Gambling Breakdown for Tuesday, Wednesday
Gambling Breakdown for Tuesday, Wednesday

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

The NBA season is here. While most people recognize FanDuel and DraftKings as DFS companies, the pair also offer traditional sports betting options, assuming you're in a state that allows such a thing. Throughout the season, the RotoWire team will be breaking down lines and showing you where you can get an advantage over the casual bettor. These lines can be found on CoverWire.com

Lines and injury reports accurate as of 10:00 AM Central Time on Tuesday

Pelicans at Raptors (-7.0) – DraftKings

Pick: Pelicans (+7.0)

Confidence Level: 2/10

Injuries

Pelicans: Zion Williamson (OUT); Darius Miller (OUT)

Raptors: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (OUT); Patrick McCaw (OUT)

Before the Zion injury, I liked Pelicans +5.5, which I would have given a confidence level around five or six. Now, I have no idea what to make of this game. Zion seems real, but how many points is he worth? It has to be more than one, but I also think the Pelicans are underrated, while the Raptors are getting the benefit of the doubt because they're coming off a title and playing at home for the Ring Ceremony Game. Bettors were overconfident in the Raptors last season, as Toronto finished with an 18-23 record at home against the spread despite a 32-9 home record overall.

Jrue Holiday is the best player in this game, and the Pelicans' depth remains nice even without Zion. They suddenly turn into a three-point threat with JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli set to see extra minutes. But the Raptors' core is established. They're less likely to break under pressure.

If I had to bet this game, I'd wait until the last minute to see how many points the Pelicans end up getting. I wouldn't be surprised if this line moves to Pelicans (+7.5 or +8.0). I think this also presents a good live betting opportunity. The Raptors' home court advantage could fuel them to a quick 12-3 run, opening up an opportunity to get some extra points for the Pelicans, who have a deep enough roster to chip away slowly at a lead.

Lakers (-3.5) at Clippers – FanDuel/DraftKings

Pick: Lakers (-3.5)

Confidence Level: 6/10

Injuries

Lakers: Kyle Kuzma (OUT); Rajon Rondo (GTD); Rajon Rondo (GTD); Talen Horton-Tucker (OUT); DeMarcus Cousins (OUT)

Clippers: Paul George (OUT); Rodney McGruder (OUT); Amir Coffey (OUT)

Somehow, I think the LeBron James plus Anthony Davis combo is underrated, which is odd because the Lakers have been consistently overrated lately. They finished with a tragic 35-46-1 record ATS last season. Maybe there's some overcorrection going on? Conversely, the Clippers were one of the best teams ATS last season (45-36-1). That, along with the offseason hype, might be inflating their line despite not having Paul George, which matters – a lot. The Clippers are still a good team without Paul George, but now their second-best player is Lou Williams. The rest of the rotation doesn't inspire a ton of confidence sans George.

The Clippers' weak point on defense is their rim protection, and they're going up against two of the most deadly rim-attackers in the league in LeBron and Davis. Ivica Zubac might foul out during pre-game warmups. Meanwhile, Davis might end up guarding Leonard on the other end, which could stall the Clippers' offense. Danny Green, Avery Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – quality backcourt defenders – will also be chasing around Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet, two strong sources of threes.

I think the under on 226.5 has some value as well given the amount of strong defenders between both teams, though taking unders early in the season while everyone is fresh and without great scouting reports is sketchy.

Bulls (-2.5) at Hornets – FanDuel/DraftKings

Pick: Bulls (-2.5)

Confidence Level: 9/10

Injuries

Bulls: Shaquille Harrison (GTD); Chandler Hutchison (GTD)

Hornets: Marvin Williams (GTD); Nicolas Batum (GTD); Terry Rozier (GTD); Kobi Simmons (GTD); Cody Martin (GTD)

This is my favorite opening line. The Bulls are only expected to win nine more games than the Hornets this season, but the Bulls' 32.5 wins have gotten action on the over (-120), while the Hornets 23.5 wins have gotten action on the under (-120). The line just doesn't account for how historically bad Charlotte might be and how competent Chicago might be. FOX Sports should just black out the Hornets' entire season out of respect for its viewers and display a "See You Next Year!" graphic.

