The restart regular (“preseason”) schedule is over and now the NBA begins its real season — the NBA playoffs! Monday’s first-round slate features longtime rivals the Philadelphia 76ers versus the Boston Celtics and young Luka Doncic and his Dallas Mavericks going against Kawhi Leonard’s Los Angeles Clippers.
We’ll focus on the defending champion Toronto Raptors beginning their title defense against the 7-seed Brooklyn Nets.
Brooklyn Nets +9.5 (-110) vs. Toronto Raptors
Fortunately for the Nets +9.5 (-110), they will not have to go into “Jurassic Park” for Game 1 of the Raptors’ quest to go back-to-back. The edge of that “Holy Schnikes” moment for an unexperienced-playoff Nets team, with a new head coach, is lost.
Toronto went 3-1 in the regular season against the Nets, but Brooklyn won the last meeting and covered two of the four games. In the Dec. 14 game, the Raptors won 110-102 and covered by a half-point but the Nets were without SG Caris LeVert and PG Kyrie Irving.
Brooklyn’s 19-point loss, and against the spread loss, to Toronto on Jan. 4 mostly went awry for the Nets in a fourth-quarter they were outscored 38-22. The line was Nets (-1.5) at home (which doesn’t matter all that much in Brooklyn’s case), despite Irving being sidelined, and the Raptors were only without PG Fred VanVleet. That line tells me bookmakers respect the Nets’ depth and continuity.
The Nets have played up to their competition throughout the restart. Their upsets over 19.5-point and 9-point favorites, the Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers, respectively, were the biggest surprises of the bubble.
A big reason for Brooklyn’s feistiness is because LeVert is hoopin’. He’s putting up 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game since the restart. LeVert stole the show in Brooklyn’s last regular-season game with 37 points in a 1-point loss to the desperate Portland Trail Blazers.
Don’t get me wrong — Brooklyn ain’t winning this series and most likely not this game — but THE NETS +9.5 (-110) ARE GOOD MONEY to make it a close Game 1 against the Raptors.
New to sports betting? A $110 wager on the Nets +9.5 (-110) earns a $100 profit if Brooklyn wins or loses by nine or fewer points.
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