Finally the trade rumours, free agency buzz, injury news and preseason play can be pushed to one side as the 2013/14 NBA season tips-off with three matches.
Indiana Pacers (-11.5) to beat Orlando Magic at 10/11
Indiana are a defensive goliath – their opponents were successful on just 42 per cent of their shots last season, which was the lowest mark in the league – and they open against the franchise who had the league’s worst record last time around.
In three Magic matchups last season, Indiana held the pinstriped jerseys to just 39 per cent shooting and 85.3 points per game, and with their three-point weaponry considerably upgraded over the off-season, they should easily cover the handicap.
Chicago Bulls to beat the Miami Heat at 17/10
As a yardstick, preseason numbers and records are extremely brittle, but what Derrick Rose’s 20.7 points per game and the Bulls’ 8-0 record in the warm-ups show is that this is a franchise that is free of the injury problems that blighted their efforts last term.
The Bulls didn’t lose a single regular season game against the Heat the last time 2011 MVP Rose was at full health and the presentation of last season’s Championship rings to LeBron James and co pre-match can only act as inspiration to the visitors to ruin the celebrations.
LA Clippers to beat LA Lakers at 2/9
With Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace on their roster, the Lakers expected to be the best team in the NBA last season. As it transpired they weren’t even the best team in their city as they were swept 4-0 in regular season meetings with the Clippers by an average of 13 points.
Now only Nash, Gasol and Bryant remain on the playing staff, one of the franchise’s worst in recent memory, and the latter’s absence through injury gives the men in gold little chance of kicking the season off in winning ways.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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