Home court advantage really shouldn't matter here – the Hornets had the eighth-lowest attendance last season despite it being pretty obvious it would be fans' last chance to see Kemba walker in their uniform. Chicago was also underrated on the road last year, posting a 21-18-2 record ATS despite a 13-28 road record overall. People probably still think the Bulls are bad, but they're healthy and have two up-and-coming potential All-Stars in Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, not to mention solid starters like Otto Porter and Tomas Satoransky. Thad Young coming off the bench is a nice touch.

Timberwolves at Nets (-5.5) – DraftKings

Pick: Timberwolves (+5.5)

Confidence Level: 2/10

Injuries:

Timberwolves: Treveon Graham (GTD)

Nets: Wilson Chandler (OUT); Kevin Durant (OUT)

This game will probably fly under the radar despite having two All-Star caliber players in it – Kyrie Irving and Karl-Anthony Towns – who are surrounded by less-than-ideal supporting casts. It has the vibe of a mid-2000s matchup, where the two stars combine for 75 points and everyone else is just kind of there trying not to mess things up.

I don't have much of a feel for either of these teams, but I do think the Wolves will be better on defense than people expect. Towns catches so much flack for being a subpar defender that I think it drags the perception of Minnesota's defense down as a whole. Robert Covington is elite on that side of the ball, Josh Okogie had impressive moments last season, and Jarrett Culver has some potential. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Okogie shadow Kyrie for significant portions of this game.

Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan could cause problems for Towns, but that really wasn't the case last year. In a combined 51 possessions against that duo, Towns scored 16 points on 13 shots. Ultimately, I think this matchup might be closer to a toss-up than people think, so I'll take the points. The better wager might be on the under.

Grizzlies at Heat (-7.5) – FanDuel/DraftKings

Pick: Heat (-7.5)

Confidence Level: 7/10

Injuries

Grizzlies: De'Anthony Melton (OUT); Andre Iguodala (GTD)

Heat: Dion Waiters (OUT); Derrick Jones (GTD); James Johnson (GTD); KZ Okpala (GTD); Udonis Haslem (GTD)

This is a strange line. The Heat could sneak into the third seed in the East if everything breaks right, while the Grizzlies are a candidate for the worst record in the NBA. If this game was the Grizzlies' starters against the Heat's bench, it might be close to a pick'em. As an aside, we are probably going to see Grayson Allen against Tyler Herro, which is a 1-on-1 matchup that deserves a 30-minute block during All-Star weekend programming.

I just don't think it's safe to trust Ja Morant when he might get checked by a combination of Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow in his NBA debut. I'd be tempted to take Morant scoring less than 10 points in this game if the odds were good (maybe something like +450). The Grizzlies do have the size advantage, which is something that could save them. If they feed the ball to their bigs and reduce possessions, they could cover. Maybe Jaren Jackson and Jonas Valanciunas is a duo that works really well.

But, pop quiz: Who is the Grizzlies' coach?

It's Taylor Jenkins (long-time Mike Budenholzer assistant). Genuinely impressive if you knew that. Ultimately, it's a rookie coach and a rookie point guard on the road against Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler in the season opener? I would have laid 10 points.

Cavaliers at Magic (-8.0) – DraftKings

Pick: Magic (-8.0)

Confidence Level: 7/10

Injuries

Cavaliers: John Henson (GTD), Matthew Dellavedova (GTD); Dylan Windler (OUT); Ante Zizic (OUT)

Magic: Chuma Okeke (OUT)

I'm willing to concede that the Cavaliers might be "sneaky below-average when completely healthy." Still, I need double-digit points here to consider betting on them to cover. The Magic don't inspire a ton of confidence, but their strength is their defense, and they can probably lock down Kevin Love and Collin Sexton.

