The NBA reboot got off to a thrilling start on Thursday night. Despite the four-month layoff, both games were remarkably well played and went down to the wire. The Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz each came away with victories. Both games were decided by a single basket in the closing seconds.
Six games are scheduled for Friday, which includes an unusual slate of mid-afternoon action. The first game, Orlando vs. Brooklyn, starts at 2:30 pm, local time. The Magic will enjoy the only makings of what could be considered a "home court advantage," being that the bubble facilities at Disney World are close to Orlando. However, no fans in attendance renders all teams as visitors.
Here's a look at the latest odds from Spreads.ca:
We think two plays stand out and are worth strong consideration:
Take Orlando -7 – Brooklyn is a complete mess at the moment and hasn't looked good in scrimmages. Injuries and coaching uncertainty indicates the Nets may be playing out the string while Orlando, with close proximity to home and higher expectations will make a run for the playoffs. Typically, we wouldn't be tempted to lay this high a number (-7) in a game with so many uncertainties. However, the talent gap and motivation disparity is clear and should show in the final result. Play the chalk.
Note: In this week's "Slap Shot" video, handicapper Teddy Covers notes that Brooklyn should be the NBA's worst of the active teams.
Take Milwaukee -4.5 – The Bucks (53-12) had the NBA's best record last season, and with apologies to the Lakers, they might very well be the NBA's best team heading into the final stage of the regular season. Look for Milwaukee to make a clear statement today against their Eastern Conference rival, Boston. No way the Bucks take this opponent lightly, and with so much talent on the roster, and highly motivated, this number seems like a hurdle that's manageable. In a typical NBA mid-season game, we might not be inclined to lay chalk with two solid teams. But the re-start gives the Bucks a clear opportunity to showcase their talent. Look for them to do so, against the team many consider the major threat in the conference and a possible opponent ahead in the playoffs.