October 20 NBA Predictions – Part 1

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October 20 is the start of the season for 22 NBA teams. With that, we have more NBA predictions. Last night, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks rolled the Brooklyn Nets while Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors upset the Los Angeles Lakers. If this is any indication, the NBA season ahead will be exciting and unpredictable as always, with Boston Celtics/New York Knicks opening the night on ESPN and Denver Nuggets/Phoenix Suns ending the night on ESPN.

NBA Predictions: October 20 Matchups – Part 1

Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons NBA 

Spread: Pistons +5, O/U 220

The new-look Chicago Bulls open up their season in Detroit against a young Pistons team. Unfortunately, rookie Cade Cunningham’s debut game is delayed as he is dealing with an ankle injury. This is a game the Bulls should win. Zach Lavine, Nikola Vucevic, and DeMar DeRozan make up one of the deadliest three-man offensive combinations in the league. Most of the Bulls’ problems will be on the defensive end, although they have defensive playmakers in Lonzo Ball, Patrick Williams, and Alex Caruso. Jerami Grant and Isaiah Stewart should be able to score at the rim at will, but the Pistons don’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the Bulls in this game. 

 

Final Score: Bulls 119, Pistons 110

 

Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets 

Spread: Hornets -2, O/U 224

This game is a rematch of the first Eastern Conference play-in game last year, where the Pacers won 144-117. Charlotte surprisingly hung in the playoff race last year, mostly due to the play of guards LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier. This Hornets team is looking to push the pace early and often, and the return of Gordon Hayward will give them some half-court scoring. Indiana is already dealing with a laundry list of injuries. TJ Warren and Caris LeVert are out and Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and Justin Holiday are all game-time decisions. This will likely be a close game, but I like Charlotte to get it done on their home court.

 

Final Score: Pacers 106, Hornets 111

 

Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors 

Spread: Raptors -2.5, O/U 218

The Raptors are back in Toronto for the first time since COVID shut down the league. Both teams will be missing their starting power forwards, as Pascal Siakam and Rui Hachimura are both out. Washington is flying under the radar a bit this year. They have Bradley Beal, Spencer Dinwiddie, and some solid role players. Toronto is looking to make its way back into the playoffs after missing last year. Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Goran Dragic will need to carry the offensive load tonight. These are two pretty even teams, but Toronto’s homecourt boost will give them this game.

 

Final Score: Wizards 104, Raptors 107

 

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks 

Spread: Knicks -2, O/U 218.5

The early ESPN game is a matchup of two teams that had opposite previous years. The Celtics largely disappointed, as they went out to the Nets in five games. Playoff basketball returned to the Garden for the first time since 2013, even though the Knicks bowed out to Atlanta in five games also. Jaylen Brown is questionable in this game due to a positive COVID test during the preseason. Both sides have new starting point guards, as Boston signed Dennis Schroder and New York signed former Celtic Kemba Walker. Walker and Evan Fournier give the Knicks an offensive boost, but the Celtics are the better team here, especially if Brown plays. 

 

Final Score: Celtics 106, Knicks 98

 

Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies 

Spread: Grizzlies -7.5, O/U 216.5 

Memphis is looking to make the jump from fringe playoff team to the Western Conference elite. Dillon Brooks is out, but Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr form one of the best young duos in the league. The Grizzlies are a team of tough, young guys that are looking to make the leap. Don’t count out the Cavs though. The backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland can score in bunches. Rookie Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen will man the frontcourt. This game will be closer than the spread would indicate, as the Cavs should be able to hang in there.

 

Final Score: Cavaliers 97, Grizzlies 102

 

Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves

Spread: Timberwolves -5.5, O/U 227.5

We are entering the Jalen Green era in Houston. He is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, as he should have the ball in his hands a lot this season. Kevin Porter Jr and Christian Wood are exciting young players for Houston, but this roster is a few years away from competing, and they’re fine with that. The Timberwolves have struggled since making the playoffs in 2017, but they should contend for a play-in spot this season. This roster has good players on it. Karl-Anthony Towns is a star, and D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards can fill it up. This game feels like it will be a shootout, and Minnesota should be able to take this one fairly easily. 

 

Final Score: Rockets 113, Timberwolves 126

 

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