Mon, Oct 16, 9:16pm by Staff Writer
The 2017-18 NBA season tips off on Wednesday morning with a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, with the Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the Boston Celtics from 11:10am AEDST on ESPN.
In the second match of the day, the Golden State Warriors host the Houston Rockets at 1:40pm AEDST from Oracle Arena.
Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers, 11:10am AEDST from Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
The Cavaliers and the Celtics both start the 2017-18 season with new point guards and high hopes of going one step further than they did last season.
Cleveland has acquired Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder from the Celtics, as well as veteran point guard Derrick Rose and superstar Dwyane Wade.
Wade is reunited with his old pal LeBron James, who he won two NBA titles with in Miami in 2012 and 2013.
The Celtics have signed free agent Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazz and made a trade for former Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving in the off-season.
The Celtics depth has taken a huge hit this offseason, losing Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder.
Boston will be hoping for improved play from Jaylen Brown and a breakout season from rookie Jayson Tatum to ensure the compete with Cleveland.
With LeBron James sustaining an ankle injury during his only pre-season appearance against Chicago, he is questionable for this match.
James has never missed a season opener and it would be surprising if he did on Wednesday, given how innocuous his injury appeared.
He did participate in the Cavs most recent shootaround, with coach Tyrone Lue appearing optimistic that James would play on Wednesday.
Season openers have a habit of producing surprise results, so it would not be a shock if Boston won this match.
Irving will be fired up against his old team and James’ lack of pre season play may cause him to play sluggishly, particularly early on.
In a close match, Boston and the 3.5 point handicap on Sportsbet appears the best play.
Best bet: Boston Celtics to cover the 3.5 point handicap at $1.95 on Sportsbet
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors, 1:40pm at Oracle Arena, Oakland
The Golden State Warriors will begin their final season at Oracle Arena with a championship banner unfurling, to celebrate the 2016-17 NBA Championship winning team.
Warriors players will also receive their Championship rings in what is sure to be an emotional night in Oakland.
The Warriors have kept the same core of players which took them to the summit last season.
Usual suspects Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will look to take the Warriors to their third title in four seasons, which they are a staggeringly short $1.62 to do.
The Rockets signed Chris Paul in the off-season, after orchestrating a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for a host of players including Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and Louis Williams.
Houston’s game plan revolves around quick offence and attempting a lot of three point shots or uncontested layups.
Coach Mike D’Antoni is known for his much maligned seven-second offence, which he will expect Chris Paul to seamlessly integrate into his repertoire this season.
Paul’s point guard play will free up James Harden to play his more traditional role of shooting guard, after Harden did the bulk of the Rocket’s ball handling last season.
Houston are 9.5 point underdogs in this match, which is far too many points to be giving away to an offence as powerful as the Rockets.
P.J. Tucker, acquired from the Toronto Raptors will look to lock down Kevin Durant and he is one of the more impressive defensive players in the NBA.
Another play which appeals is betting on the total points market. Currently set at 231.5, the last two matches between the teams have produced 219 and 205 points respectively.
Being the start of a new season, the first half will be particularly scratchy and points will be difficult to come by, especially from behind the three-point arc.
Best bet 1: Houston Rockets to cover the 9.5 point handicap at $1.95 on Sportsbet
Best bet 2: Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors total match points under 231.5 at $1.91 on Sportsbet
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