The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Tuesday’s NBA Slate
The NBA is back baby! The regular season gets underway on Tuesday with a two-game slate featuring the Warriors vs. the Nets at 7 p.m. ET and the Clippers vs. the Lakers at 10 p.m. ET. There are plenty of intriguing storylines to follow along with, including the return of Steph Curry, the first game for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant together as members of the Nets, and one of the best rivalries in the league in the battle for LA.
This slate is all about star power, and both games will feature matchups between players who are among the best in the league at their respective positions.
Things get underway with Curry vs. Irving, which should be a fascinating individual battle. These are quite possibly the two most gifted scoring point guards in the league when healthy, and both players are capable of putting on a show with their ball handling and 3-point shooting.
The big question is just how effective Curry will be following his long layoff. He looked healthy during the preseason, and he has a chance for a monster season if his body holds up. He’s had to share the ball with Durant and Klay Thompson over the past few seasons, but he is the only superstar left for the Warriors at the moment. Expect him to command a massive usage rate.
Irving can also fill it up from deep – he’s a career 39.0% 3-point shooter – but he does more damage on the interior than Curry. He is arguably the best finisher at the rim among the smaller players in the NBA, and he’s a virtuoso in terms of spinning the ball off the glass from different angles.
If Irving can keep pace with Curry from a scoring perspective, the rest of the Nets’ roster should be able to overpower the weaker Warriors.
In the second game, all eyes will be on LeBron James vs. Kawhi Leonard. Both players have won the Finals MVP in the past two seasons, and they are arguably the two most complete players in the game. There is simply nothing that they can’t do on the basketball court.
That said, there’s no guarantee that we see a ton of either player tonight. LeBron has talked about managing his workload a bit more this season, and Kawhi is notorious for taking games lightly during the regular season.
If that happens, the real battle will be between Anthony Davis and Paul George. Davis was already the most dominant big man in the league, and he may be even better this season if the preseason is any indication. He made 6-7 shots from 3-point range during his two preseason contests, and his shooting from behind the arc was the one weakness in his game. If he can add that weapon to his arsenal, he has the potential to be unstoppable.
George is going to need to try and keep pace with Davis from a scoring perspective if the Clippers want to win this contest. George did some of his best work vs. the Lakers last season, averaging 26.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in three games, so he can definitely find success in this matchup.
The Nets opened up as 5.5-point favorites on opening night, but they have moved all the way to -7.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook. Part of that stems from the Warriors’ injury situation – Draymond Green will miss this game with a toe injury – but the Nets have also received the vast majority of the betting action. They’ve received 57% of the spread tickets, and those bets have accounted for 70% of the spread dollars.
The line movement hasn’t been as pronounced in the second game. The Lakers were initially listed as 2.5-point favorites, and they’re up to -3 on FanDuel Sportsbook. They have also been receiving heavy betting action, garnering 70% of the spread bets and 89% of the spread dollars.
Best Bets from the SportsGrid Betting Model
Find out who our Model likes for both of tonight’s NBA contests:
Adam Sardinha sees an edge on a few player props on Tuesday’s slate of games at FanDuel Sportsbook.