My dreams of an undefeated NBA season in the bankers were dashed yesterday. The win
streak is over which means one only one thing…It’s time to start a new streak! Let’s take a look
at the best options on tonight’s board for a banker and a two-team parlay.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
These two teams met on Monday night with the Clippers absolutely throttling the Blazers 116-The
Clippers followed that up with a 13-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. The
Blazers headed home and beat the Grizzlies by 20 points. While regular season revenge is in
an angle or narrative that I don’t play as often as others, I do believe the recency of the loss will
be fresh in the mind of the Trailblazers.
Portland has consistently been slow to start the season and head coach Chauncey Billups must
realize he needs to get this team on track quickly or they risk losing a chance at home court
advantage in the first round of the playoffs. This Portland team is probably making the final push
with his core. If they don’t get it done soon, general manager Neil Olshey might be forced to
explore trade options to improve his team.
The Clippers are flying under the radar this season as the loss of superstar Kawhi Leonard has
taken them out of most people’s Championship contender projections. That is fair, but this is still
a very good basketball team. Paul George doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves for the
brilliant basketball he plays. George has been unfairly maligned since a couple of poor playoff
performances after he nicknamed himself “Playoff P”. This made him kind of a running joke on
NBA Twitter. This perception is inaccurate.
George was brilliant during his most recent playoff run especially after the loss of Leonard.
While casual fans and Twitter jokesters might enjoy denigrating George’s ability, hardcore NBA
fans, players, and coaches alike know how skilled, efficient, and impactful his game can be.
Reggie Jackson and Terrence Mann both emerged as key contributors for the Clippers in the
playoffs and they will need plenty of that this season. Jackson is doing his part averaging 15.5
points per game, but the Clippers are hoping to get a bigger output from Mann who currently is
only averaging 8.5 points per game. Mann adds a solid 6 rebounds per game though so his
impact cannot be discounted. The Clippers will need Mann to take another step forward in his
development if they are to truly make noise in the West.
I like the Blazers to extract some revenge from the beating that they took on Monday night. I felt
the game got out of hand for them early and did not display the true measure of the Blazers
team. Portland has always been significantly better at home in front of a rocking Rose Garden. I
expect the role players to have a much better game than they did in Los Angeles. CJ McCollum
has been brilliant so far this season and I expect another big performance from the Blazers star
shooting guard. Let’s start the new winning streak with the Portland Trail Blazers as the banker.
Banker: Portland Trail Blazers -2.5 at -112 (1.89)
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. LA Lakers
The Cavaliers come into this game on a three-game winning streak after beating the Atlanta
Hawks, the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavaliers will look to extend
their impressive win streak over playoff teams by trying to beat the Lakers tonight in Los
Angeles. The Lakers early-season struggles have been well-documented but don’t come to the
surprise to this observer because they did turn over at 9 of their 12 players on the roster, only
returning three key contributors. This of course has created a natural adjustment period as the
players learn their new teammates and roles. Integrating a high-usage, volatile players like
Russell Westbrook is never easy. While I do believe the Lakers will get and come together to be
a serious threat in the west, their growing pains will still continue tonight. This Cavaliers team
has a lot to prove, and I believe they can keep this game close. The NBA odds are too steep,
I’m taking the Cavaliers.
Sacramento Kings vs New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are off to an awful start without Zion Williamson going 1-4. Right now they have a
net rating of -8.2 They have problems generating offense without Williamson. The defense has
been better than expected. Center Jonas Valanciunas has done a great job protecting the rim
for a Pelicans team that can struggle at the point of attack after losing Lonzo Ball. Devonte
Graham and Brandon Ingram are trying to step up and absorb the scoring deficit left by
Williamson’s absence, but they have struggled to do it in a meaningful, efficient way. The
Pelicans have expectations to win now, but young players on their roster like Jaxson Hayes,
Nikeil Alexander-Walker, and Kira Lewis that are going to need playing time to develop. This
playing time will come with mistakes. The Pelicans are stuck in a dilemma of trying to win now
to maximize Zion and hope he stays, or properly developed the young talent at the expense of
wins. Unfortunately, right now they seem to be doing neither, so hopefully the New Orleans can
figure it out, and figure it out fast.
The Kings are a young team who seem to be always on the verge of making the playoffs but
never quite getting there. Give credit to new GM Monte McNair, however. He has knocked both
his most recent draft picks out of the park. Tyrese Haliburton Davion Mitchell bring strong
defense to a team that had been lacking in his ability to shut down the opposition. Mitchell has
been the great for the Kings. Mitchell is a dogged defender that seems to inspire the rest of the
team to put more effort in on the defensive end. For a non-playoff team, this team has
surprisingly good depth and I think that will also show tonight.
Although many have pegged this is a bounce-back spot for New Orleans, I do believe the
Sacramento has a much better team and they will show that on the road tonight. I’m laying the
points and taking the Kings.
Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic
The Raptors are off to a slow start this season going 2-3. They face a Magic team that has had
an even worse start going 1 – 4. The Magic are all in on the rebuild, and two of the major pieces
of that rebuild Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, are still recovering from injury. This leaves the
Magic with a roster full of talented players who are way too young to know how to win. This will
be a long season for Magic fans.
I expect to be betting against them until the bookmakers adjust and the NBA odds are in the
double-digit range for most games. Toronto has more talent, is better coached, and has a strong
home court advantage. I expect Toronto to win and win by margin. I’m going to lay the points
and take the Raptors to finish up this parlay.
3-Team Parlay: Sacramento Kings -2/Toronto Raptors -8/Cleveland Cavaliers +7.5 at +588