The NBA season restart begins tonight, and while the atmosphere will be much different than a typical NBA game, we will still get to see the best players in the world going at each other in the hunt for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. I would say the atmosphere will be like an AAU tournament, but seeing as most AAU tournaments have more fans in the stands than these games will, let's just say it will be a Dream Team Monte Carlo scrimmage atmosphere. I’m actually excited to hear all the shit-talking that goes on between players during games, particularly from Joel Embiid. What I’m most excited about, however, is the opportunity to take my bookie to the shed on a sport I actually follow after giving away my life savings in soccer bets. Here are my picks for the first batch of games for the NBA restart.
Pelicans -2.5 over Jazz (-110), 1 unit (Thursday, 6:30 PM)
As my colleague Charlie Benjamin illustrated in his article this week, Rudy Gobert is a fucking moron. This guy literally gave himself corona by being intentionally disgusting, and for that, I think he should be banned from the NBA for at least a season. There is no way to measure the impact on chemistry that this incident has left the Jazz, and even though Donovan Mitchell has come out and said they’ve squashed the beef, I’m not sold. The Pels have a great blend of youth and experience, with emerging stars Brandon Ingram and Zion, plus a rejuvenated Lonzo Ball, buoyed by savvy veterans Jrue Holiday, JJ Reddick, and Derrick Favors. A quick note on Zion and Lonzo: it’s foolish to hate these guys because of what the media or their respective family does. Zion didn’t ask for everyone to gargle him, and Lonzo didn’t ask for a bat-shit crazy (with well intentions) dad. These guys are ballers, and not liking them because of shit they don’t do or can’t control will limit your appreciation of their games. Give me the Pelicans as slight favorites.
Lakers -4 over Clippers, 1 unit (Thursday, 9:00 PM)
(Image via Associated Press | Marcio Jose Sanchez)
This is a weird game to pick. The Lakers are essentially playing for nothing until the playoffs start, whereas the Clippers only have a 2.5 game lead over the Nuggets. Both teams are without key contributors, with Avery Bradley missing for the Lakers and Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams definitely missing for the Clips, with Patrick Beverly potentially out as well. The Clippers are a great team one through 9, but missing these three guys will hurt. With players probably not playing as many minutes in the first few games, this will force the Clips to dig deep into their bench in this game. I can’t help but feel like this is a trap line, but I’m avoiding the age-old wisdom that if it looks like a trap, and smells like a trap, IT’S A TRAP! I’m stepping right into that motherfucker and taking Lakers -4.
Portland -2 over Grizzlies, 1 unit (Friday, 4:00 PM)
Its Dame time baby😎. Okay so story time folks. I’m a huge Russell Westbrook stan. The man gets his hate, but he plays harder than anyone in the league and is in attack mode every second he’s on the court. He’s 6 inches shorter and 50 lbs lighter than LeBron, and he averaged a triple-double for THREE STRAIGHT SEASONS. Tell me how the best player on earth has never done that once but this “glorified ball hog” has done it thrice. If you think he takes bad shots, his career field goal percentage is higher than Allen Iverson. I could go all day, but the point of this story is to tell you I bet on the Thunder every game in last year’s first-round series vs. the Blazers, and took the Thunder to win the series multiple times as well. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well for your boy. Dame’s series-clinching bomb over Paul George in that series made me a Dame believer, and I went on to make my money back in Game 7 of the Blazers v. Nuggets series when the Blazers came back from 18 down to win and I hit the live line. All’s well that ends well. Anyway, Dame is already in playoff mode, because the Blazers need to be in order to even make the playoffs. The NBA slammed the Blazers with a tough schedule, giving them only 1 game against nonplayoff teams, and that’s their last game against the Nets. They will need this one to get a game back, and I believe they do against a stingy Grizzlies team.
Rockets EVEN over Mavericks, 1 unit (Friday, 9:00 PM)
The final game of Friday night’s action should be a good one, with oddsmakers listing it as a pick’em. Both these teams have the playoffs locked up, but they could swap seeds, with the Mavs only 1.5 games behind the Rockets. I’ve really been going back and forth on this one, and what I’ve landed on is that the Rockets will come out with a stronger playoff mentality in this one than the Mavs. Videos of Boban and Luka playing one-on-one are entertaining to watch, but it seems the Mavs are just happy to be there. Granted, that’s fine considering they're a young team who’s probably a year ahead of the curve, but the Rockets should be locked in and looking to move up in the playoff standings from the 6 spot. Give me Harden and Russ over Luka and Kristaps.
If you have any issues with these picks, please feel free to keep them to yourself and kindly fuck off. Busti the Bookie yields to no man’s whims other than his own. Either get on the train or get out of the way.
Look out for more PRTY Favors🎰 coming out this weekend on a packed MLB schedule. Get your wallets ready, sports are back!