Did I ever mention how much I thoroughly enjoyed the most recent NBA season? No, not because LeBron got his first ring. Not because I won money (who can win money consistently betting the NBA?). And not because of the birth of Lin-sanity (definitely not because of that). Rather, what I most enjoyed was that the lockout delayed the start of the season for 2½ months, with the first games tipping off on Christmas Day—as it should be every year. Unfortunately, the two sides couldn’t work that into their new labor pact, and so here we are on Halloween eve with the NBA launching a 2012-13 campaign that won’t end until right before the first day of summer. I guess the bright side to the long season is Blake Griffin and Amar’e Stoudemire will have that many more opportunities to get hurt. (What’s that? Stoudemire’s already out for six weeks? Why can’t I bet on this stuff?)
Anyway, I don’t have a strong opinion on any of tonight’s three season openers, but I’m putting my six-play winning streak on the line by siding with the Celtics for one main reason: I like going against defending NBA champions on opening night, and the stats back me up: Defending champs have failed to cover their season opener five straight years, and they’re 2-7 ATS in the last nine, including Dallas’ 105-94 home loss to Miami last year as a 4½-point underdog.
My theory for this trend is twofold: 1) The players get caught up in the pregame championship-ring/banner-raising ceremony and have a tough time refocusing after the ball is tipped; and 2) the oddsmakers know the public will blindly bet the defending champs (who are perceived to be the better team regardless of what happened in the offseason), and that bias is built into the spread.
For what it’s worth, I believe the Celtics upgraded their roster by exchanging Jason Terry for Ray Allen (the latter is now with the Heat), and Boston has the revenge edge here (having been knocked out by Miami in seven games in last year’s Eastern Conference finals). Note too that prior to blowing that 3-2 series lead, the Celtics last season were 8-1 ATS against the Heat, cashing six straight times as an underdog.
Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Monday’s Result: 49ers-Cardinals UNDER 38.5 (W)