Today is my Christmas before Christmas.
The NBA is BACK, and we have two banger matchups to start the season on Tuesday night. So, fire up Inside the NBA on TNT, sit back and enjoy the action – and place a few bets with yours truly along the way!
Nikola Jokic and the defending champion Denver Nuggets take on the Los Angeles Lakers – who they swept in the Western Conference Finals last season – at 7:30 p.m. EST to kick off the season.
Denver is favored in that matchup, and bettors may want to beware that Los Angeles hasn’t won a season opener since… 2016!
In the second matchup of the night, the new-look Phoenix Suns take on the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, who now has Chris Paul on the roster to help him chase a fifth NBA title.
Kevin Durant will be back in the Bay Area, but we wont' get a chance to see how the KD-Devin Booker-Bradley Beal offense looks under new head coach Frank Vogel since Beal is unlikely to play.
It’s hard to ask for two better matchups, and I’m excited to build on what was a great NBA season from a betting perspective in the 2022-23 campaign. We capped it off with a Denver Nuggets future at +1800 to win the title, moving our record over the last two seasons to nearly +40 units!
If you’re looking for more NBA futures, I shared 15 (!!) futures that I’m betting on in the 2023-24 season in the first edition of “Peter’s Points.”
Let’s have another huge season, starting with three plays for opening night.
NBA Best Bets Record to Date
- Last two season’s record: 625-557-9 (+39.9438 units)
- 2023-24 season record: 0-0 (+0.00 units)
NBA Best Bets Today
- Kevin Durant OVER 25.5 Points (-120)
- Austin Reaves OVER 23.5 Points, Rebounds and Assists (-105)
- Andrew Wiggins OVER 5.5 Rebounds (+115)
- Andrew Wiggins 10+ Rebounds (+1700) – 0.2 units
If you’re looking to tail any of these bets, FanDuel Sportsbook has an amazing promotional offer. New users that sign up with the link below and wager $5 will receive $200 in bonus bets and three months free of NBA League Pass!
Kevin Durant OVER 25.5 Points (-120)
There are plenty of questions surrounding this Suns offense, as the team is likely going to play most of its minutes without a true point guard on the floor, but that opens up a lot of chances for Durant to have the ball in his hands as a scorer – and a playmaker.
Last season, Durant averaged 29.1 points per game and he cleared this in eight of 11 playoff games and four of his eight regular season games (despite injury) with the Suns.
I expect this to be a high-scoring game, as the Warriors won’t have defensive anchor Draymond Green in the lineup due to an ankle injury. Golden State’s defensive rating went from 114.8 with Green to 118.4 without him last season.
Plus, the Warriors played at the No. 1 pace in the NBA. I can’t guarantee that they’ll do that again, but this is still a great matchup for Durant, who certainly would love to stick it to Warriors fans on opening night.
I think he gets at least 26 points in this matchup -- especially if Beal sits.
Austin Reaves OVER 23.5 Points, Rebounds and Assists (-105)
Austin Reaves received a four-year extension this offseason, and with it should come a bigger role for the Lakers from the onset of the 2023-24 season.
In the playoffs last season, Reaves showed that he can stuff the stat sheet – and score efficiently – for this Lakers team. The former undrafted free agent averaged 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in 16 games while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from 3-point range.
Those numbers put him well clear of 23.5 points, rebounds and assists, and he went past that number in nine of his 16 playoff games, including three of the four against Denver.
Even during the regular season in a smaller role, Reaves averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Once he was moved into the starting lineup, those numbers jumped to 18.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game over the Lakers’ last 10 regular season games.
Bet the OVER on Reaves tonight in Denver.
Andrew Wiggins OVER 5.5 Rebounds (+115)
Andrew Wiggins may have to play some more power forward on Tuesday night with Green out, and that’s a good sign for him hitting some higher rebound numbers.
Wiggins averaged 5.0 rebounds per game last season, but he grabbed 10 boards in the only game that he played without Green last season. Not only that, but Wiggins pushed those rebound numbers to 5.6 per game in the playoffs in the 2022-23 campaign.
Andrew Wiggins 10+ Rebounds (+1700) – 0.2 units
I have an alternate line that I like for Wiggins as well – 10+ rebounds at +1700 odds – that is available at DraftKings Sportsbook. He may not hit it, which is why I risked 0.2 units, but it’s worth a shot since Golden State doesn’t have much size or depth down low.
If the Warriors play at a fast pace, there should be a ton of possessions on both sides. For what it’s worth, Wiggins had four games with double-digit boards last season.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.