Cavaliers (-2 ½, 204 ½) at Raptors – 7:05 PM EST
The last time these teams met in late May, Cleveland eliminated Toronto in the sixth game of the Eastern Conference Finals by 26 points. The Cavaliers finished last season with one more regular season victory than the Raptors en route to the franchise’s first ever NBA title. Cleveland raised its championship banner on Tuesday night and promptly routed New York, 117-88 to easily cash as 9 ½-point favorites.
LeBron James posted a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists for Cleveland, while the Cavs knocked down 13 three-pointers.
The Raptors were equally impressive in their season opener by pounding the Pistons, 109-91 as 6 ½-point home favorites. DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 40 points, while center Jonas Valanciunas put up 32 points and 11 rebounds as the Raptors overcame a 3-of-18 performance from three-point range. For the exception of the Game 6 blowout to end their season, the Raptors fared well against the Cavaliers by winning four of five matchups at Air Canada Center, all in the underdog role.
Magic at Pistons (-4, 198 ½) – 7:35 PM EST
The Frank Vogel era in Orlando got off to a bumpy start as the Magic lost to the rival Heat as three-point favorites, 108-96. The Magic were held to 38% shooting from the floor, while allowing 48% shooting to Miami as Orlando couldn’t capitalize on a 5-1 finish at Amway Center to close last season.
Orlando begins a three-game road swing that continues to Cleveland on Saturday as the Magic didn’t fare well against the Pistons last season. Detroit has won the past six matchups with Orlando, including a three-game sweep in 2016.
The Pistons will try to move forward following a 109-91 loss at Toronto on Wednesday as the loss of point guard Reggie Jackson was impactful. Jackson is sidelined with a knee injury as his replacement, journeyman Ish Smith shot 3-of-10 from the floor and scored only six points. In all three victories over the Magic last season, the Pistons topped the 108-point mark each time, while all three games sailed OVER the total. Detroit took care of business in the role of a home favorite last season by posting a 19-9-1 ATS mark, while Orlando’s last win at the Palace of Auburn Hills came in November 2014.
Pacers (-6 ½, 214) at Nets – 7:35 PM EST
Indiana’s offense exploded for 130 points in an opening victory over Dallas. Granted, 15 points came in overtime, but the Pacers shot 50% from the floor and drilled 10-of-19 attempts from three-point range. Myles Turner dominated the Dallas frontcourt with 30 points and 16 rebounds, while Paul George knocked down a key three-pointer in overtime to solidify a cover as 5 ½-point favorites. Last season, the Pacers posted a 9-9 ATS record in the role of a road favorite, as Indiana captured three of four meetings from Brooklyn (2-2 ATS).
The Nets put together a good fourth quarter effort in their opening night loss at Boston to cash as 11 ½-point underdogs in a 122-117 defeat. Dating back to last season, Brooklyn has dropped 11 consecutive games. Who was their last win against? You guessed it, the Pacers on March 26 as six-point underdogs in a 120-110 victory at Barclays Center. In spite of a new head coach and new faces on the roster, Brooklyn’s defense isn’t expected to improve as the Nets have allowed over 100 points in 17 of their last 18 games since last March.
Suns at Thunder (-9 ½, 209) – 8:05 PM EST
Oklahoma City rallied past Philadelphia in the season opener, avoided an embarrassing loss to the 76ers in a 103-97 victory. The Thunder failed to cash as nine-point favorites in their first game without Kevin Durant, as Russell Westbrook came within an assist of a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. OKC swept the three-game series from Phoenix last season, while every game finished OVER the total. The Thunder has won 10 consecutive home meetings with the Suns since 2011, but Phoenix has covered in three of the past five road matchups.
Phoenix put together the ugliest opening night performance as the Suns were chased out by the Kings as three-point favorites, 113-94.
