NBA Picks: Is There Any Opening Day Value in Early Lines?

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 6:13 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 16, 2015 6:13 PM UTC

Believe it or not, NBA season is starting this Tuesday. So let's take a look at some early opening night NBA odds and whether to jump on them now and place some NBA picks or wait.

Breaking Down Openers
The season tips off with three games on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Detroit visits Atlanta, Cleveland is at Chicago, and New Orleans is in Oakland to face the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The latter two games are nationally televised on TNT and will have live betting at Heritage.

The Hawks, who led the Eastern Conference in wins last season with 60 regular-season victories, seven more than No. 2 Cleveland, appear a great candidate to regress. Their flaws were exposed in the playoffs, when the mediocre Brooklyn Nets took them to six games in the first-round of the playoffs. I believe the Washington Wizards would have taken out the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals had John Wall not gotten hurt. Atlanta won that in six. The Hawks were no match for Cleveland in the East Finals in getting swept. Atlanta's two main additions this offseason were Tim Hardaway Jr. (Knicks) and Tiago Splitter (Spurs). But they lost valuable two-way starting forward DeMarre Carroll as  a free agent to the Toronto Raptors.

Detroit finished 32-50 in Coach Stan Van Gundy's first season; he's also in charge of the front office. It was the seventh straight losing season for this once-proud franchise. I don't see how this year's team will be any better unless Van Gundy is that great of a coach. The Pistons lost big man Greg Monroe to free agency, re-signed Reggie Jackson to an absurd $80 million extension and added bit parts such as Aron Baynes, Steve Blake, Ersan Ilyasova and Danny Granger while taking Arizona's Stanley Johnson with their first-round pick. This is a lottery team again. The Hawks were 3-1 on the NBA odds against Detroit last year but lost the last meeting, 105-95 in Motown (well Auburn Hills).

The Cavaliers-Bulls matchup is the marquee one of the night, all due respect to the champion Warriors. Cleveland opened as a 1-point favorite. However, good luck finding that line right now. That's because Cavs All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving might not start his 2015-16 season until January as he recovers from surgery after Irving fractured his kneecap early in the Finals against the Warriors. The Cavaliers don't much care about the regular season so they would rather hold out Irving and make sure he's 100 percent healthy before taking the court. Cleveland kept the band together from last season, and will have an incredibly big luxury tax payment because of it, and added veteran point guard Mo Williams in free agency.

Chicago finished three games behind the Cavs in the Central Division last year. The Bulls beat the stubborn Milwaukee Bucks in six games in the conference quarterfinals and took a 2-1 lead in the East semis against Cleveland. However, LeBron James hit a buzzer-beating winner in Game 4 and the Cavs wouldn't lose again in that series. The Bulls are totally the same team, other than getting rid of head coach Tom Thibodeau and replacing him with Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg. The Bulls lost three of four in the regular season to Cleveland.

And in the Opening Night finale, the Warriors will raise their championship banner and are 10-point favorites against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. Of course New Orleans is now coached by Alvin Gentry, who was the right-hand man to Coach Steve Kerr on last season's Warriors. Golden State won a franchise-record 67 games last year and was 39-2 at home, the second-best record in league history. They did lose two games in the playoffs (one to Grizzlies and one to Cavaliers) at home.

The Pelicans snuck into last season's playoffs as the No. 8 seed on the final night of the season, but that just meant an unfortunate draw against the Warriors. Golden State swept, winning three of the four by double-digits. Both Warriors and Pelicans are essentially the same teams they were in 2014-15. Golden State won the regular-season series 3-1.

NBA Free Picks: So should you bet on these games this early? I don't think so. There are too many possible injuries or suspensions or the like still possible in the next six weeks before the season begins. Thus these lines are likely to be on the move, especially that Cleveland one. Remember, too, that the supposedly powerhouse Cavs were stunned at home in their opener last year by a very bad Knicks team.

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