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VanVleet picks up where he left off in the playoffs, and the NBA bets you need to make Tuesday

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Opening day of the 2019-20 NBA season is here with the defending champion Toronto Raptors hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The late matchup pairs the top two choices to win it all, according to the NBA betting odds, with the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers. 

If you’re betting on the NBA openers, we have the best bets and prop predictions for Tuesday’s two games.

BIG CHANGES IN THE BIG EASY

The Pelicans sport one of the most overhauled rosters in the NBA after trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and draft picks. New Orleans then selected Zion Williamson first overall in the draft, but unfortunately, his debut will have to wait as he is expected to miss the first couple of weeks with a knee injury. Some more big pickups include Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick.

Although Redick is playing for a new squad this year, while with Philadelphia he had success versus the Raptors in the playoffs, shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc, and scored 15 or more points in four of those seven postseason games. With an increased role on the Pelicans and some good shooting numbers, back Over his points total of 16.5 on PointsBet.

NO HANGOVER HERE

The Raptors kick their season off playing a double-header with the first game at home to the Pelicans. The 2018-2019 season saw the Raptors set franchise records in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, and 3-point shots made. A regression is expected with Toronto losing both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green but still finds itself a 7-point favorite in the season opener.

With the Championship banner being hoisted, rings handed out, and the Raptors looking to start the schedule strong, look for them to take care of business and cover at home as 7-point favorites.

RIGHT SAID FRED

With Toronto PG Kyle Lowry undergoing surgery on his finger in the offseason, don’t be surprised to see big numbers out of Fred VanVleet in the first few games of the schedule.

Last season, VanVleet averaged 27.5 minutes with 11 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Although this is a revamped Pelicans roster with many new faces, New Orleans struggled to defend opposing point guards last year, allowing 23.3 points per game and the league’s highest assists per game average at 9.1 to that position. If he carries over his postseason play, VanVleet will be a major player and offensive contributor for the defending champs. Take Over his assists total of 4.5.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

The Lakers start their second season with LeBron James at the helm but has more support behind him with guys like Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green. The Clippers were also busy in the offseason, adding MVP talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

George will not be playing in the opening game (out until November while recovering from shoulder surgery), which plays a major role in shaping this spread, which sees the Purple and Gold as short “home” favorites in the war for the Staples Center.

LeBron and the Lakers have a lot to prove after a terrible finish to 2018-19 and we like them to cover as 2.5-points favorites Tuesday.

DOWN TO DEFENSE

With both Leonard and Patrick Beverly on the floor, the Clippers will be a difficult team to score on. With George out of action and this L.A. offense not firing on all cylinders, the Clippers certainly have the defense to keep things close.

The Lakers have plenty of scoring options but miss out on the services of Kyle Kuzma (18.7 ppg in 2018-19), who will be sitting out in the opening game with a foot injury. While it’s Game 1 of an 82-game season, this Los Angeles rivalry could have playoff intensity right out of the gate. We like a lower-scoring game and the Under 225.5 points Tuesday night. 

Lakers vs Clippers NBA betting picks and predictions: Davis will dominate down low on opening night

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The 2019-2020 NBA season starts off with a bang tonight as two revamped teams with some of the best players in the world take to the court in Los Angeles as the Lakers face the Clippers. 

Expectations are sky-high for both teams after the Lakers added Anthony Davis as a running mate for Lebron James, while the Clippers are led by last year’s NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard. These rivals will be highly motivated to begin the season with a win and stake an early claim as the best team in the league.

We break down the odds for the Battle of L.A. and give you five of our best bets and predictions.

QUICK HITTER

The biggest move the Lakers made in the offseason was obviously the addition of Anthony Davis. But he’s not the only new face with Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley all in line to receive significant minutes in their rotation.

The Clippers have also gone through a makeover adding Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Maurice Harkless. While George won’t play until at least mid-November after undergoing shoulder surgery, the other two should log major minutes.

Playing together in practice and the preseason is no substitute for the actual defensive intensity of an NBA game. So expect both offenses to take some time to gell and back the Under on the 1Q total.

PICK: First Quarter Under 58 (-115)

FIRST HALF BET

The first quarter might see from offensive jitters from both teams but they should begin to settle down after 12 minutes. Lebron James, in particular, should have little problem facilitating the offense while the underrated additions of Green and Cook should improve their three-point efficiency which was among the worst in the league last year.

On defense, they match up well with the Clippers with Lebron able to switch onto Leonard while Bradley can give Lou Williams fits. Rajon Rondo is listed as questionable with a calf injury but if he’s good to go that will be yet another Lakers defender that can pressure opposing ball-handlers.

The Lakers also have a height advantage which should help them win the battle on the boards and get more second chances. Bet on the Lakers to cover the short first-half spread.

PICK: First Half Lakers -1.5 (-120)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Davis looks like a great fit in the Lakers offense next to Lebron. The Brow can run the pick and roll, attack down low and hit jumpers when he needs to. He gets to face a Clippers team that was among the worst at defending inside last season, giving up 50.7 points per game in the paint. Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green will have a major mismatch on their hands against the Lakers star.

