The start of the 2022-23 NBA season has been nothing close to expected so far. Bad teams keep winning, good teams keep struggling, every game is either all offense or all defense, and the hilarity on a game-by-game basis has been nothing short of spectacular.
The TNT double-header on Tuesday night is the perfect follow-up to a fun first week of the season. First, the New Orleans Pelicans will take on the Dallas Mavericks in the Big Easy in a battle between two projected playoff teams in the Western Conference.
After that matchup, the second game of the TNT double-header will remain in the West with a battle of powerhouses. The Golden State Warriors will travel to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns in what could be a Western Conference Finals preview.
Let’s dive into each matchup.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Dallas Mavericks
Tuesday, 10/25 at 5:30pm MST on TNT
The Pelicans were one of the few teams who began the season 2-0 after grabbing back-to-back wins on the road, but in their third game, against the surprisingly stingy Utah Jazz, they lost 122-121 in overtime. Still, despite their single blemish to the undefeated Jazz, the start of the season has been encouraging for the Pelicans.
Zion Williamson is still getting back to full strength, but you would not know that if you just looked at his raw statistical output. Williamson is reminding everyone just how undeniable he was when healthy. Even as he shakes off the rust, New Orleans has a roster surrounding him that is able to carry the load with or without Williamson. Brandon Ingram seems to get better with every game he plays, C.J. McCollum continues to pick up the offensive slack, and the rest of their roster is filled with productive role players.
Dallas is significantly more one-dimensional; as everyone expected. The team lives and dies by the productivity of Luka Doncic who is tearing through the league as usual. Christian Wood is already making his case for Sixth Man of the Year in his first couple games with the Mavericks as well. They have a good roster, but lack optionality and versatility which makes them predictable. Still, no matter how prepared a defense is, Doncic will win the matchup more often than not.
- Doncic is the leader for odds to win MVP at +400 according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Wood has the second best odds (+350) to win Sixth Man of the Year according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Despite Doncic’s greatness, Dallas has just the 10th best odds to win the title this year at +2200 according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
- New Orleans has a win total this year of just 46.5 according to DraftKings Sportsbook which feels low considering their early-season success and the potential of their roster.
Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors
Tuesday, 10/25 at 8pm MST on TNT
While both the Suns and Warriors have the team construction to be contenders, they are both navigating their way past the off-court issues which have left each organization vulnerable.
The Suns are going through it. Beyond the Robert Sarver scandal and the selling of the team, Phoenix has also dealing with an unhappy Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder requesting a trade, and worries about their ability to play at the same level as the past few seasons.
For the Warriors, they are still contending with the punch heard around the world when Draymond Green leveled Jordan Poole during practice. Overall, it seems like Golden State is slowly getting past the incident, but there is no denying the volatility sitting beneath the surface.
- Both the Warriors and Suns are locked in a three-way tie with the Boston Celtics for best odds to win the NBA title at +600 according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Steph Curry currently sits at +1600 to win MVP according to DraftKings Sportsbook which eighth-best and could be a great value bet.
- Poole is currently the favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year according to DraftKings Sportsbook at +310.
- Despite the Suns strong odds to win the NBA title, Devin Booker’s MVP odds are quite low at +3500 which is 13th-highest overall according to DraftKings Sportsbook. He might be one of the best value bets for a dark-horse MVP candidate; especially if the Suns win a lot of regular season games.
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