Minnesota Timberwolves @ LA Lakers: Lakers -5 – 10/11
As if there wasn’t enough going on for Lakers coach Luke Walton, having Magic Johnson giving non-committal quotes prior to your team getting well-beaten by a Raptors team resting Kawhi Leonard is probably something he could do without.
The Lakers haven’t quite hit the road running with LeBron on board, but with so much turnover on the roster, you’d think the coach could count on some leeway.
Still, at least he doesn’t have to deal with Jimmy Butler. Not yet anyway.
Butler’s continuing attachment to Minnesota has the Wolves chasing their tails this season.
They’re losing games they can’t afford to because one of their star players essentially decides whether he wants to play a game or not.
His status for tonight is still up in the air. Even the games he has played haven’t seen enough of a return in the win column.
They’re on a five-game road trip and have lost the first three. This is spiralling, and even the Lakers should cover -5 with their heavy scoring.
Denver Nuggets @ Memphis Grizzlies: Over 204.5 Total Points – 10/11
Second-year point guard Jamal Murray lit up the league best Boston Celtics defence on Monday night for the surging Nuggets. His cheeky three-point attempt at crossing the half-century mark is a sign of the cockiness coursing through their 9-1 veins.
They’re accountable for the the sole loss on Golden State’s record too – beating the Warriors is likely to feel like winning a title in itself this season the way they’ve started.
Memphis feel like a cheaper version of Denver, they just can’t match the consistency of their opponents tonight.
Both of these teams have been tight so far, but 204.5 still looks low to us, especially with road team in such strong form. We’d fancy the over on it.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Cleveland Cavaliers: Over 5.5 Assists Dennis Schroder – 4/6
Cleveland hasn’t seen a shambles like the current Cavs, since… well, the Browns last season, who were pure, unsifted-for-recyclables trash. But their hardcourt counterparts don’t look much better this year.
Just like the Browns, they’ve fired their coach already, but have somehow managed to embarass themselves even more by appointing an interim trainer without making sure he wanted the gig.
They’ve also lost Kevin Love for an extended period, just when he was to step up to become the face of the franchise.
OKC are also without their main man, Russell Westbrook, but fortunately they have Paul George in the line-up. The Thunder should take care of the Cavs, even on home court, and Westbrook’s absence – his injury does not appear to be as bad as first feared – gives Dennis Schroder a chance to contribute more.
In the two games Russ missed already this season, the German point guard has posted eight and six assists, and averages six per game, so he should get over the 5.5 total line here at 4/6.
New York Knicks @ Atlanta Hawks: Over 221 Total Points – 10/11
This won’t have everyone licking their chops as both these teams are in the middle of turning over their rosters, but there should be some entertainment from Atlanta’s budding star Trae Young.
Picked fifth overall, the rookie is staking a claim for end-of-year honours through the opening weeks with his scoring and vision. He leads his team in points, minutes and assists per game. When John Collins is healthy, the Hawks backcourt could be worth watching.
The Knicks are waiting on a return of their own.
Until Kristaps Porzingis returns some time in 2019, it feels like everyone concerned with the Knicks is marking time.
They’ve put up some stout resistance in early games, and have shown they can score on weak defences, but for now, you’re just looking for any signs of progress if you’re following David Fizdale’s side.
Atlanta allow the fourth most points in the league, and played last night. That’ll help the Knicks score. Over 221 looks reachable for these two.
*All odds correct at time of posting