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Tag: 2020-12-23

. . Before his first game at the Miami Heat, Avery Bradley praised the connection between head coach Erik Spoelstra and two of the team's stars, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Bradley was signed by the Heat during his freelance agency stint last month and has found during his brief tenure on the team that the leadership and basketball intellect of Butler and Adebayo come from Spoelstra giving them the freedom to do theirs Play games.
. . The NBA season officially started with the double header on Tuesday, but it seems like the real start is Wednesday when the remaining 26 teams kick off their 2020-21 campaigns in a jam-packed list for weather. Here are some of our favorite games on the 13-game table: Miami Heat (-3) at Orlando Magic, 16 S.. . m. ETI knows I'm higher than the general consensus in the heat, but I certainly can't be the only one looking at that line and scratching my head. After Miami finally got over a rash of injuries at the end of the 2019-20 season, it beat the spread in the playoffs 15: 5: 1 - the third-best postseason record for a team since 2002 (at least 10 games). . The Heat kicks off this year with a similar list of young up and coming stars who are likely to want to prove themselves after failing in the finals a year ago. The Magic, meanwhile, doesn't have a solid guard rotation even at full strength - which is an issue against Miami's tenacious full defense - while their defense is an important issue without Jonathan Isaac, who will miss the year with a torn ACL. The heat is 8-4 ATS at the season opener under Erik Spoelstra, and they are well suited for a statement win on Wednesday. Selection: Heat -3 New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors (-4. 5), 19:30 p. m. I may be too tough on the Raptors kicking off the season after an impressive 2019-20 season, but I worry that what made Toronto so special over the past two years is no longer there. Gone are Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, whose elite central defense over the past two seasons laid the foundation for the Raptors' stifling defense. Aron Baynes and Alex Len are worthwhile additions, but Toronto's defense has to slip and its offensive relies too much on the growth of suspicious offensive options to inspire me. This is a bad matchup to test that central defense too, as Zion Williamson looks set for an outstanding second season on an upgraded Pelicans forecourt. Give me the points in a game that could go either way. Selection: pelicans 4. 5Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers (-1. 5), 10 p. m. Something seems to be changing with jazz going through inconsistency spells over the past year and building a strained relationship between its two stars over the past nine months. Utah ended the season with an 11-21-2 ATS run, and while Donovan Mitchell's playoff performance is encouraging, Mike Conley's late-season breakdown is not. The blazers also disappointed the weather a season ago, although the injuries were the bigger culprit there. Zach Collins is still recovering from an ankle surgery, but Jusuf Nurkic is a key returner for a remodeled Portland lineup that finally has versatile wings to add to its star backcourt. If Damian Lillard can open this year with the same fire he showed last season, the blazers at the start of the campaign would be a clear value. For the moment, it's still worth betting at a modest price. Selection: Trail Blazer -1. 5Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (-1), 10:30 p. m. I love the Suns as an up-buy after an aggressive off-season while I feared the Mavericks could become overrated after reaching their potential a year ago. So I wasn't expecting to find any value for Dallas in this season opener matchup. Even so, it's hard not to like the Mavericks here after returning the bulk of a roster that ranked sixth in the net rating (4). 8) and first in the offensive rating (115. 9) in 2019-20. Phoenix was impressive in the bubble and has improved their roster this off-season, but this team has yet to figure out exactly what it is offensive with Chris Paul playing alongside a heavily used star in Devin Booker. The Mavericks are clearly valued higher than the Suns in the futures market, and the home court shouldn't give that much consideration without fans in attendance. I'm sure I'll bet a lot on Phoenix this year, but this place won't be one of those times. Selection: Mavericks 1 (Odds source: theScore Bet) C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He is an award-winning journalist with positions at The Charlotte Observer, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Times Herald-Record and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea can only match that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.
. . The NBA season officially started with the double header on Tuesday, but it seems like the real start is Wednesday when the remaining 26 teams kick off their 2020-21 campaigns in a jam-packed list for weather. Here are some of our favorite games on the 13-game table: Miami Heat (-3) at Orlando Magic, 16 S.. . m. ETI knows I'm higher than the general consensus in the heat, but I certainly can't be the only one looking at that line and scratching my head. After Miami finally got over a rash of injuries at the end of the 2019-20 season, it beat the spread in the playoffs 15: 5: 1 - the third-best postseason record for a team since 2002 (at least 10 games). . The Heat kicks off this year with a similar list of young up and coming stars who are likely to want to prove themselves after failing in the finals a year ago. The Magic, meanwhile, doesn't have a solid guard rotation even at full strength - which is an issue against Miami's tenacious full defense - while their defense is an important issue without Jonathan Isaac, who will miss the year with a torn ACL. The heat is 8-4 ATS at the season opener under Erik Spoelstra, and they are well suited for a statement win on Wednesday. Selection: Heat -3 New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors (-4. 5), 19:30 p. m. I may be too tough on the Raptors kicking off the season after an impressive 2019-20 season, but I worry that what made Toronto so special over the past two years is no longer there. Gone are Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, whose elite central defense over the past two seasons laid the foundation for the Raptors' stifling defense. Aron Baynes and Alex Len are worthwhile additions, but Toronto's defense has to slip and its offensive relies too much on the growth of suspicious offensive options to inspire me. This is a bad matchup to test that central defense too, as Zion Williamson looks set for an outstanding second season on an upgraded Pelicans forecourt. Give me the points in a game that could go either way. Selection: pelicans 4. 5Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers (-1. 5), 10 p. m. Something seems to be changing with jazz going through inconsistency spells over the past year and building a strained relationship between its two stars over the past nine months. Utah ended the season with an 11-21-2 ATS run, and while Donovan Mitchell's playoff performance is encouraging, Mike Conley's late-season breakdown is not. The blazers also disappointed the weather a season ago, although the injuries were the bigger culprit there. Zach Collins is still recovering from an ankle surgery, but Jusuf Nurkic is a key returner for a remodeled Portland lineup that finally has versatile wings to add to its star backcourt. If Damian Lillard can open this year with the same fire he showed last season, the blazers at the start of the campaign would be a clear value. For the moment, it's still worth betting at a modest price. Selection: Trail Blazer -1. 5Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (-1), 10:30 p. m. I love the Suns as an up-buy after an aggressive off-season while I feared the Mavericks could become overrated after reaching their potential a year ago. So I wasn't expecting to find any value for Dallas in this season opener matchup. Even so, it's hard not to like the Mavericks here after returning the bulk of a roster that ranked sixth in the net rating (4). 8) and first in the offensive rating (115. 9) in 2019-20. Phoenix was impressive in the bubble and has improved their roster this off-season, but this team has yet to figure out exactly what it is offensive with Chris Paul playing alongside a heavily used star in Devin Booker. The Mavericks are clearly valued higher than the Suns in the futures market, and the home court shouldn't give that much consideration without fans in attendance. I'm sure I'll bet a lot on Phoenix this year, but this place won't be one of those times. Selection: Mavericks 1 (Odds source: theScore Bet) C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He is an award-winning journalist with positions at The Charlotte Observer, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Times Herald-Record and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea can only match that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.
. . Kobie Parfitt was last seen eight months ago and the police have now made a discovery in a mine shaft.
. . The Miami Heat, just seven weeks after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA final, will attend the Orlando Magic for both teams on Wednesday night at the season opener.
. . The National Basketball Association's 2020-21 season opening lists will feature 107 international players from 41 countries, including a record 17 from Canada.

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