The 2015-16 NBA season officially begins on Tuesday with three season opener games. The action begins with a pair of 8 PM ET games between Cleveland/Chicago and Detroit/Atlanta followed by a 10:30 matchup between New Orleans and Golden State. With the new season putting basketball back in the news, oddsmakers have been busy putting up the lines for the new season.
As of today, the big basketball bookmakers have individual game lines for Tuesday’s games as well as a variety of season-long futures for the championship and division contests. Let’s dig in to tomorrow’s matchups and preview the main contenders for this season’s championship. I’ll be comparing the odds across every major betting site so you can get the best bet for your money no matter who you like.
Cavaliers @ Bulls Odds
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls tip off their seasons at the United Center in Chicago. For Cleveland, this begins a new season with Lebron James hoping to take them back for another serious run at the title. Cleveland won’t have Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert around, but LeBron James and Kevin Love will do the heavy lifting and plan to start the race for the championship with a win.
Likewise, the Chicago Bulls plan to put on a showing for their home opener backed by new coach Fred Hoiberg. Between Paul Gasol, Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, the Bulls have the starting lineup to do well this year if they stay healthy. The bookmakers have this game priced fairly closely with the best odds for each team found at:
Best Chicago Odds: 4/6
Best Cleveland Odds: 13/10 at William Hill
Pistons @ Hawks
Tuesday’s other 8 PM game happens at Philips Arena, where the Atlanta Hawks host the Detroit Pistons for Atlanta’s home opener. Coming in to the first game of the season, the Detroit Pistons hope to improve over last season with help from Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. A lot of questions remain to be answered, but Detroit fans shouldn’t put too much stock in an away victory in Atlanta.
The Hawks put together a nice 60-win season last year but fell short in the Eastern Conference Finals. They return this year with the majority of their core intact with Al Horford, Paul Milspa, Jeff Teague, Thabo Sefolosha and Kyle Korver. Throw in Tim Hardaway and you have a strong starting lineup but not a whole lot of depth. Even so, the Hawks have high prospects this year and the oddsmakers view the Hawks as the clear favorites in Tuesday’s game.
Best Detroit Odds: 5/2 at William Hill
Best Atlanta Odds: 10/29
Pelicans @ Warriors
The returning NBA Champions host the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena to wrap up Tuesdays’ slate of season openers. Here, the favored Warriors play a home game with a starting lineup that remains relatively unchanged after last year’s championship run. Thus, the oddsmakers are starting Golden State as 9.5-point favorites.
The New Orleans Pelicans face an uphill battle away on the road and against a team that they lost to by 11 points the last time they met (in Oakland). New Orleans did make the playoffs last year, but were swept by the same Golden State team they face on Tuesday. This one should go pretty easily to the Warriors.
Best New Orleans Odds: 17/4
Best Golden State Odds: 2/11
2015-16 NBA Championship Futures
It’s so early to start speculating, but dreaming of your team’s potential is what makes every new season exciting. You get a fresh start. Your team hasn’t gone 4-11 in its first fifteen games. You know that no matter what anyone says, this could be the year. We’ll start to see things shaping up soon, but the oddsmakers are already looking ahead to the 2015-16 Finals.
After coming up short in 6 games last year, this new season presents new hopes for a Cavaliers squad that is healthier than the last time around. Coincidentally, the books have the Cavaliers as this year’s favorites to win the championship.
The Spurs, Warriors, Thunder and Clippers also look to be strong contenders with nobody in that whole group listed any higher than 9/1. Over at ESPN, the word is that the public is loving some longshot action on the Lakers who are rated as high as 300/1 at one local Vegas book. The manager for the Westgate Superbook says the generous odds have lured a bunch of people to take a one-off shot on the big payout, but notes that the smart money is actually taking the under on the Lakers regular season total of 29.5 wins.
No basketball betting sites have the Lakers as high as 300 to 1, but you can find them for as high as 150/1. Now, here’s a look at where you can get the best odds for this season’s top contenders.
Cleveland Cavaliers: 11/4 at BetVictor
San Antonio Spurs: 15/4
Golden State Warriors: 5/1
Oklahoma City Thunder: 8/1 at BetVictor
LA Clippers: 10/1 at BetVictor