The NBA season is back tonight for it’s second night, and we go straight in early on this time with a pick in order to try and take advantage of some poor lines early on.
GS Warriors -2.5 to beat SAC Kings @ 1.67 (MarathonBet) – 2.5 points
Golden State Warriors were among the top performing teams last year in the NBA, managing to easily qualify for the playoffs however, lost in the first round in an epic 7 game matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. Since then the team has pretty much stayed the same however with some exciting talents to help with their run and gun and 3 point shooting style. The additions of Jason Kapono, Leandro Barbosa and Justin Holiday as well as Shaun Livingston (who is not available through injury). The Splash Brothers (Curry and Thompson) will be looking forward to starting this game as they had huge success against them going 27/50 from downtown against them in 4 games last season. The Warriors swept all 4 games last year against the Kings and will hope to repeat that success tonight. Importantly David Lee will be missing for them, but that didn’t stop them from winning last year when Bogut was out for games, so it will be exciting see how Harrison Barnes steps up into this role.
The Sacramento Kings showed us that they have 2 quality players who represented USA in the FIBA Basketball championships in Gay and Cousins. Cousins in particular has blossomed quite well and averaged 20 pts and 10 boards during the pre-season while Gay has been sketchy going extremely cold sometimes or else extremely hot. Darren Collison is the new addition for the Kings who will be hoping to make an impact, but with a change in scenery, it will be essential to see how well he adapts as he hasn’t done well in the lead up to this first game. They Kings have a few good bench players such as Sessions, Landry, Evans and Derrick Williams, but none of them are strong scorers of the bench, which could land up as the potential issue for Kings especially if they go behind early against the Warriors.
I’m backing the Warriors on a smaller line especially since they are on their travels and it is the 1st game of the season after all.
HOU Rockets to beat UTA Jazz @ 1.70 (Betfair) – 3 points
Houston come into this game after a successful 18 point win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Most of their big players did well led by James Harden (32 points, 7 assists) while also getting good contributions from Howard (13 points, 11 boards), Jones (16 points, 13 boards) and Trevor Ariza (16 points). None of their starters played more than 31 minutes, which should keep them relatively fresh heading to the second night of a back to back against the Jazz. The Rockets are getting used to not having a good back up for Howards, which could come into challenges when he gets into foul trouble, however Motiejunas and Papanikolaou along with Black chipped into work hard and help on the defensive and and boards when Howard was out.
The Jazz come into the season after landing up last in the Western Conference last season, and looking on positively this season to try and put at least a positive record on the board. Most of the burden for the Jazz will be on Burks and Hayward who are the more dynamic of the players in the squad, but they will need a lot of support from the likes of Favors, Kanter, Burke, Novak, Evans. Looking at that bench does not give you much confidence that the Jazz might make it with a positive record, but the signs of play in the pre-season shows us that there will at least be an improvement on the wins as compared to last year. They have lost some key players like Jefferson and Williams who had the experience of playing for playoff teams, but this young team will still be on a learning curve this season.
Houston won 3 out of the 4 matchups between the 2 teams last year, and the confidence after last nights performance especially on the defensive end, will lead me to side with the Rockets tonight on the Moneyline.
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