NBA Opening Night Betting Odds, Predictions, and Best Bets for Bucks-Nets and Lakers-Warriors

The NBA is finally back! On Tuesday night, the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks will face off against the Brooklyn Nets and the new-look Los Angeles Lakers will battle the Golden State Warriors in a stacked opening night slate.

Let’s try and make some money on these stellar games, shall we?

NBA Opening Night betting odds

Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo headline NBA opening night.
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks fight for the ball | Al Bello/Getty Images

Bucks vs. Nets
Bucks -1.5, O/U 233.5

In the opening game of the 2021-22 NBA season, we have the reigning champs against the betting favorites to win the title this season. You can’t ask for a much better start to the year.

The Bucks currently sit as 1.5-point home favorites over the Nets with the total set at a whopping 233.5. It’s no surprise that the total is set this high, though, as Milwaukee and Brooklyn were the two highest-scoring teams in the NBA last season.

Sportsbooks setting this spread at Bucks -1.5 signifies that these teams are rated pretty evenly in the market, so this should be a thrilling game to tip off the new NBA season.

Lakers vs. Warriors
Lakers -3, O/U 226.5

The nightcap offers a completely different dynamic than the early game on Tuesday night. LA enters its season opener as a 3-point home favorite against the Klay Thompson-less Warriors with a total sitting at 226.5. The Lakers finished last season with the second-best defense in the league in terms of points allowed per game, so it makes sense to see a much lower total slapped on this matchup.

With so many new faces now surrounding LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it’s hard to predict exactly how LA will fare to start the season, but the Lakers are getting plenty of respect from oddsmakers in Game 1.

Predictions for NBA Opening Night

Bucks vs. Nets

This potential Eastern Conference Finals preview should be a thriller from start to finish. The Bucks want to start their title defense off on the right foot, whereas the Nets are hungry for revenge after losing to Milwaukee in the playoffs last season.

A Nets team at 100% is most likely favored over the Bucks this season, but Kyrie Irving won’t be available on Tuesday night (or the rest of the season) because of his decision not to get vaccinated from COVID-19. But even without Irving, the Nets have enough offensive firepower to keep up with Giannis Antetokounmpo and company.

And in a tight game down the stretch, give me the NBA’s best closer — Kevin Durant — to make a statement in the first game of the new season.

Lakers vs. Warriors

There are so many questions surrounding Tuesday’s nightcap between the Lakers and Warriors. How long will it take this retooled LA roster to gel? Will LeBron James be able to impact the game as much offensively with Russell Westbrook commanding more of the ball? Can the promising young guns on the Warriors step up early on to fill the void still left by Thompson?

None of these will be fully answered in one night, but the established Warriors should have a path to victory over a Lakers team still trying to mesh.

Best Bets for Bucks-Nets and Lakers-Warriors

Nets ML +100

Plenty of bettors will be happy to back Milwaukee here, as the Bucks will be unveiling their 2021 title banner and handing out championship rings to the entire roster prior to the game. But we’re going to go the other way here.

While the Bucks will be reveling in their past accomplishments, the Nets will be focused solely on exacting revenge. Brooklyn will be the more locked in team from the opening tip, and getting even money on the more talented side in this matchup is definitely worth a bet.

James Harden OVER 10.5 assists +102

Without Irving in the lineup for the foreseeable future, James Harden immediately becomes the main creator for this Nets offense. Harden dished out 10.9 assists per game for Brooklyn last year, so he should only improve upon that number in 2021-22. And in nine games played without Irving on the court last season, Harden averaged 11.6 assists per contest, per StatMuse.

Getting this line at plus money is just a bonus.

Warriors +3

Look, I know everyone loves the Lakers this season, but we gotta pump the brakes on handing them the Larry O’Brien before they even play one game together. This is an entirely new roster for LeBron and Davis. It’s going to take a few weeks (or even months) to figure out how to play with this cast of characters. And I don’t see James and Westbrook fitting very well on the court, especially early in the season.

Expect the Lakers to look a little rusty on opening night, while Stephen Curry puts up another one of his iconic primetime performances. Golden State can win this one outright.

All betting odds courtesy of FanDuel as of 10/19.

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