Adding to the Magic's case, oddsmakers generally underrated the Magic last season, while – and God only knows how – overrated the Cavaliers. Orlando was 44-36-2  ATS while Cleveland was 38-43-1 ATS. Neither of these teams changed enough in the offseason for me to think that doesn't apply again.

I wish I had more to say about this game. It's really boring. The Magic are a lot better. I'm pretty confident they'll cover.

Celtics at 76ers (-5.0) – DraftKings

Pick: 76ers (-5.0)

Confidence Level: 6/10

Injuries

Celtics: Gordon Hayward (GTD); Robert Williams (GTD); Romeo Langford (GTD); Tacko Fall (GTD)

76ers: Ben Simmons (GTD); Raul Neto (GTD)

The Celtics don't have talented enough bigs to bang with the 76ers. Joel Embiid and Al Horford will be going up against Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, Robert Williams and whatever unfortunate power forward gets told to guard them. Even if that gets figured out, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons are still on the court. This game should perfectly encapsulate what the Sixers can do to teams content with running small-ball. They'll bully people all year. Matisse Thybulle might be an impact player in this game, helping guard some of Boston's smaller, quicker players.

I'm sure the Celtics will get plenty of action at +6, but there are a myriad of factors working against them. It's a new point guard in Kemba Walker, a sketchy center situation, and it's on the road against a legitimate title contender – not to mention going up against possibly the best defense in the league.

Wizards at Mavericks (-8.0) – DraftKings

Pick: Mavericks (-8.0)

Confidence Level: 7/10

Injuries

Wizards: CJ Miles (GTD); Isaiah Thomas (GTD); Mo Wagner (GTD); Troy Brown (OUT); Ian Mahinmi (OUT); John Wall (OUT)

Mavericks: Seth Curry (GTD); Dwight Powell (GTD); Dorian Finney-Smith (GTD); Ryan Broekhoff (GTD)

I feel so bad for Bradley Beal. Although maybe he'll have fun gunning for 30 points every night. Who is the Wizards' third-best player? Ish Smith? Rui Hachimura? Hachimura might have to guard Kristaps Porzingis, and I'm not sure Beal will be giving a ton of two-way effort if he's assigned to guarding Luka Doncic.

The Mavericks were one of the best teams at home ATS last season, with a mark of 24-17. Meanwhile, the Wizards were on the opposite end of the spectrum. Their record on the road ATS was a ghastly 15-26. The perception of these teams from last season seems to be carrying over, despite major roster changes and a canyon-sized gap in talent.

Maybe we'll be introduced to Beal's spread-busting potential in this game, but I'm not ready to give the Wizards the benefit of the doubt on that front yet. Look for Dallas to cruise to a nice victory at home.

Knicks at Spurs (-9.5) – FanDuel/DraftKings

Pick: Spurs (-9.5)

Confidence Level: 6/10

Injuries

Knicks: Taj Gibson (GTD); Reggie Bullock (OUT)

Spurs: None

What's stopping me from having more confidence in this game is the near double-digit spread. Anytime a spread is around 10 points, there's a lot Bad Beat potential. This game feels better as something to include in a moneyline parlay with a bunch of favorites.

You can probably guess that the Spurs were excellent ATS a home last season, posting a 24-17 record. And there are plenty of numbers that support them beating up on bad teams for the past, you know, 20 years. The Knicks will probably be bad. It's one of the strangest collections of players I've seen in a while. But, if nothing else, they have talent that gets hot and cold. If everyone on New York is clicking, they could pull off some unexpected covers.

I wouldn't be interested in betting on this game, despite having solid confidence in the Spurs. It's a big spread with a complete wild card of a team on the first day of the season. I'd rather wait until we really find out who the Knicks are before assuming they'll lose every game by 10.

Thunder at Jazz (-9.5) – DraftKings

Pick: Thunder (+9.5)

Confidence Level: 4/10

Injuries

Thunder: Andre Roberson (GTD)

Jazz: Dante Exum (GTD)

I think this is the first trap line of the season. Everyone is in a huge hurry to get some Jazz stock and ready to pretend the Thunder don't exist anymore. Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari aren't hurt yet. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Steven Adams are good. This team could win 35 games if things break right. You can get OKC at +500 in some places to win this game, which I think is excellent value.