Last year Davis combined for 41.8 points, rebounds and assists per game but that includes a stretch towards the end of the season where New Orleans severely limited his minutes. Before the All-Star break, he combined for 45.2 points, rebounds, and assists per contest. Take the Over on his PRA total tonight.

PICK: Anthony Davis – Points, Rebounds and Assists Over 41.5 (-115)

 

FULL GAME TOTAL

The O/U for this game opened at 227 on Saturday and has already dropped to 224 and for good reason. The Clippers should be terrific at defending on the perimeter with Patrick Beverly and Leonard while the Lakers will miss Kyle Kuzma’s production on the offensive end of the floor. Kuzma averaged 18.7 ppg last season but the forward is still recovering from a foot injury.

The Lakers should be much improved at defending the rim with Davis and Howard, which will force Leonard and Lou Williams to carry the offensive load.

The Lakers added plenty of experience and size in the offseason. That might be a formula for winning but also means that they added older players and guys that prefer to set up in the half-court rather than running the floor all game. Expect them to play at a slower pace than last season and take the Under 224.

PICK: Under 224 (-110)

FULL GAME SIDE

As we enter this new era of “Super-Duos” in the NBA the Clippers could find themselves at a disadvantage without one half of their duo. Leonard will do his part on both ends of the floor but the Clippers will need a heroic display from Lou Williams and improved defensive play from their big men if they want to hang with the Lakeshow.

The Clips won’t have an answer for AD and Lebron will come out as healthy and as motivated as he’s been in years. As the season goes on, expect Lakers coach Frank Vogel to start resting his superstars, but he has said that there won’t be any minutes restrictions for Lebron or Davis at the start of the year. Count on the Lakers viewing this as a statement game and back them to pull off the win while covering.

PICK: Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-105)

NFL Week 8 opening odds and early moves: With Chiefs minus Mahomes, Packers are road faves

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Week 8 of the NFL season is on deck, featuring an NFC-AFC clash that’s missing one of the league’s biggest stars. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action for that contest and three others, with insights from John Murray, director of The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (+3)

Under the Sunday night lights, Kansas City won’t have prime-time quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who suffered a dislocated knee in the second quarter at Denver in Week 7. The Chiefs (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) still went on to win easily 30-6 as 3-point favorites behind backup Matt Moore, but will most certainly face a stiffer challenge minus Mahomes this week.

Green Bay stubbed its toe at home in the Week 4 Thursday nighter, but has otherwise been spotless this season. The Packers (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) rolled over Oakland 42-24 as 5.5-point favorites in Week 7.

The opening number was a healthy distance away from last week’s look-ahead line for this contest.

“The look-ahead number was Chiefs -4 before the Mahomes injury,” Murray told Covers on Sunday night. “We reopened with Green Bay a 3-point fave. Keep an eye on the other players Kansas City has been missing the last few weeks. They have a number of other key veterans that should be back soon.”

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)

New Orleans was without Drew Brees the past five weeks, yet went 5-0 SU and ATS in that stretch to stand atop the NFC South. The Saints (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) went off as 4-point underdogs at Chicago in Week 7 and emerged with a 36-25 victory.

Arizona is coming along much better than expected under rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie QB Kyler Murray. The Cardinals (3-3-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) nabbed a 27-21 road win over the New York Giants catching 3.5 points to win and cash for the third straight week.

There’s a chance Brees returns this week from a thumb injury, but Murray thinks that might be more talk than anything else.

“We opened this game Saints -7.5 and are up to -8.5,” Murray said. “I don’t see the Saints pressing Brees into action here. They have been winning without him and have a bye next week.”

Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-6)

San Francisco is one of just two remaining undefeated outfits, joining New England in that respect. The 49ers (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) battled through the rain at Washington in Week 7, slogging out a 9-0 victory as 10-point faves.

Carolina ripped off four consecutive SU and ATS wins without Cam Newton, who’s been out with a foot injury. The Panthers (4-2 SU and ATS), coming off their bye week, rode backup Kyle Allen to a 37-26 Week 6 win laying 2 points at Tampa Bay.

“The 49ers are 6-0 SU, but they’re going to need more from their offense to keep winning deep into the season,” Murray said. “The Panthers are coming into this game off their bye week. It could be a tricky spot for San Francisco.”

Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)

One team is putting itself in playoff position, the other is sub-.500, but it’s a bit of a surprise as to who’s who.

Buffalo is out to a 5-1 SU start (4-2 ATS), with the only loss a more-than-respectable setback to New England. The Bills struggled through three quarters against winless Miami, but scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to win 31-21 giving a hefty 17 points at home.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia dropped two in a row and four of its last six to fall to 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS. The Eagles went to Dallas as 3-point underdogs and got run 37-10 in the Week 7 Sunday nighter.

“It’s off the board now, but we opened Bills -1.5,” Murray said, noting this game was taken down ahead of Philly’s Sunday night loss, but it will go back up Monday morning. “The Eagles are on the third of three straight tough road games, after playing at Minnesota and at Dallas the last two weeks. The Eagles need to get healthy quickly, or they will fall out of the NFC playoff picture.”

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.