The NBA is back and on Saturday’s slate, we see two golden opportunities for underdog money line winners. Let’s evaluate these matchups and cash those tickets!
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Saturday, August 1, 2020 – 3:30 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida
The Jazz reopened the NBA season with a 106-104 win over the Pelicans on Thursday night and not only covered as 2 ½ point underdogs but cashed as a +115-money line winner. If you were tailing SBR’s resident hoops freak, Jordan Sharp, you would have read his breakdown on this game and plunked your money down on Utah to prevail. Another nice winner for our man JS.
Okay so the Jazz made a triumphant return but that was then and this is now. Saturday they will face an Oklahoma City team that will be dipping its toes into the NBA action for the first time since March 8th when they defeated the Celtics, 105-104, to bring their winning streak to three.
Ironically, these teams met to begin the season way back in October when Utah claimed a 100-95 win at home over the Thunder. Oklahoma City returned the favor on December 9th when they returned to Utah and laid down a 104-90 beating on the Jazz.
So, what’s it going to be this time around? Well, I like the fact that the Jazz have already gotten their feet wet and did so in winning fashion just two nights ago. Moreover, Utah has now covered on seven straight occasions as the underdog. These offenses are, statistically speaking, virtually identical with the Jazz scoring 111 points per game while the Thunder checks in at 110.8 points per game. The same can be said defensively as the Jazz are just half a click better than the Thunder, surrendering 107.8 PPG versus 108.3 for OKC. The NBA odds over at 5Dimes are giving us the most bang for our money line buck on the slight underdogs from Utah. Let’s eschew the 1 ½ points, and get the vig, instead of laying it!
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors
Saturday, August 1, 2020 - 8:30 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida
What a nice way to wrap today’s short NBA slate, a game between the defending world champion Raptors and LeBron’s New Age Showtime edition of the Lakers. The Lakers returned to edge their crosstown rivals, the Clippers, by the score of 103-101 and will take on the champs on Saturday night.
These clubs met on November 10th in LA when the Raptors claimed a 113-104 victory but defeating the Lakers is nothing new for Toronto. The Raptors have emerged victorious in the last 10 meetings and covered the number in nine of those 10 matchups. Talk about total domination, the Raptors most certainly have LA’s number and should prevail once again tonight.
Let’s also consider that the Lakers could be coming into this one with a bit of a hangover after defeating their chief rival in the West on Thursday night. We routinely see this scenario in football when a team is coming off of a huge win only to give a lackluster performance the following week. The Lakers are also without Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley which gives another checkmark across the ledger to the Raptors.
Both teams dominate defensively, as the Raptors and Lakers are ranked No.1 and No.2, allowing 106.5 and 106.8 points per game, respectively. But the Raptors are a team that focuses on shutting down their opponents’ offense first and foremost, which can be disruptive to a team like the Lakers that has two of the biggest stars in the game, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who normally score at will.
I am not going to try and buck history here, the trends are too squarely in Toronto’s favor, and considering we are getting a healthy +155 return over at 5Dimes (visit our 5Dimes Review) on the Raps to win outright, I say count me in and include Toronto in your NBA picks on Saturday night!