Orlando Magic vs San Antonio Spurs
My banker for today is the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are woefully undervalued headed into
this season as they have been written off due to the loss of DeMar DeRozan and Patty Mills.
While DeRozan is a fine player and did provide veteran leadership, the time was overdue for the
Spurs to switch to a rebuilding project based on their young talent. With Keldon Johnson,
Derrick White, and Devin Vassell being featured in the offensive system, I expect the Spurs to
surprise a lot of observers with their ability to score.
Of course, the Spurs have always been a formidable defensive team. Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich is closing in on the all-time wins record for an NBA coach. You do not win as many
games as Popovich has without teaching, emphasizing, and valuing defensive play. One thing
we can always count on is that the Spurs will be well-coached and will always provide a solid
effort on the defensive end. Popovich is very consistent in that if you do not contribute on the
defensive end, you do not get minutes under his watch. So, while the transition will be rough,
this is a great opportunity for the young San Antonio team to go against a completely rebuilt
Orlando Magic team.
The Magic finally opted for a rebuild after being a middling team with respectable results, but
first-round playoff exits. In jettisoning Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic, the Magic were able to
acquire draft picks, which is why their roster is currently stacked with young talent.
Unfortunately, the talent does not have the experience and has not been curated under
Popovich, so while the Magic might be a nice team to back against the spread as the season
progresses, on opening night I feel they will be overmatched against a team with more talent
and better leadership.
The Spurs will do what they always do, which is play solid fundamental basketball with a strong
effort. This will be enough for them to cover against NBA odds. My banker is the San Antonio
Banker: San Antonio Spurs -5.5 -110 (1.91)
No NBA night would be complete without a proper parley to root in to win. We took a strong
favorite with the banker but we’re going to go with some underdogs for the parlay. The Memphis
Grizzlies were able to make the playoffs last season and are an exciting team for many reasons.
Yet I feel the books are giving too many points to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who, while they do
have their flaws, are still a talented basketball team in their own right. The Cavaliers tanked at
the end of last season, lowering the perception of them as a team. Yet they have a high-scoring
backcourt and look to be stronger on the defensive end this season.
Collin Sexton and Darius Garland both can create off the dribble to set up the Cavaliers offense.
Isaac Okoro is a solid defender that seemed to find his shooting stroke towards the end of the
year. Okoro seems to be poised for a breakout sophomore season. Jared Allen is a good NBA
Center and will be charged with mentoring the ultra-talented Evan Mobley. Mobley will get a
chance to show his skills against Jaren Jackson Jr, a player who I feel has very similar
attributes and upside to Mobley. I think this line should be 4.5 and at +7.5 we are getting a
generous cushion. The first part of this parlay will be the Cavaliers + 7.5
Let’s add another feisty underdog, the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets were swept by the
Phoenix Suns to end their season and they open this season against the Suns as well. The
Nuggets will be eager to get revenge on the Suns as they were battered and bruised in their
playoff series. injuries took hold and doomed their season. While the Nuggets star guard Jamal
Murray is still out, Michael Porter Jr. is back to full health. Porter Jr’s back injury last season
caused him to be ineffective against the Suns. With Porter at full strength and the rest of the
team rejuvenated and revitalized, I expect them to put up a fierce fight against the defending
Western Conference champions.
The Suns have a little internal strife to deal with as well. They failed to re-sign their star center
DeAndre Ayton, leaving him in a contract year. Sun’s ownership has often been criticized for
being cheap. This seems to be another mark against owner Robert Sarver. Sarver keeps
refusing to pay the necessary bills in order to field an NBA contender. The Suns have been
hearing plaudits all summer from their improbable Finals run last season. Overconfidence
combined with this turmoil could provide a recipe for some internal dissidence to start the
season. I expect the Nuggets to keep it close. The second half of the parlay is Nuggets +6
Parlay: Cleveland Cavaliers +7.5/ Denver Nuggets +6 at +265 (3.65)