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NBA Opening Night Betting Preview and Analysis for 2021-22

| September 17, 2021 9:31 am PDT

The 2021-22 NBA season may be a month away, but it’s never too early to look ahead and place your bets.

Opening night features a pair of fantastic matchups.

In the Eastern Conference, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks will host the Brooklyn Nets. The nightcap will feature a matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.

If bettors really want to look ahead, we already have a breakdown of the NBA Christmas Day slate.

For now, let’s break down the opening night matchups.

2021-22 NBA Opening Night Odds

The 2021-22 NBA season tips off with the defending champs hosting the Brooklyn Nets. The other game has the Lakers and Warriors facing off.

There are just two games on the docket, but these two matchups carry plenty of excitement, and should be fun to bet on.

Let’s take a quick look at the NBA opening night pricing for both contests.

Nets vs. Bucks Odds

  • Brooklyn Nets (EVEN): -110
  • Milwaukee Bucks (EVEN): -110
  • Brooklyn Nets to Win (-110)
  • Milwaukee Bucks to Win (-110)
  • Over 239.5 (-110)
  • Under 239.5 (-110)

I know the Milwaukee Bucks are the defending champs, but it surprises me that the Brooklyn Nets aren’t the favorite.

Milwaukee is being respected here, though, and it’s worth noting that they’ll be at home.

As long as their big three is healthy, I believe they are the better team. That could give bettors immediate value when you look at the early NBA opening night odds.

Warriors vs. Lakers Odds

  • Golden State Warriors (+4.5): -110
  • Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5): -110
  • Golden State Warriors to Win (+170)
  • Los Angeles Lakers to Win (-200)
  • Over 229.5 (-110)
  • Under 229.5 (-110)

Both teams enter the 2021-22 season with championship aspirations. The opening night will tell a lot about which team is a serious threat to win it all.

Golden State could offer value when looking at this spread, while a healthy Dubs squad priced at +170 will be tough to ignore.

Few can forget the last time these two sides met, after all.

Battles between Stephen Curry and LeBron James are always must-see TV, but the return of Klay Thompson pushes this one over the top.

Nets vs. Bucks Matchup Breakdown

The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks gave us the best playoff series of the 2021 NBA playoffs. Let’s break down their opening night matchup and check out some keys to the game.

Can the Brooklyn Nets Begin the Season Healthy?

On paper, the Brooklyn Nets have the best team in the NBA. I don’t think anyone can compete with their big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.

Durant looked like the best player in the world in the playoffs last season, while Harden and Irving are top-five at their position. The only issue is that none of them can stay healthy for a long period of time.

Both Durant and Irving began the season with the Nets. Harden joined the team in January and made his Nets debut in their 14th game. That means all three players were on the roster for 59 regular-season games. Guess how many they all played together. Eight!

Check out how many games each player missed last season.

  • Kevin Durant: 37 missed games
  • James Harden: 23 missed games
  • Kyrie Irving: 18 missed games

Irving missed most of his time in January, Durant missed over a month from mid-February to April, and Harden only played in three of the final 24 games.

The big three finally came back together in the playoffs.

They cruised through the opening round before injuries to Harden and Irving led to them missing time in the Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite a heroic effort from Durant, Brooklyn fell short.

Thankfully, none of these players are dealing with any injuries right now and should be ready for the start of the season. However, we know injuries can happen at any time and they are more likely once training camp and the preseason begin.

Can the Nets defeat the Bucks with one or two of their stars out? Yes, but as we saw last season, it’ll be very difficult. It’s a lot easier with everyone healthy.

It’s just one game but every team wants to start the season off on the right foot.

How Will the Bucks Slow Down Kevin Durant?

The last time we saw these two teams face each, Kevin Durant put on a performance for the ages.

Actually, he had three consecutive performances that reminded people he is still one of the best players in the game, if not the best.

Stat Game 5 Game 6 Game 7
Points 49 32 48
Rebounds 17 11 9
Assists 10 3 6
Field Goals 16/23 15/30 17/36
Three-Pointers 4/9 2/8 4/11

That doesn’t even include the other four games in the series where he scored between 28 and 32 points.

Had Durant not had his foot on the line on the game-tying two-pointer in Game 7, we may be talking about the Brooklyn Nets as the defending champions.

Honestly, I didn’t understand the Milwaukee Bucks defensive game plan in last year’s playoff series. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday have five All-Defensive First-Team honors between them. However, Milwaukee primarily used Khris Middleton to guard Durant.

