Basketball fans rejoice, the long wait is finally over. With MLB off to a rough start after basically the entire Marlins team tested positive for COVID-19, all eyes will be on the NBA to see if their bubble in Orlando will keep the virus out of the equation.
NBA Begins Exciting and Unique Conclusion to Season
So, what can we expect for this exciting season finale? Currently, there are 22 teams who are still in the running to make it to the playoffs. Each team will play eight “regular season” games that will go towards their record before the season was postponed.
To kick off the restart, fans will be treated to a couple of very exciting games in a doubleheader Thursday night. The Utah Jazz will face off against the New Orleans Pelicans. Following that game will be a battle for Los Angeles with the Lakers playing the Clippers.
After that, the remaining NBA teams will be playing at a furious pace. We will be treated to six games every single day until the conclusion of the regular season. From there we will head straight into the playoffs. Be sure to check out the odds for the NBA conference champions as well as our NBA Championship odds.
Lakers vs Clippers
Let’s check out some stats as the two best teams in the Western Conference get ready to go head-to-head. We will start with a quick look at the injury roster. The Lakers are missing Avery Bradley who has decided to opt out of the season. Rajon Rondo is injured, and Anthony Davis is still touch and go. He was accidentally poked in the eye in Monday’s scrimmage. This could have a huge impact on Thursday night’s game. As of writing, the latest news available is that he will likely play but that it could be fairly limited.
The Clippers have had a tough year as far as injuries go and could also be missing several players. Most importantly, they are missing Lou Williams who will definitely not be playing. On the questionable list is Patrick Beverly, Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac and Landry Shamet.
Despite the injuries, both of these teams had excellent runs before the season was postponed. The Lakers are heading into Orlando sitting at 49-14 and are going into this game 1st in their conference. Right behind them are the Clippers, who go into the game at 44-20.
This season, these two teams faced off three times. Out of the three games that they played against each other this year, the Clippers won twice.
NBA Opening Day Game Odds
The over/under for this game is set at 216 (-110o/u) points. During their three matchups this year the game totals were 215, 217 and 214. With so many uncertainties regarding how the teams will react to empty stadiums and Davis’ participation still up in the air, an over bet seems risky.
The point spread is currently set at -4 (110) for the Lakers. The Lakers are the favorites to win this game with their moneyline set at -175 and the Clippers at +155. This is a pretty tough one to call as these teams are so evenly matched and we are still waiting for more news regarding Anthony Davis, but it will certainly be fun to watch.
Jazz vs Pelicans
The big news for the Pelicans coming into Orlando is the return of Zion Williamson. The superstar rookie went in for knee surgery on January 22nd and is slated for a return to play on Thursday. This is a big deal.
The Pelicans have been struggling since they lost Zion and will have to come roaring back to have a chance at making the playoffs. They are coming into the Orlando bubble with a 28-36 record. New Orleans will have to overtake the Grizzlies, who are currently in 8th place and have a 4.5 game lead over them, to get in.
The Jazz were having a stellar season and will be going into Thursday’s game at 41-23, sitting 4th in the Western Conference. Unlike the Pelicans, who are going into the game with their team basically at full health, the Jazz will be missing Croatian small-forward Bojan Bogdanovic. He has been their second-top scorer with 20.2 PPG, trailing only Donovan Mitchell who is sitting at 24.2 PPG.
In three head-to-head matches, the Jazz beat the Pelicans two times. A notable statistic from these matches is that they were all high-scoring games. The totals for these games were 270, 254, and 248, respectively. They played all three games before Zion went in for knee surgery.
NBA Opening Day Game Odds
The over/under for this game is set at 222 (-110o/u) reflecting an expectation that we are probably in for another exciting, high-scoring game, especially with the return of Zion.
The spread is set at +2.5 (-110) for the Jazz, while the moneyline is +115 for Utah and -135 for the Pelicans. These odds reflect the return of Zion Williamson to the Pelicans and the exit of Bogdanovic for the Jazz.
There are definitely some interesting bets to be made for this game as betting on the over seems like a solid choice. Despite the Jazz’s superior record, considering the rosters for these two teams for Thursday’s game, it would not be surprising to see the Pelicans walk away from this game with a win.
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