It’s been almost 18 months since Derrick Rose last played a competitive NBA game but the new season brings a fresh start for the former MVP following an extensive rehab from an ACL injury. And the Chicago Bulls star gets an immediate test of his status on the opening night of the new campaign with a visit to the Miami Heat.
Rose averaged 20.7 points per game as the Bulls went a perfect 8-0 in the pre-season, raising hopes that the Bulls can emerge again out of the East to end Miami’s championship reign. Completely healthy and seemingly back to his best, he’s 12.00 to be the league’s leading scorer, with his team 5.25 to win the Conference, and we will get a glimpse of their potential through how they cope with the Heat.
LeBron James and Co are overwhelming favourites to win a third title in a row and with memories still fresh of their distinctly average start last term, they’ve been going harder in camp with their entire roster reporting in prime shape. That should allow them to contend with the Bulls to be the NBA’s top defensive crew and, with both setting out their stalls, it may keep this clash below the line of 187 total points at 1.91.
Chicago are 2.70 to draw first blood but have a look at the Heat at 1.94 on the handicap of -4.5 to pick up where they left off in June.
The honour of tipping off the new campaign, strangely, falls to the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers. The Magic look set for another year in rebuilding mode as they harness young talent and draft picks. But the Pacers are going for a title and even with Danny Granger missing the opening few weeks, expect them to deliver at -11.5 on the handicap at 1.91 and maintain their strong record at home.
There’s also a Los Angeles derby on opening night with the Clippers ‘visiting’ the Lakers. The Clips are under pressure to deliver, now that they are without question the top dogs in LA. However the Lakers were 4-4 in pre-season and they might be worth a punt on the handicap of +8.5 at 1.91.
Bet of the Day: Take Miami at 1.94 on the handicap of -4.5 against Chicago.