The NBA regular season is here with two marquee matchups on opening night. The Denver Nuggets are favored against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors are slightly smaller favorites against the Phoenix Suns. Let’s take a look at what else the odds say about these high-profile season openers.
All four of the teams playing on Tuesday are in the top six of NBA futures odds. The defending champion Nuggets are third in the odds (+550) behind the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, which have matching odds (+400) to start the season. The teams playing on Tuesday are the four favorites in the Western Conference.
All times Eastern. Odds are from BetMGM and update live.
Lakers at Nuggets, 7:30 p.m., TNT
This is a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets swept that series.
Both of these teams are mostly running it back with the same core players. The Nuggets were the best team in the NBA Playoffs last year and only lost four games in the postseason. Nikola Jokić can be an unstoppable force at times and the Nuggets have built a strong supporting group that forms a cohesive team.
Meanwhile, the Lakers tinkered with their bench, but are still led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Austin Reaves is emerging as a more important piece and the Lakers added Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood and Cam Reddish this offseason. This should be a better team than last year’s 43-39 record, although health has always been a factor. The Lakers made it to the conference finals after going through the Play-In Tournament.
If you’re looking for player props, Jokić has the highest listed point total at 25.5. James and Davis are both at 23.5 while Jamal Murray’s total is 22.5.
The numbers are more interesting for the Lakers’ newcomers. Vincent’s total is down at 6.5 and the over is even money. Vincent got notoriety last playoffs, averaging 12.7 points per game and helping the Miami Heat make the NBA Finals. Wood averaged 16.6 points in 67 games with Dallas last season, but his total is 8.5. It’s logical to think Wood will take fewer shots than he did with Dallas, but he can score if the Lakers give him a chance.
It’s always funny to mention Jokić’s points plus rebounds plus assists prop. The line is 48.5, which means you need a line in the vicinity of 24-15-10 to hit the over. Absurd. Jokić averaged 30 points, 13.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists in 20 games last postseason. Also absurd.
Suns at Warriors, 10 p.m., TNT
While Suns-Nuggets is the rematch of the West finals, these teams lost to those two in the West semis. The headline of this matchup is Chris Paul going up against his former team right away.
Phoenix has reworked its core group, adding Bradley Beal and Jusuf Nurkić while seeing Paul and Deandre Ayton depart. The Suns will be interesting to watch early in the season to see if the big three, Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, can fit together. However, Booker is not expected to play due to a back injury.
Phoenix Suns star Bradley Beal is unlikely to play tonight in season opener vs. the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Suns are taking a cautious approach with Beal’s back ailment to begin the new season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 24, 2023
The Warriors added Paul while sending Jordan Poole to Washington. Golden State’s core is proven and on the older side, but still must be respected with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and now Paul. Can Paul finally get a ring? Do the Warriors have another run in them?
When it comes to player props, the point totals are listed at 30.5 for both Curry and Durant. Booker is at 27.5 points. Paul’s point total is at 12.5 with his assist line at 7.5, the highest of anyone in the game.
This game won’t fully show off the new-look Suns with Beal out, but we will see how Paul and Curry share ballhandling and playmaking duties.
(Photo of Chris Paul: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)