It is January, and you know what that means? The real NBA season has begun. Many consider the Christmas day games as the unofficial start to the NBA season, and to open up 2023, TNT has two marquee matchups for its Thursday night slate, and DraftKings has you covered for all your sports betting needs.
Kicking off NBA on TNT 2023 matchups, we have Jayson Tatum and The Boston Celtics heading to the Lonestar state to take on Luka Donic and the Dallas Mavericks. Paul George, Kawhi Leonard (maybe) and the Los Angles Clippers are heading to Denver to take on Nikola Jokic, and the Nuggets.
Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks
Boston three-point favorite
The over/under is 231
Money line +130 Dallas -150
Boston heads to Dallas, coming off the worst season performance in losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Celtics gave up a team-record 150 points to a Thunder team that didn't even have its best player in Shai Gilgeous Alexander. Despite the tough loss, the Celtics still hold the best record in the league at 26-12, but that may not last long as the Nets have won 12 straight and are only 1⁄2 a game behind them in the standings.
On the other hand, the Mavericks have won seven straight games and are rolling on all cylinders. They are led by Luka Doncic, who is on one of the most dominant offensive stretches in the history of the NBA. The Mavericks have really taken off since Coach Kidd inserted Christian Wood into the starting lineup.
In this game, you will have Boston's top-rated offense going up against Dallas's top-five defense. The Celtics average a league-high 118.6 points a game. When betting the over/under, of course, you have to consider the two teams playing, the playing style if it is a back-to-back and who is playing and not playing. Normally, top teams coming off an embarrassing performance will come out the next game focused and ready to erase the last game.
Even in Doncic's last game, where he shot 10-26, he still scored 39 points because he lives at the free-throw line. This should be a competitive game and may come down to the last few possessions, so I expect a high-scoring effort by both teams.
Who will win
As mentioned earlier, this will be a competitive game. The Celtics have the best record in the league and are playing at home, but the Mavs come in on a seven-game winning streak. I give the Celtics a slight edge based on another point I made earlier. The Celtics are championship contenders and are coming off the most embarrassing loss for them in years. I think Boston comes out on top.
Take the Celtics and the points.
I am also taking the over this game, which is 231 points. As I mentioned earlier, I think this will be a high-scoring game.
The money line won't do you any favors on the Boston side because you would have to bet 150 to get 100.
LA Clippers at The Denver Nuggets
Denver is a five-point favorite
The over/under for this game is 228
The money line is +165 for the Clippers and -195 for the Nuggets
Most of the injury talk in L.A. has been centered around Anthony Davis for the Lakers, who don't have a firm timetable for a return after his latest injury. They are, however, not the only team in LA LA land dealing with injuries. In fact, the Clippers have dealt with injury for almost the entirety of the Paul George and Kwahi Leonard pairing.
As they get ready to take on the Nuggets, that may again be the case and directly affect the betting line for this game. George tweaked his hamstring in the Clippers' loss to the Heat on Monday and is possibly out vs. the Nuggets. Leonard is dealing with a non-Covid illness but is expected to play. The Clippers have lost three straight games and are now facing the Nuggets, who come in with the best record in the Western Conference at 24-13.
Of course, the Nuggets are led by the two-time MVP Nikola Jokic who somehow, despite winning the last two years, may actually be having a better season this year. Nuggets have been on fire lately as they are finally getting healthy for the first time in two years with the return of Michael Porter Jr. and Jamaal Murray.
With the first game of the night seeming to be an offensive explosion in the making, this game seems to be more of a slug-it-out heavyweight fight. The Clippers come in top five in points allowed per game and may choose to slow the pace even more, with George potentially missing time. The Nuggets are 19th, and the Clippers are 22nd in pace, and I have a feeling the Clippers will slow the game down even more in the contest.
Who will win
I'll keep this simple the Nuggets have won eight out of nine, are playing at home and are fully healthy. The Clippers are struggling, losers of three straight, and possibly playing without their best player this season, Paul George. It makes this an easy decision.
The Nuggets are a five-point favorite at home, which is a pretty big number considering the Clippers, even without George, are a decent team, but I am taking the Nuggets and the points.
The over/under is 228 for this game, and as I mentioned earlier, neither team plays at a fast pace, and the Clippers are a top-five defensive team. Take the under.
The money line for this game is even worse than the opening game for the favorite. It is -195 for the Nuggets, and since I have the Nuggets winning comfortably tonight, I would stay far away from that number.
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