NBA Opening Night Odds & Betting Angles: Anthony Davis Should Crush vs. Zubac and Undersized Clippers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Anthony Davis
- The betting odds for the NBA's opening night: The Toronto Raptors are 7-point favorites vs. the New Orleans Pelicans with the over/under at 231 (8 p.m. ET), and in the late game, the Los Angeles Lakers are 3.5-point favorites against the Clippers with the over/under at 224 (10:30 p.m. ET).
It’s here. Let’s not waste any time.
Two angles for Tuesday night’s games based on situational trends and matchups…
THE ANGLE: Banner Night Unders
The total for Pelicans-Raptors is an absurd 231, the highest for a Tuesday night opener in our database going back to 2005. The Raptors are raising the banner, which is sure to be an emotional experience for Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, all the guys who suffered through the LeBronto years.
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
In banner night games with a total of 200 or more, the over has gone just 1-5 since 2005. When the total is more than 215 in such games, the over is just 1-3.
In related news, teams getting their rings are 5-8 against the spread in those openers. Raptors are -7 as of this writing.
The Raptors played at the third-fastest pace in preseason, the Pelicans fifth-fastest. The Pelicans had the No. 1 offensive rating in preseason, but of course, that was before Zion Williamson went down with his meniscus tear.
Without Williamson to bend the defense inside, it’s likely the Pelicans’ lack of shooting that bites them in this matchup. They don’t have hardly any crack shooters beyond JJ Redick.
The Raptors will be taking an emotional breath, the Pelicans will be shorthanded.
Angle: Under 231
THE ANGLE: Lakers vs. Clippers Interior
Everyone seems very fond of Ivica Zubac, the former Laker who became a Clipper. One of the beloved “Laker kids” last year, the Lakers traded Zubac in an attempt to add some shooting at the deadline for a post-All-Star push that never came.
Zubac is big and athletic at 7-foot, he’s the starting center despite Montrezl Harrell’s more prolific numbers. At only 22 years old, he has great upside long-term as a defender and as an at-the-rim finisher.
His defensive metrics were good last year: The Clippers were 5.6 points better per 100 possessions with Zubac on the floor. There have been some worrying numbers in preseason, but hey, it’s preseason.
The bigger issue with tonight’s matchup is Anthony Davis.
In the three meetings in which Davis has played vs. Zubac, he has averaged 35 points on 64% shooting and 14.6 rebounds. Now, in two of those meetings, Zubac played fewer than six minutes, and all three meetings were when he was with the Lakers, who were much worse defensively overall.
But there’s reason to believe Davis will still dominate the matchup enough to twist the game in the Lakers’ favor.
Much of the time, Zubac will be matched vs. JaVale McGee at center, leaving undersized JaMychal Green or Moe Harkless to guard AD. Even if Kawhi Leonard takes a stint on him, that plays into Leonard’s one weakness, defending in the post vs. bigger players. (Though that’s something he’s improved on.)
The Clippers, who are without Paul George as he recovers from shoulder surgery, ranked 19th overall last year in defending the rim on non-post-ups. They face a serious size disadvantage and while their perimeter game is better in terms of shot quality, the Lakers have more to show on that end than they did in preseason.
The Lakers were 1-point dogs as recently as last Friday, before this line got moving in a hurry the past three days. It’s moved five points in two days, with 91% of the money currently on the Lakers. In opening night games in which the line moved at least a point toward a team after the team opened as a dog, those teams went 37-24 (60.7%) against the spread since 2005.
Angle: Lakers Team Total Over 114.5