope for is a few big upsets and a decent position in the lottery at the end of the season.

Half of the problems for Brooklyn began when trading away Draft picks to the Boston Celtics who have taken a much more pragmatic approach to roster construction. They might have had the ‘Big Three’ before that became a popular way to describe the Miami Heat with LeBron, Wade and Bosh, but the Celtics have taken the slow rebuild approach which is beginning to pay dividends.

Al Horford has come in to give Boston a little more star power and he does look like a good piece to bring in, while the Celtics have enough assets to perhaps make a big trade in-season. Marcus Smart looks like he will be missing in the season opener and likely for the rest of the week, but Boston have plenty of depth here and look like a genuine contender in the Eastern Conference if Horford and Isaiah Thomas can get on the same page.

They do look significantly better than the Brooklyn Nets who are holding onto Brook Lopez like their lives depend on it. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Lopez is traded at some point this season but first he has to learn a new system as the Nets try to be competitive.

Brooklyn has some nice pieces, but depth is going to be a problem for them and Boston have the kind of Defensive shape that can make life difficult for them. However, I think the Nets might be getting too many points in this one with Boston perhaps looking beyond the home opener to the trip to the Chicago Bulls which comes on Thursday.

Covering double digit spreads has been something of a mixed bag for the Celtics and I can see Brooklyn having a run in the Fourth Quarter that sees them come within this number.

 

Handicap Betting Pick: Brooklyn Nets +13.5 Points at 1.95 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

 

Handicap Betting

Brook Lopez

 

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Philadelphia 76ers – Wells Fargo Centre at 01:00

Kevin Durant has moved on and Russell Westbrook has told the media he is no longer going to talk about it as the Oklahoma City Thunder become his team. Westbrook has taken Durant’s decision pretty personally having felt disrespected in the manner in which he was told of the plans of his former brother in arms.

This could mean trouble for the rest of the NBA as Westbrook is likely to produce a huge season after signing an extended contract with the Thunder to everyone’s surprise. There is still some talent left over in Oklahoma City, but it is clear the loss of Durant might have taken away their chances of winning the NBA Championship at least for this season.

Serge Ibaka is another player who has moved on and the Thunder open their season with some questions about what to expect from them. This still looks like a Play-off team in the Western Conference, but I think most would be absolutely stunned if they were in the Western Conference Finals let alone in a 3-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors like they were in May 2015.

Oklahoma City can erase some of the concerns that this squad is going to collapse in the face of Durant’s exit by winning at the awful Philadelphia 76ers in their opening game of the season. The 76ers might be loaded with top picks, but there doesn’t seem to be a game plan as to how to get this roster moving forward which has also seen some of their players irritated by what they perceive as hoarding in one position and finding no balance.

Nerlens Noel has spoken about having three potential starting Centers on the roster, but two of those won’t be playing in the opener including Noel. The 76ers will also be missing their Number 1 Draft Pick Ben Simmons for a few weeks and I think this team will need time but are more likely to be amongst the leading lottery teams again.

This feels a chance for Westbrook to prove that the Thunder are far from done just because Durant has left the club. The Thunder have a 5-2 record against the spread in their last seven in Philadelphia and I can see Oklahoma City just pulling away in the second half to record a win by double digits.

 

Handicap Betting Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -8.5 Points at 1.85 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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