Middleton isn’t a bad defender, but he isn’t on the level of Antetokounmpo. Plus, Antetokounmpo’s size matches up much better with the seven-footer. I’m curious to see what kind of adjustment the Bucks make for their opening night matchup.

One option we know is they won’t have P.J. Tucker.

Tucker joined the Bucks midway through the 2020-21 season and made his impact on the defensive end. While Middleton primarily guarded Durant last season, we saw Tucker match up against him a good amount.

This offseason, Tucker left the Bucks to sign a two-year deal with the Miami Heat. Signing Tucker made Miami one of the most improved NBA teams this offseason.

The great news for Bucks fans is Tucker is the only major contributor they lost this offseason. They have the talent to defeat the Nets to open the 2020-21 season, but it’s going to come down to whether they can slow down Durant.

Milwaukee can’t be allowing any more 45+ point games.

Warriors vs. Lakers Matchup Breakdown

The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers have represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals nine times in the last 14 seasons. How can each team start their march to another Finals appearance?

Let’s break down my keys to the game.

How Will Klay Thompson Look in His Return?

Klay Thompson played an instrumental role in the Golden State Warriors five consecutive NBA Finals appearances. He averaged over 20 points in each season, while also shooting over 40 percent from three-point range.

In Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Thompson tore his ACL. The injury forced him to miss the entire 2019-20 season.

With Thompson’s return, people expected the Warriors to return to contention. Unfortunately, Thompson tore his Achilles a month before the start of the 2020-21 season.

This season, Thompson will return to the court for the first time since the 2019 NBA Finals. His return has already made a big difference in the sportsbooks.

Right now, the Warriors have the fourth-best odds to win the title. If you’d like to bet on that, visit BetOnline.

Everyone knows Thompson for his elite shooting, but his game is so much more than that.

Check out a few of Thompson accolades from his eight-year playing career.

  • Three-Time NBA Champion
  • Five-Time All-Star
  • All-Defensive Second-Team (2019)

It certainly doesn’t hurt that he plays with the greatest shooter of all time in Stephen Curry. Curry attracts so much attention that it’s easy for Thompson to get open looks. His lightning-quick release means he doesn’t need a ton of space to knock down a three-pointer.

I think the big question everyone is asking is will Thompson be the same player coming off two major injuries.

We’ve seen plenty of players come back from ACL tears but Achilles injuries typically stick with you. Everyone will point to Kevin Durant as an example of a player successfully coming back from an Achilles injury. However, I’d say he is an outlier. Many great players have never been the same following the injury.

At age 31, it’ll be interesting to see how Thompson looks in his return to the NBA. His performance will likely make a big difference in the Warriors championship hopes.

How Will the New Look Lakers Perform?

Did any team go through a bigger transition this offseason than the Los Angeles Lakers? Depending on who you ask, they either have a super team or their team is a retirement home. It’s funny to hear fans’ responses to their offseason moves.

It looks like the Lakers 2021-22 roster is ready for the regular season. Let’s look at the players they acquired and lost this offseason.

Players Acquired Players Departed
Russell Westbrook Dennis Schroder
Kendrick Nunn Montrezl Harrell
Rajon Rondo Kyle Kuzma
Wayne Ellington Andre Drummond
Malik Monk Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Trevor Ariza Markieff Morris
Kent Bazemore Alex Caruso
Carmelo Anthony Marc Gasol
Dwight Howard
DeAndre Jordan

So, basically, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Talen Horton-Tucker are the only three players remaining from last year’s roster.

Russell Westbrook is obviously the biggest name to join the Lakers this offseason. When the season begins, this will be the fourth different team Westbrook has played for in the last four seasons.

Los Angeles brought in the nine-time all-star to give the Lakers an elite ball handler. James operated the point guard position last season but they would like to take some pressure off him.

The rest of the roster consists of veterans and/or three-point shooters.

Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo return following a season away from the Lakers. Each player played a valuable role in the Lakers 2020 championship.

If we’re being honest, a lot of these guys are ring chasing.

They know playing on a team with LeBron James will give them a great chance to win the NBA Finals.

To be fair, Los Angeles did add a pair of young guys in Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk.

Will the Lakers live up to the hype this season? See where they stand among contenders in the Western Conference.

Betting on 2021-22 NBA Opening Night

The first few games of the NBA season can be tough to bet on because we don’t know how the offseason additions will perform.

It’s probably best to go with the most talented teams. In this case, that’s the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.

If you want to place your bet, feel free to check out the best betting sites for the NBA.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

More Posts by Nicholas Contact Nicholas

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