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2018 NBA Opening Day Preview & Predictions

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Mark your Google Calendars and set it to notify you on your smartphones. Oct. 16th is the date we are all waiting for; tip-off of the 2018 NBA season.  Handicappers have already put our early lines out for games the two Tuesday games and a odds on a slew of the Wednesday, Oct. 17th matchups that should be a fairly accurate reflection of what the main books in Vegas are soon to release. If you are in an area where it is legal to bet on sports, research the reviews on different sites to make sure you are getting the most out of your sportsbook. Here is a comprehensive look at Bovada.

Let’s have a look at the two games on opening day.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

We get to start the season off with a possible playoff matchup between the Sixers and Celtics. Boston is at home in TD Garden and are likely to be listed as a 6-point favorite over the young, but potent 76ers squad.

The 76ers didn’t feel the need to chase a big free agent this offseason. But they did secure JJ Reddick and Amir Johnson, and they added a little bit of depth to their bench by adding Wilson Chandler and Nemanja Bjelica. Some Philly fans might be upset that they didn’t add more fire-power to the roster, but their strategy is sound. They made the playoffs with an extremely young and inexperienced team last campaign. Now that same corps of players is a little more mature and has a lot more experience. So, don’t throw a potential wrench into the mix and mess with a chemistry that is working.

Gordon Hayward had an unlucky break last season, but he and Kyrie are both expected to be on the court for opening night. Speaking of young talent, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are going to continue to grow as well and with Aron Baynes back to back up Al Horford; the Celtics will be tough in the paint all night long.

Six points seem fair, given the fact that Celtics are at home. But the 76ers could definitely cover six given the fact that the last time they played the Celtics won with a score of 112-114, on May 7th of 2018 the Sixers won 103-92, and on the May 5th, the Celtics squeaked out a three-point victory of 101-98. In fact, if you average out the last ten games between these teams, the score would be 100 to 103 for Boston. So look for this game to be closer than the projected line of six points.

Golden State Warriors vs. OKC Thunder

The juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors gets to open their season at home against their Western Conference rivals, the Oklahoma City Thunder. The projected point spread is four buckets in favor of the Warriors.

Eight points at home doesn’t seem like a whole lot given this GSW roster, but OKC has improved significantly over the offseason … at least theoretically. Carmelo has been shipped off to Houston, and the Thunder signed/resigned eight players over the offseason. They hung on to Paul George who was inconsistent last season, but maybe now that he is focused on a four-year deal and isn’t looking to bounce out to LA next summer, OKC will see a different PG13.

The Warriors are scarier than ever … They picked up on of the best big men in the league in DeMarcus Cousins and have Jordan Bell, the young Power Forward/Center out of Oregon to back him up. The Warriors starting line up should be Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and DeMarcus Cousins. Then when the stars sit, it doesn’t get much easier because they have guys like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala coming off the bench.

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NBA Shootaround – The Frontrunners

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The NBA season is only three weeks old and little more than 10 percent of the schedule has been completed. However, there’s no time like the present to go around the league and cherry pick the best of the bunch so far. Without further ado, let’s go!

Eastern Conference Winners

Toronto Raptors – Despite winning 59 games and copping the No. 1 playoff seed in the East last year, Toronto took six games to dispatch the pedestrian-at-best Washington Wizards and were summarily swept out of the playoffs in the next round by the Cavaliers. Notwithstanding their talented roster, the team lacked grit and many believed their acquisition of the supremely gifted Kawhi Leonard was just a one-year rental for a player who wished to be elsewhere.

However, the Raps are making a case that this year is different and it’s hard to argue as they have the best record in the Eastern Conference in the early part of November. Maybe Toronto had a heart transplant in the offseason but Leonard has proven to be worthy of their pursuits, averaging over 26 points per game which is above his career best of 25.7 during the 2016-2017 season.

