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Basketball is back: Previewing the NBA’s opening night tipoff

LeBron James and the Lakers are among the opening nite games.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

After months, then weeks, then days of anticipation, NBA basketball is almost here. Tomorrow night features a marquee Opening Night doubleheader on Tuesday, October 18, featuring the Golden State Warriors hosting the Los Angeles Lakers, at 10 p.m. ET. Headlined by Stephen Curry and LeBron James, respectively, the two stars have led their teams to eight of the past 11 NBA titles and have combined for six Kia NBA MVP Awards thus far in their celebrated careers.

Earlier in the night, a star-studded Eastern Conference matchup will mark the 27th consecutive season that TNT will tip off the season as the defending Eastern Conference-champion Boston Celtics — with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — host the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Joel Embiid and James Harden, at 7:30 p.m ET.

The network’s Opening Week coverage will continue with the Milwaukee Bucks and two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo visiting the 76ers on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. followed by the Lakers with James and Anthony Davis hosting the Los Angeles Clippers, with Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and offseason addition John Wall.

Today, Fear the Sword will be giving a quick preview of the Opening Week primetime games with a little help from our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. In fact, check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation for all your sports betting needs all season long!

DraftKings Odds

Opening Night spreads:

Philadelphia 76ers v. Boston Celtics (-2.5)

Los Angeles Lakers v. Golden State Warriors (-6.5)

Of the two games to open the NBA season, putting money on the Warriors to defeat the Lakers feels like the safest bet overall. Sure, the Celtics are defending Eastern Conference champions are appear primed to run the table on nearly any team thanks to their youth and athleticism. But, it’s also opening night so Boston could have a bit of an NBA Finals hangover still and the 76ers, who have a tandem of Harden and Embiid that are much more comfortable with one another, could take Boston by surprise. So, if you want to put money on the early-night game, throw some scrilla Philadelphia’s way if you’re so inclined.

When it comes to the Lakers, meanwhile, it’s fair to assume no one has any idea what to expect from them right now. Russell Westbrook and his albatross of a contract are still weighing down the roster. LeBron James is starting to show signs of wear and tear physically and, mentally, no one is sure how much longer he’ll remain patient with Los Angeles’s gross negligence of his time there. The Lakers still feel like they’re a move away from being a more competent team. Perhaps sending Westbrook and a draft pick to the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner is still an option. If that were to happen, then the Lakers start to make a bit more sense basketball-wise.

Golden State, meanwhile, is the defending champion and like Draymond Green, will likely land an unexpected knockout punch on Los Angeles early into the game. The Warriors have a nuclear nucleus of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole doing tons of damage on the perimeter. They’re also loaded with plenty of youth and athleticism as well which makes it feel all but certain that the Dubs will get a dub on Ring Night and leave Lakers-nation reeling.

Player props:

Stephen Curry three-pointers made, over 3.5 (-160): OVER

Jayson Tatum three-pointers made, over 2.5 (-120): OVER

Joel Embiid assists, over 2.5 (-235): UNDER

Anthony Davis points scored, over 21.5 (-155): UNDER

Again, Curry and Tatum are the primary offensive hubs for their respective teams. So, it feels safe to assume that they’ll be getting plenty of opportunities to play to their strength: on the perimeter.

Davis and Embiid, meanwhile, will both be putting up numbers. But, based on the defensive pressure they may face as well as other on-court responsibilities, it could be easier to feel comfortable about them not putting up the numbers required to hit the over. Either way, it’ll be a fun night for basketball to finally make its return.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.