The NBA is BACK!
The 2022-23 season kicks off Tuesday, and I will be breaking down every regular season slate moving forward.
Top scoring game environment on DraftKings Sportsbook
This isn’t saying much, as the only other game on Tuesday features two of the best defenses in the league in Boston and Philadelphia.
The Lakers and Warriors do like to get up and down, ranking as top-15 teams in pace last season. There are a couple of interesting storylines heading into this matchup, mostly on the Lakers’ side.
Most importantly: How will Russell Westbrook be used? Darvin Ham has been praising Westbrook relentlessly this preseason, but his role with the team is still clearly undefined. Opening night should give us a decent idea of how Ham plans to utilize Russ.
Key Injuries to Monitor
Golden State Warriors
- Andre Iguodala (hip) — OUT
Los Angeles Lakers
- Russell Westbrook (hamstring) — Expected to play
- Dennis Schroder (thumb) — OUT
- Troy Brown Jr. (back) — OUT
- Thomas Bryant (thumb) — OUT
Favorite Pick Against the Spread
Celtics (-2.5) vs. 76ers
It’s no secret that Boston has had Philly’s number over the years, and I expect nothing to change on opening night.
Yes, the Celtics are dealing with more turnover. Ime Udoka has been replaced by first-year head coach Joe Mazzulla, and Robert Williams is sidelined with a knee injury, leaving more minutes for the likes of Blake Griffin and Luke Kornet.
All of that said, I still think Boston presents too much defensively for the 76ers to handle. On the other side of the ball, the Celtics have as much firepower as any team in the league. With Malcolm Brogdon coming off the bench as a steady presence, their turnover troubles should become a thing of the past.
I expect Boston to cover and make a statement on Tuesday.
Favorite Player Prop
LeBron James Over 41.5 Points, Rebounds & Assists
New year, same LeBron.
The Lakers’ roster construction has not changed much compared to last year, which means James will likely have to carry the team. LeBron’s usage rate of 31.7% ranked eighth among qualified players last season, and I don’t expect a dip in that department.
James is coming off a ridiculous individual 2021-22 campaign in which he averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. The Warriors will likely cruise in this matchup, but LeBron should have a big night.
Favorite Value Play
Celtics PG/SG Derrick White ($4,100) vs. 76ers
White was consistently undervalued down the stretch of the 2021-22 playoffs, and that appears to be the case heading into Boston’s season opener against Philly.
The versatile, two-way guard has looked much more comfortable in the Celtics’ system throughout preseason, showing off a more polished shooting stroke and overall direction to attack we didn’t see from him last year.
With Robert Williams set to miss time and Malcolm Brogdon looking like the solidified sixth man, White could be a full-time start for Boston to open the season. At $4,100, I love the value here.
76ers C Joel Embiid ($9,900) at Celtics
Paying up for the most expensive player on the slate makes sense Tuesday. Embiid has dominated against the Celtics personally throughout his career — although the team results have certainly varied — averaging 26.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 18 games.
I expect that trend to continue on opening night, especially without Robert Williams there to protect the rim for Boston. It’s possible Embiid sees a dip in usage this year with James Harden more adjusted to Philly’s system, but the superstar big man should get plenty of opportunities on Tuesday.
I’ll be tweeting updates for today’s slate. Follow along on Twitter @ByJeffPratt!
No Schroder and a limited Russell Westbrook (if available) means more minutes for Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn.— Jeff Pratt (@ByJeffPratt) October 17, 2022
Both are priced below $5K on @DraftKings. Something to note when building lineups tomorrow.
Find my full @dklive NBA Cheat Sheet here: https://t.co/cBNen972V0 pic.twitter.com/VKamavyHNk
Jayson Tatum OVER 7.5 rebounds (1u)— Julian Edlow (@julianedlow) October 18, 2022
Initially looked to Horford w Williams out, but his rebounding dips vs. PHI. No Williams also means defending Embiid, so weary of foul trouble.
Tatum averaged 8.4 RPG w/o Williams in lineup last season and 12 RPG vs. PHI (9+ in all 4 games). https://t.co/N3G6QwWHs2
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