The Suns scored 38 first half points, while allowing Sacramento to shoot 51% from the floor. Phoenix closed last season with a solid 7-4 ATS record in its final 11 games in the road underdog role, including outright victories at Memphis, Houston, and Orlando as ‘dogs of 9 ½ points or higher.
Hornets at Heat (-2, 198) – 8:05 PM EST
Miami knocked Charlotte out of the first round of the playoffs in seven games, including three victories at home. The Heat won their first game in the post-Dwyane Wade era on Wednesday at Orlando, 108-96, led by Hassan Whiteside’s 18-point, 15-rebound effort.
Each of the past five meetings between the Heat and Hornets have finished UNDER the total, while Charlotte has scored 91 points or less in five of the last seven matchups. Since 2009, the Heat have won eight consecutive home openers, including last season’s victory over the Hornets.
Charlotte cruised past Milwaukee in its season opener, 107-96 as 1 ½-point road favorites. The big men of the Hornets stepped up as Roy Hibbert and Cody Zeller each scored 15 points, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist paced Charlotte with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Charlotte has sailed OVER the total in 10 of the past 15 road games, but the Hornets own a 4-8 ATS in the past 12 games as a road underdog since February.
Rockets at Mavericks (-2, 221) – 8:35 PM EST
Not a lot of defense was played by these Texas teams in their openers as each lost on the road. The Mavericks fell short in overtime at Indiana, 130-121, as Dallas hoisted up 48 three-point attempts and 104 shots from the floor. Rick Carlisle’s team won three straight home openers from 2012-2014, but lost its first home game last season to Toronto.
Dallas and Houston split four meetings last season, while both games at American Airlines Center finished UNDER the total.
The Rockets failed to grab a victory as a road favorite against the Lakers on Wednesday in a 120-114 setback. Houston put up only 43 points in the second half after a 71-point output in the first half, even though James Harden scored a game-high 34 points and dished out 17 assists.
The Rockets have covered nine of their last 15 regular season games in the road underdog role, while winning outright as an away ‘dog at Dallas last December, 100-96.
Lakers at Jazz (-8 ½, 201 ½) – 9:05 PM EST
The Lakers rallied past the Rockets, 120-114 at Staples Center as six-point underdogs to kick off the Luke Walton era as head coach. Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points off the bench for Los Angeles, while the Lakers shot 50% from the floor.
The Lakers struggled against the Jazz last season by losing three of four matchups, but erased a 15-point deficit in the season finale at Staples Center as Kobe Bryant put up 60 points in his final game in a Los Angeles uniform in a 101-96 triumph.
The Jazz couldn’t hold on to a six-point lead in the final minutes of a season opening loss at Portland on Tuesday, 113-104. Joe Johnson scored 27 second half points against the Blazers, while Rodney Hood contributed 26 points for Utah, who played without Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. Hayward remains sidelined with a finger injury, while Favors is questionable with a knee injury.
Utah is in the midst of a rough stretch with upcoming games against the Spurs (twice) and Clippers over the next week. The Jazz have struggled to cover numbers as a home favorite since last February by compiling a 5-7 ATS mark in this role.
Warriors (-10, 219 ½) at Pelicans – 9:35 PM EST
The debut of Kevin Durant in a Golden State uniform didn’t work out too well for the Warriors, who were blown out by the Spurs on Tuesday, 129-100 as 8 ½-point favorites. Durant did his part in his first game as a Warrior, scoring a team-high 27 points, but Golden State shot 7-of-33 from three-point range. Golden State has won seven straight meetings against New Orleans since the 2015 playoffs, including a three-game sweep last season.
Anthony Davis took honors for the top individual performance on opening night by scoring 50 points and pulling down 16 rebounds in New Orleans’ 107-102 home setback to Denver. The Pelicans will likely lean on Davis all season after Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson bolted to Houston in the offseason.
New Orleans had its ups and downs as a home underdog last season by posting a 10-9 ATS record, while the Pelicans hope to avoid another poor start after beginning 2015 with a 1-11 mark.