The city of Los Angeles is a great stage for Hollywood premieres and the stars will be out for the opening night of the 2019-20 NBA season with the Lakers and Clippers debuting their revamped rosters built for championship glory.
Opening Odds Analysis
After initially opening as a 1.5-point favorite, the Clippers have since moved to 2-point “home” underdogs vs the Lakers and that can be attributed mainly to injuries. The Clippers, while formidable, will be without SF Paul George for at least the first 10 games of the regular season due to double shoulder surgery. Once he was officially ruled out, the spread moved back to the Lakers.
The total opened at 227, which seems fair considering how NBA offenses have completely shifted to the three-point model. Last season, the Lakers were one of the worst defenses in the NBA but with Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard now in the fold to protect the rim, points may be hard to come by when they’re on the floor.
Lakers News and Notes
The Lakers, who have had their own injuries, will have the two best players on the floor (apologies to Kawhi Leonard) in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Davis is the best player LeBron has ever played with in the NBA and the high pick-and-roll will likely be a thing of beauty.
The Lakers will also be without Kyle Kuzma for this matchup so their depth in the frontcourt could be an issue.
Clippers News and Notes
No team had a splashier offseason than the Clippers, who poached two top-five players in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to improve their loaded roster. The Clippers won 48 games and made the postseason without those two swingmen so they’ve got the NBA championship trophy in their sights.
They have talent and role players up and down the roster but without George, Kawhi may end up having to shoulder most of the scoring load in this matchup. It wasn’t an issue through last year’s playoffs for Kawhi but against the Lakers, it could be a tall order in what’s basically a road game at Staples Center.
Betting Pick: Lakers -2
If both teams were fully healthy, the Clippers would be an easy pick but the Lakers have such an edge in talent for this game. You’ll see plenty of back-and-forth action, dunks, pinpoint passing and great perimeter defense and the Clippers may still end up winning this one.
However, to pick against a fully rested LeBron James is not something I can endorse for the opening game of the season vs a short-handed Clippers squad.
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