Obviously the Jazz will be really good. They've both modernized and upgraded their talent significantly, which is rare. They're a nice dark horse pick to make it to the Western Conference Finals, or further. Both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell could take a step forward.

But do I feel confident they'll win by 10? Not especially. A line of -9.5 is asking "will this be closer to a blowout, or a competitive game," and I don't think OKC will be getting blown out much when healthy.

Kings (-1.5) at Suns – DraftKings

Pick: Kings (-1.5)

Confidence Level: 3/10

Injuries

Kings: De'Aaron Fox (GTD); Harry Giles (GTD); Tyler Lydon (GTD)

Suns: Dario Saric (GTD); Tyler Johnson (GTD); Devin Booker (GTD)

I'm surprised this line isn't more in favor of the Kings, who were in the playoff hunt for most of last season and shored up their depth over the summer. The Suns got better too, but they're a harder team to trust, even at home. Both teams have new coaches to start the year.

More than anything, I think there won't be a lot of defense played in this game. Both teams will want to get out and run, and there just aren't a lot of plus defenders on either side. The better bet here might be to take the over, wherever it lands.

Ultimately, Sacramento's depth might help them pull this one out. It's just hard to have a ton of confidence in either side to start the year.

Nuggets at Trail Blazers (-1.5) – FanDuel/DraftKings

Pick: Nuggets (+1.5)

Confidence Level: 7/10

Injuries

Nuggets: Vlatko Cancar (GTD); Bol Bol (OUT)

Trail Blazers: Nassir Little (GTD); Pau Gasol (OUT); Jusuf Nurkic (OUT)

Denver is a legitimate threat to win the West, while the range of opinions on Portland's roster is huge. Anything between 41 and 50 wins seems like it could be on the table. The Nuggets' continuity and depth advantage to start the season is meaningful, while the Trail Blazers will be leaning on new, shaky guys like Mario Hezonja and Hassan Whiteside to make consistent night-to-night contributions.

It's worth noting that the Nuggets were really poor ATS on the road last season, going 17-24, while the Blazers were an excellent 24-16-1 ATS at home. But if you think this line should be flipped, like I do, than it shouldn't bother you much.

Denver has the resources to check Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, while I don't have faith in anyone on Portland as a defender. Whiteside and Zach Collins might be good, but the former is prone to laziness and the latter is prone to foul-ness. Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap should easily win that matchup. Lillard and McCollum aren't guarding anyone. The Nuggets' depth, talent and matchup advantages should win out here, and it's really surprising to see them as an underdog in this scenario.

Pistons at Pacers (-5.5) – DraftKings

Pick: Pacers (-5.5)

Confidence Level: 2/10

Injuries

Pistons: Blake Griffin (GTD); Luke Kennard (GTD)

Pacers: Victor Oladipo (OUT)

An absolutely show-stopping central division matchup that could have a combined score of 190 and it wouldn't be shocking. It's got an old-school feel with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond going up against Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.

I'm interested to see what the new-look Pacers can do sans Victor Oladipo. Malcolm Brogdon is getting his first real test as a point guard, while Jeremy Lamb and TJ Warren have escaped the incompetencies of their prior teams. They should be switchy on defense, and anyone in the starting lineup could go for 20 points on any given night. We know who the Pistons are, and the continuity could play to their advantage here. Derrick Rose and Markieff Morris were solid depth additions, and Luke Kennard might be able to take a step forward.

Any outcome of this game within 10 points wouldn't surprise me, but I'll lean toward the Pacers. I think they're the better team, and home-court advantage matters.

The Hail Mary, Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes, Underdog Parlay – FanDuel

Timberwolves (+178) vs. Nets

Thunder (+350) vs. Jazz

Nuggets (+106) vs Trail Blazers

Pays out +2477

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
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