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NBA Odds & Picks for Warriors vs. Nets: Bet the Over/Under as Teams Shake Off Rust (Tuesday, Dec. 22)

NBA Odds & Picks for Warriors vs. Nets: Bet the Over/Under as Teams Shake Off Rust (Tuesday, Dec. 22) article feature image

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyrie Irving.

  • The Golden State Warriors will open their season against their former All-Star, Kevin Durant, and the Brooklyn Nets.
  • Both teams have star players who haven't seen the floor for in months - so how will that impact tonight's total?
  • Matt Moore previews tonight's season opening, including his favorite betting pick.

Warriors vs. Nets Odds

Warriors Odds +7.5 [BET NOW]
Nets Odds -7.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +245/-305 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 231 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The NBA is back! And so is overthinking NBA betting!

The season tips off with the Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant facing his former Golden State Warriors team at Barclays Center (7 p.m. ET on TNT) in a highly anticipated return to action for several stars on both sides.

So, how should we be thinking about betting this game? I analyze the matchup and odds below.

Brooklyn Nets

I’m going to say this up front: I hate betting opening night games. Not the first games of the season, just those opening night games. There’s something weird about them. Think about it: One, your priors may be off. So all the things you think you know about a team may just not be on point, like the Warriors last year.

Second, even if your priors are accurate, the first game of the season is always against a quality opponent, with a heightened level of interest and enthusiasm to affect the line. There’s rust, lack of an updated scouting report, the emotion of ring night for many teams, etc. It’s just a noisy atmosphere in a noisy betting market.

However, this is the first game of the NBA season and we’re not going to let this one slide by. Here are three trends I found on Bet Labs as a table-setter, since 2006:

  • Favorites on opening night: 17-24 ATS (41.5%)
  • Home favorites on opening night: 14-18 ATS (47%)
  • The under on opening night: 22-18 (55%)
  • The under on team totals for home favorites on opening night: 44-24 (65%)

So the trends tell us to take the Nets’ under.

In the preseason, the Nets looked great. Kevin Durant looks like Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving looks like Kyrie Irving. DeAndre Jordan looks like, well, DeAndre Jordan (from the past three seasons).

The Nets posted the seventh-best offensive rating in the preseason at 107.4. They were No. 4 in non-garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass.

The Nets have loaded up on perimeter playmakers, with four guys who can create their own shot at any time in Durant, Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. They have floor spacing with Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, Landry Shamet and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

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Golden State Warriors

The Warriors, meanwhile, have Stephen Curry and have been a great offensive team for years. Even without Klay Thompson this season, they have shooters and cutters. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ best defensive player, Draymond Green, is out for the game with a foot strain, per our NBA Insiders tool.

Both teams were top-10 in pace in the preseason. Both teams were also top-five in the percentage of possessions in transition, according to Synergy Sports.

This is a lot of analysis off of the preseason, which is sketchy. But the Nets with Mike D’Antoni as an assistant coach and Steve Nash as “head coach” sure seem like they’re going to push the ball. The Warriors, likewise, always tend to run up-tempo.

James Wiseman is starting for the Warriors tonight…

How @djrtodaizza is betting the news:

— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) December 22, 2020

But both teams will likely be big on getting back defensively to close off those running opportunities. There’s only so much you can do, but with the athletes both teams have on the court, it’s reasonable to expect good defense.

The total is at 231.5, after opening at 222.5 on the initial lines when the schedule was announced. So we have a trend towards the total under and a Nets team total under, and matchup elements towards the over.

Warriors-Nets Pick

I like the under 231.5, ultimately. Here are the possible scenarios:

  • The Warriors’ defense outperforms expectations and makes things tough on what is ultimately a very isolation-driven Nets offense so far, and Green’s absence is made up for by the athleticism of Golden State.
  • The Nets absolutely pound the Warriors, and while they put up 117 and coast, they hold Golden State to sub-106.
  • The opening game is awkward and disjointed as teams shake off the rust and a low-scoring first half gets us there.

If you’re trying to get a feel for how the dynamics of a short preseason under weird circumstances factor in here, the best I’ve got for you is that the under on the season-opening games in 2011, the lockout season, went 3-2.

Other than that, there’s a lot we don’t know.

Pick: Under 231.5 all the way to 225

[Bet now at DraftKings and get the Nets +75 on the spread vs. the Warriors]

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