The 2019-20 NBA season opens on Tuesday night and we have the first big slate on Wednesday with 10 games on the docket.
On every big slate this season, PlayPicks is providing our top bets against the spread and against point totals for all the NBA games.
Injuries can always play a factor into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in the NBA. Keep an eye on the status of star players with any sort of nagging injury or “load management” concerns as well.
In this column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NBA slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup.
Keep in mind that lines can often shift when players are announced out due to rest or injury.
NBA October 23 Best Bets
Chicago Bulls (-2.5) at Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are the consensus worst team in the NBA this season, and frankly, it isn’t even close. Terry Rozier — a career 38% shooter from the field — is expected to post the highest usage rate of his career by far. Kemba Walker, he is not. Rozier’s only help may come from developing wings Malik Monk and Miles Bridges, with Nic Batum coming off the bench. This is a very uninspiring situation that is doubtful to draw much support from the fan base, even on opening night.
Charlotte’s defense deteriorated after the All-Star Break last year, coughing up 113.1 PPG despite the team’s slow pace. Chicago’s defense also deteriorated (and struggled to contain Walker) but still ranked fourth in defense vs PGs.
The Bulls dealt with a laundry list of injuries last year, but enter the season with Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter healthy. They’ll also have a steady PG presence with Tomas Satoransky and a clear advantage on the wing with Otto Porter and Thaddeus Young ready to start fresh. This is our most confident bet on the opening slate.
Boston Celtics (+5) at Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers are being largely overrated for their offseason moves, which saw them lose two incredibly key pieces in Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick. While Joel Embiid has given the Celtics fits in recent seasons, Boston is well positioned to guard the Sixers wings and continue to rent head space in the head of limited PG Ben Simmons. The Sixers also have basically no threats off the bench and the Celtics are still a deep team.
Brad Stevens and Kemba Walker should keep the Celtics far more consistent this year and able to at least cover this spread with a close finish on opening night. Philly was only 22-21 ATS when listed as home favorites last year and Boston is 36-28-2 ATS as road underdogs since 2016. The Celtics have won 7 of their last 9 meetings with Philly and covered in all but one of those games.
NBA October 23 Picks Against The Spread
Portland Blazers (-1.5) vs Denver Nuggets
The public is betting Denver enough to move this line down from -3, giving the Blazers more value. Portland went 37-12 at home last year and Denver was 22-25 on the road.
Sacramento Kings (-1.5) at Phoenix Suns
The Kings are well positioned to stop the Suns guard-centric offense with excellent defenders in De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Marvin Bagley should eat against a poor Suns defensive frontcourt.
Minnesota Timberwolves (+5.5) at Brooklyn Nets
Karl-Anthony Towns should open an MVP bid with a dominant performance against Brooklyn’s frontcourt.
Houston Rockets (-2) vs Milwaukee Bucks
James Harden and Russell Westbrook should figure things out on the fly and the Rockets do a good enough job on Giannis Antetokounmpo with P.J. Tucker and others leading the defensive charge.
Dallas Mavericks (-8) vs Washington Wizards
The Wizards basically have nothing with which to threaten teams other than Bradley Beal, while the Mavs are set to unleash a dynamic duo in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Dallas went 24-17 ATS at home last season.
San Antonio Spurs (-9.5) vs New York Knicks
The Knicks ranked dead last in offensive rating last year and the Spurs went 26-18 ATS at home while holding opponents to just 106 PPG.
Detroit Pistons (+5) at Indiana Pacers
The Pacers should take a step backwards defensively with Thaddeus Young gone and could take a step backwards offensively without Bojan Bogdanovic.
Miami Heat (-7.5) vs Memphis Grizzlies
The Heat roster is extremely strange, but full of talent. Miami should be able to roll past a young Grizzlies team on opening night.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+9.5) at Utah Jazz
A loss of star power makes the Thunder an unlikely candidate for a playoff berth, but Chris Paul and company should be competitive enough to lose by single digits on opening night.
Cleveland Cavaliers (+8) at Orlando Magic
While the Cavs lack talent, the Magic is unlikely to blow anyone out. Orlando has posted the second-worst record ATS (20-29-2) when listed as a home favorite over the past three seasons.