Just like last season, L.A.’s two franchises come in as the top two contenders in both the Western Conference and the NBA. No doubt because of those expectations, they will have a showdown to kick the season off on the NBA’s opening night. Though LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard are the two big stars on their respective teams, if last year is any indication, it will be their so-called sidekicks who are offering more betting value at Staples Center on Tuesday.
Free Picks: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Sidekicks To Play Big On Opening Day In L.A.
Though a highly anticipated Western Conference Finals matchup between the Lakers and Clippers never materialized last season thanks to a historically bad collapse by the Clippers in the second round, the two titans of the West still had a quartet of regular season matchups that we can look at to find a betting advantage for Tuesday’s 2020-2021 season opener.
In three matchups against the Lakers last season, Paul George averaged 26 points per game. While top dog Kawhi Leonard was also hooping in four games against the Lakeshow last year (30 points a game), George’s props for this opening game offer far more value. While I wouldn’t kick Leonard’s OVER 26.5 points (-120 odds on 22Bet) prop out of bed, George’s points prop is sitting at just 21.5 (-137), which is criminally low.
The Palmdale, California native had an admittedly awful run in the seeding games and playoffs in the bubble at the end of last season, which is probably a contributing factor to his surprisingly low points prop. Many teams, and the Lakers could fall into this category, could take George less seriously as a scoring threat to start this season because of that abysmal display in the 2020 NBA playoffs—they would be wrong to do this. Recent playoff struggles aside, George is a big-time performer in the regular season and with Kawhi Leonard occupying the better part of the defense’s focus, 22 points should be no problem for PG-13 on Tuesday.
On the flip side, the big taco for the Lakers, LeBron James, averaged just 21.3 points in those four matchups with the Clippers. Sports betting site 22Bet has put his points prop at 25.5, a number he topped in just one of those four games. His second-in-command, Anthony Davis, was another story. The Brow averaged 28.3 points per game against the Clips, topping 30 points in the two most recent meetings.
Davis’ points prop is sitting at just 26.5, so we’re thinking the OVER is the wager to make there since the Clippers clearly struggle to deal with his unique blend of size and athleticism. Despite the offseason arrival of Serge Ibaka for the Clippers, they still don’t have nearly the type of size that is needed to stifle Anthony Davis, so I’d expect him to have a big game and crush the OVER on his points. Did we mention the OVER on Davis’ points prop is offering unbelievably good value at +100? This one’s a no-brainer. If you’re looking to do a parlay, the George points OVER paired with the Davis points OVER will net you odds of about +250.
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.