Milwaukee Bucks – The Greek Freak is back and he’s better than ever kids. If voting closed for the league’s MVP today, Giannis Antetokounmpo would have our vote and more than a few others. The Bucks’ young forward is averaging 26.1 PPG and nearly 14 boards per game. Milwaukee experienced their first loss of the season after winning their first seven when they fell to Boston 117-113. However, the news is nothing but good in Milwaukee as the Bucks are second in the league in points, third in assists, fifth in points allowed and tops in rebounds. Sounds like the makings of a juggernaut.

Boston Celtics – After finding their early season footing, the Celtics ripped off four straight wins until they had a WTF moment in Indiana and bowed 102-101 to the Pacers. But all systems are go for Boston and bench jockey Marcus Morris is proving to be reliable in his supporting role. The C’s are the top defensive team in the league but their point production has been lacking. Nevertheless, they are the team to beat in the East with all due respect to the Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers.

Indiana Pacers – Although the Pacers had a big victory over Boston it’s not their modus operandi to beat the big boys. Indiana has a flair for kicking the hell out of the weak sisters and thus looking more formidable than they actually are. However, we must include them because their record dictates we do but don’t get used to seeing the Pacers in such elite company.

Western Conference

Golden State Warriors – It’s no surprise the Warriors are here and it would only be shocking if we didn’t see Steph and the boys in the Finals come June. The Warriors are a machine and the only thing we didn’t see coming was the emergence of 26-year-old Alfonzo McKinnie who has come out of nowhere to contribute to the success of the franchise.

It also comes as no surprise that the oddsmakers are routinely favoring the Warriors by double digits and those who make money on such events understand that one of the most trusted online sportsbooks in the industry can be seen at SBR where you can read the Bovada review before placing some action. Yes, Bovada is commonly hailed as the most venerable online sportsbook in the world and if you’ve got an inclination to get in on the action or simply need another out, give Bovada a chance to earn your business.

Denver Nuggets – Say what?! Wow, who would have thought that the Nuggets would jump out of the gates and into contention in such a big way? Not only are they winning but this is a team showing more temerity than we ever thought possible as evidenced by their 35 point fourth-quarter explosion which led them well past the Jazz in a 103-88 victory. But defense, not offense, has been the hallmark of their success on the young season and a penchant for beating up teams on the glass. How long this lasts, who knows? But right now, the Nuggets are pure gold.

Portland Trail Blazers – It’s certainly not startling to see the Blazers here, however, there is a team of note that is missing. Hmm, wonder which team that could be? Oh well, apparently, we have a failure to launch but we’ll eventually figure it out.

Portland is playing a high-tempo offense complemented by a stout defense and is doing it all while punishing the glass. CJ McCollum is not quite up to his usual lofty standards but he’s getting close and Damian Lillard is nearly unconscious with a 28 plus point per game average and hitting everything that moves.

Well, that’s it until next time people, and if you want to put your money where your mouth is when betting the NBA, make sure to check out the best online sportsbooks over at SBR.

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Eastern Conference Down to Big Three – Rest Playing for Next Year

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Eastern Conference Down to Big Three – Rest Playing for Next Year

The 2018-2019 NBA season hasn’t even tipped, yet we already know that there are realistically only three teams vying to be Eastern Conference champs. All we have to do is take a peek at what the professional oddsmakers at the world’s top betting sites are dealing on each individual team in the East to win the conference crown.

