Handicapping the NBA: Opening Night Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Opening Night Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha: Russell Westbrook over 3.5 turnovers vs. Warriors (-115) – DraftKings Sportsbook, 1:34 PM CT

My God...DraftKings added turnover props, and Westbrook's number is 3.5? With minimal juice? Sign me up. Westbrook has averaged 4.8 turnovers per game over the past five years, and he averaged 8.3 turnovers per 36 minutes in the preseason. Over, over, over.

James Harden daily made threes leader (+1100) – DraftKings, 1:39 PM CT

So this prop is for Harden to outshoot, primarily, Steph Curry (-135), Jordan Poole (+110), Kevin Durant (+1200), Joe Harris (+1300), Khris Middleton (+1400) and LeBron James (+1700). Maybe I'm a sucker for this weird bet format, but 11-to-1 on Harden making the most threes on any given day seems like nice odds, right? Last season, he made 2.8 threes per game, which is nowhere near Curry's insane 5.3 makes per game, but Harden is still going to launch up a ton against a Bucks team that puts size at the rim.

Nick Whalen: Kevin Durant top point scorer in Nets-Bucks (+155) – DraftKings Sportsbook, 11AM CT

Giannis is the favorite here at +145, and while I think he has a big night and kicks off another MVP season, I like Durant to narrowly edge him out in the scoring column. Both players will likely be in the mid-30s, and I'd rather take this bet than lay money on Durant's individual points prop (O 30.5pts, -105).

Brook Lopez over 0.5 three-pointers vs. Nets (-185) – DraftKings Sportsbook, 11AM CT

Admittedly, you're not getting a ton of value here, but Lopez should have a great chance to hit at least one three – and probably more than one – on a night when Milwaukee will be extremely thin up front. Semi Ojeleye, Bobby Portis and Rodney Hood are all out, leaving the Bucks without their backup center (Portis) and their new small-ball option (Ojeleye). Of course, Giannis Antetokounmpo can easily slide up to center, but I think Lopez will still be set for more minutes than usual.

Ken Crites: OVER on LeBron James dishing 6.5 assists (FanDuel, -104) and the UNDER on James scoring 23.5 points (BetMGM -110)

This new Laker team is deep. And something tells me King James wants all his new teammates to feel welcome. His passing skills have always been underrated. James averaged 7.8 assists per game last year and now has many more weapons to pass to. As for his scoring, last season James didn't produce over 22 points until game four. He's more worried about his teammates than himself in these meaningless early games

Joe Bartel: Steph Curry under 5.5 threes vs. Lakers (+100) – DraftKings, 12:34 PM CT

Look, it's the first night of basketball and while everyone is excited for the season to start, the big bad sportsbooks are also aware of the public's excitement. For the first couple of weeks, I plan on targetting a number of points props that just seem off as Vegas continues to adjust its models, but I think Tuesday's strat should be hammering the unders on players Vegas knows will get action. Nothing against Curry's three-point shooting prowess, but for plus money I'm fine taking the gamble he'll start the season off slowly.

Michael Spero: Grayson Allen Over 10.5 points against Brooklyn (-114) – FanDuel Sportsbook 12:45 PM CT

The newly-acquired Buck just got a nice contract extension from his new team and is in a good spot to provide for Milwaukee early on. Donte DiVincenzo remains out with an ankle injury, which should have Allen slated to start in his spot. Allen averaged a career-high 10.6 points per game last year with the Grizzlies and 11.3 points per game in four preseason appearances this season.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Joe Bartel
Joe Bartel is RotoWire's Operations Specialist and football contributor among many other things. When not at the office, he's probably playing a variety of Gen 4 console games or rooting on his beloved Green Bay Packers.
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Ken
An early RotoWire contributor from the 90's, K-Train returns with the grace of Gheorghe Muresan and the wisdom of Joe Gibbs. Tweet @KenCrites or e-mail at ken@rotowire.com. Ken won the FSWA 2014 Humor Article Of The Year award. He's also the 2016 Champion of the prestigious RW NBA Keeper League and the 2019 Champion of the RW NFL Ottonue Keeper League. Ken still owns a RotoNews shirt.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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