It's been a long time coming, but I could be any happier to write about and bet on the NBA today. Shoutout to Adam Silver, the sharpest guy in the world of sports for pulling this off and getting the NBA back to action.
Now, it's time to cash some tickets. Remember, we were 85-75 against the spread on March 11th when the season powered down. I have also included my DFS plays for DraftKings and FanDuel for tonight's opening slate
Utah Jazz vs New Orleans Pelicans: Jazz +3
The Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans get the call to tip-off the restart of the NBA season.
We all knew the Pelicans would be on once the restart plan came into play. NBA television partners know that Zion Williamson brings big ratings, Williamson is questionable for tonight's matchup, but I would expect him to give it a go.
In this eight-game seeding round, the Pelicans will be on television six times which means we will never get a true number on the New Orleans basketball team. There is too much media hype around Zion, much like LeBron James. I don't want to underestimate the Pelicans because they were playing good basketball before the season paused, but they should not be laying multiple points to the Utah Jazz.
On March 11th, the Jazz had a record of 41-23, New Orleans had a record of 28-36, explain to me how they are three-point favorites in this game?
The answer is this. When this line first opened up, Utah was a 1.5 point favorite. Then, the Zion Williamson loving public bettors pushed this number all the way up to Pelicans -3. As we get closer to game time it could be even higher.
New Orleans will be the public bettors' darling, but we cash tickets on this side. Take the Jazz +3 and batter the moneyline. The total in this game opened up at 218 and has been bet up to 227, I'm not sure what to do an almost 10-point line jump so I will leave that alone.
Los Angles Clippers vs Los Angeles Lakers: Over 217.5
Full disclosure, I probably will not be betting a side on this game until halftime, but I'm leaning towards taking the Clippers +4.
These Clipper / Laker games are very hard to handicap. First of all, they are made for television events, I'm a "League Pass" kind of guy; I make my money on the games people don't watch to watch!
The Clippers and Lakers have played three times this season, with the Clippers winning two out of the three. The most recent game was on March 8th when the Lakers won by nine points and were playing their best ball of the season.
Tonight will be a little different. Anthony Davis has an eye issue but he is planning on playing, the Clippers will be without Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, and Patrick Beverley is also questionable. This game is really just a Disney sponsored exhibition since these two teams have nothing to play for in the seeding round. Both teams are pretty much locked into their seeds (Lakers with a 5.5-game lead over the Clippers), but when it's L.A. vs L.A. it will be a big deal, so I can see the players playing their best tonight. In fact, I can see this game being so intense that it could actually go to overtime so I'm taking the over.
DFS Plays for DraftKings and FanDuel
C: Anthony Davis, Los Angles Lakers
The Clippers' best defenders can't handle Anthony Davis since they really don't have anyone who can guard him. The last time these two teams met, Davis put up 47 fantasy points.
PG/SG Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
I'm pretty sure most of you didn't know that Holiday averages 40 fantasy points a game. New Orleans does not try on defense. All they do is run up and down and shoot, making them an always entertaining team to add to your lineups.
PG/SG Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Mitchell is my favorite DFS play on the opening slate, Mitchell had a 37-point scoring night and a 46 point scoring night against the Pelicans earlier this season, so why turn away from him now?
SG/SF JJ Redick, New Orleans Pelicans
Redick always has a chance at getting on a heater from three in a game I expect a lot of scoring. Look for Redick to put up enough threes to hit fantasy value at a very low price point.
SG/SF Landry Shamet, Los Angeles Clippers
Shamet is priced to play tonight with both Lou Williams and Motrezl Harrell already out for tonight's game, Patrick Beverley will likely be out as well, leaving Shamet enough minutes to hit fantasy value and perhaps more.