Boston Celtics -110

Toronto Raptors +375

Philadelphia 76ers +400

Milwaukee Bucks +2350

Washington Wizards +2600

Indiana Pacers +2800

New York Knicks +7000

Miami Heat +7000

Detroit Pistons +7000

Charlotte Hornets +9000

Chicago Bulls +9000

Cleveland Cavaliers +9000

Orlando Magic +12000

Brooklyn Nets +18500

Atlanta Hawks +20000

There are no shockers here as the Celtics, 76ers, and Raptors lead the list with last season’s Eastern Conference kings, the Cleveland Cavaliers, nowhere to be found now that LeBron has taken his talents to the West Coast. Perhaps the only tinge of surprise were the rather lofty odds on the Milwaukee Bucks. After all, they enjoy the services of one who many believe to be the preeminent player in the conference in Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka The Greek Freak. But one man does not a team make and that was evident last year when the Bucks were bounced in the opening round by the Celtics. Had it not been for Antetokounmpo, who led the team in scoring in four of the seven playoff games with Boston, Milwaukee would not only have been swept but would never have even sniffed the postseason. Nevertheless, the Bucks have him as well as Khris Middleton, and to a lesser extent Eric Bledsoe, to form a talented triumvirate that would be good enough to compete with the big boys if they had a more adept group surrounding them. Who knows, maybe the kid from Villanova, Donte DiVincenzo, the No. 18 pick in the draft this year will add the oomph they need. But the fact remains that Milwaukee is just another also-ran behind the Big Three.

The Toronto Raptors won the regular season title in the East last season, notching 59 wins and the No. 1 seed. But it wasn’t exactly a stunner when, after ousting the Bucks in six games, they were swept in four by LeBron James – not the Cavaliers – just LeBron. But this year they pried a disenchanted Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs which makes them a better team right from jump street. However, the loss of DeMar DeRozan in that deal should not be overlooked. Essentially, they dealt a four-time All-Star for a younger two-time All-Star. We’re not sure Kawhi is a game changer here with DeRozen out of the picture.

What we’re really down to is the Celtics versus the Sixers – conjuring images of Larry, Kevin and the Chief against Dr. J, Sir Charles, and Moses. But this is 2018 and now it’s Kyrie, Jason, and Jalen battling Joel, Ben, and Dario. The personalities may not be nearly as big as those towering figures of the 80’s but the talent is most definitely there. The key question could be the status of Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz, the top overall pick in the 2017 draft. Fultz was on the shelf shortly after he began his rookie campaign but returned near the end of the season with mixed results. But is he the real deal or a first-round bust? It’s too early to tell but if he provides the goods then the Green could be in for a reversal of fortune when they bounced the 76ers in last year’s postseason.

The Celtics have their own question that needs answering as Gordon Hayward is ready to roll after a gruesome leg injury in last year’s season opener that had fans wincing between closed eyes and gritted teeth. Will Hayward return to the form that made him the second prized free agent two seasons ago, along with Kyrie Irving? We will soon find out.

If you want action on the teams in the East or even teams in the West, make sure to check out the industry’s top betting sites and make an informed decision about where to trust your bankroll. Not all online sportsbooks are created equal so get educated and may all your wagers be winners.

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Basketball Insiders’ Intern Program 2018-2019

Basketball Insiders is looking for a few interns for the 2018-2019 season. Interested? Click for details.

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We are looking for a few good people…

Basketball Insiders Intern Program is a hands-on opportunity for enrolled college students to build their work experience and learn the behind-the-scenes operations of a professional news publication.

All positions are virtual in nature, but will require applicants to attend select meetings, attend games as assigned and work closely with a senior member of our team.

Interns will assist in transcribing interviews, preparing written reports, conducting interviews and assisting in the general preparation of news and editorial materials.

Scheduling is flexible, but most projects will require fast turnaround in a post-game environment, meaning late nights and weekends.

To qualify for the Insiders Sports’ Intern Program, applicants must be enrolled in a college or university and be in their sophomore or junior year.

All applicants must be in good academic standing and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.

To qualify, applicants must live within 20 minutes of an NBA team, have reliable internet connectivity and possess a personal laptop or desktop computer. An advanced knowledge of the NBA and its teams is a plus.

If you are interested in being considered, please submit an e-mail to interns2018@basketballinsiders.com with the following information:

Your Name:

The NBA Market Closest To You:

A Brief Paragraph On Why We Should Choose You:

Please format the e-mail exactly as stated. This position requires an ability to follow very detailed instructions, so please illustrate that in your submission.

The submission window for this opportunity will close on November 4, 2018

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