Opening Night NBA Picks & Strength of Schedule Analysis

Jordan Sharp

Monday, August 17, 2015 8:23 PM GMT

We are ecstatic to handicap the NBA odds for the 1st night of the 2015-16 schedule & will dabble in the futures market, as well, now that we know all the dates of the 2460 games.

First Month of the Season
There are a couple of really good teams that have very easy or very tough starts to the season, and it starts with the champs, the Golden State Warriors. They begin the season playing five straight times against playoff teams from last season. All five of the games will be on national television, and we get to see a first round rematch twice within the first week of the season between Golden State and New Orleans. On top of that the Warriors matchup against a playoff team in 10 of their first 14 games, and they have a 10-day east coast road trip to start the month of December. The point is they may be very overvalued in some of these spots, so don’t fall for the eventual inflated lines.

A couple of teams have it really easy to start the season. For instance the Miami Heat has 14 of their first 19 games at home. The Heat weren’t particularly good ATS at home last season, but Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade are coming back with their best roster since Lebron James was on the team, and they could be a phenomenal early season investment.

Atlanta is another team that benefits from an easy schedule to start the season. Even though the loss of DeMarre Carrol is going to be tough to overcome, the Hawks still play only eight of their first 18 games against playoff teams from last season. Plus, four of the games are against the Nets and Celtics, two teams who were below .500 last season.

 

Opening Night NBA Odds
Paddy Power and a few other sportsbooks are starting to put out NBA Odds for the opening few nights of the season. There are three games on the official opening evening, and they all have some intriguing value. For instance the Cavaliers are +2 underdogs on the road in Chicago on October 27th, and the Pelicans are +9 underdogs in Golden State. While most public bettors will likely take the points with Cleveland and lay the points with the Warriors, the opposite approach might turn out more favorably.

 

Future Odds Update
Right now there are only two teams in the East with a shot at the Finals, and while they played one another in the second round last season, hopefully the tweaked playoff rules will spare us that. The Hawks were demolished along with the Celtics in the first round, and Chicago was the only team to give the Cavs any sort of fight. Chicago and Cleveland look poised to meet in an epic Eastern Conference Finals.

The West however is like playing the lottery at this point. There are six teams with legitimate title contender status, and it’s become almost impossible to just limit yourself to liking just one. The Spurs, Clippers, Thunder and Rockets all got a lot better this offseason, and the Warriors and Cavaliers have both retained their level of talent. The Bulls might be in the mix depending on health and how the coaching change works out, but along with teams like the Grizzlies and maybe even the Miami Heat, the NBA is in for a very nice season. Outside of a significant injury to one of the Cleveland stars again, I don’t see Lebron missing the Finals for an astonishing sixth straight season, but focusing NBA picks on the West at this point is almost impossible.