The NBA season is but a week old, yet already there are signs some of the preseason prognostications, both good and bad, will be on the mark.
The Los Angeles Lakers may be as bad as most experts believe. Their 0-4 start was marked by three losses of 18 points or more with their only “competitive” effort a 7 point loss to their crosstown rivals, the Clippers.
One of the losses was a 23 point loss at Golden State, now coached by highly regarded Steve Kerr. Klay Thompson is off to a big 3-0 start for the Warriors, including wins at Sacramento and Portland.
The Houston Rockets are also off to a strong 3-0 start both SU and ATS with all three wins by double digits, two of which were on the road. The combination of James Harden and Dwight Howard will have Houston a legitimate contender and despite their lapses at the defensive end of the court the presence of Howard does work to somewhat overcome those liabilities.
Memphis is also off to a 3-0 SU start and Miami is the only team in the East yet to lose (3-0).
Philadelphia is as bad as expected with their 0-3 start that featured all three losses by a dozen points or more and especially poor play in the fourth quarter when depth is a major factor. Not surprisingly the 76ers are also 0-3 ATS.
Detroit and Orlando join the Lakers and 76ers as the other winless teams after six nights of action and both the Pistons and Magic have yet to cover a point spread.
Keep an eye on those winless teams over the next week or so as the attention paid to teams seeking that initial win often lead to some betting opportunities on those teams as prices become inflated and professional pride kicks in over the short term.
The major event of the opening week was the injury to Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook who is expected to be sidelined for at least a month as he joins star Kevin Durant on the injured list.
This could be both good and bad for the Thunder as they are likely to suffer in the short run and could have a losing record by the time both Westbrook and Durant are back on the court, perhaps around the start of the new year.
But once both stars are back on the court the Thunder should go on a nice run, although likely won’t be much value in the betting line due to the very obvious sense of urgency OKC will be facing a third of the way into the season.
Yet as a result of those injuries the Thunder will still likely make the playoffs as a lower seeds. It may be worth keeping an eye on future book odds, both to win the NBA Title and the Western Conference.
Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.
Memphis at Oklahoma City: With both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook sidelines, Oklahoma City is pretty much an average team in terms of overall talent and certainly less potent offensively. Memphis relies mostly on its defense to be competitive with a below average offense that often prefers a deliberate style of play.
Shorthanded, the Thunder should be content to play that style which should lend itself to a low scoring contest. UNDER.
Portland at LA Clippers: Both teams are rested after not playing Friday night. Each started the season 2-1 SU but 1-2 ATS and 5 of their combined 6 games have stayed UNDER the total as both teams scored under 95 points in two of their first three games. Yet both teams are comfortable playing at an up tempo pace.
The nucleus of both rosters from last season remain largely intact and all three of their games last year went OVER with each team topping 100 points in each meeting. The early season results may keep this game’s Total a bit depressed but the fundamentals suggest a game in line with how they played last season. OVER.
Miami at Dallas: Despite LeBron James’ departure from Miami to return home to Cleveland, the Heat have played well in starting 3-0 both SU and ATS. After a 1 point but covering loss in San Antonio to open the season, Dallas won and covered its next two games. Miami will rely on the third member of the former “Big Three,” Chris Bosh, to show why he was so heavily recruited by James to join him in Miami.
Dwayne Wade, despite his age and nagging injuries, is still a key contributor. Dallas has its own concerns about age with star Dirk Nowitzki in the latter stages of his Hall of Fame career. Miami has upgraded its surrounding talent and should get an extra couple of points after playing in Minnesota on Saturday while Dallas is rested following a Friday night game in Utah. MIAMI.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]