There are five teams that are at least four games over .500 early this NBA season. Two of them meet in Denver on Wednesday night.
The 7-1 Denver Nuggets take on the 6-2 Golden State Warriors. Those two teams account for the last two NBA championships, and it’s possible this season’s championship will go to one of those teams as well.
The Nuggets are 3.5-point favorites at BetMGM, though they’ll be without a key player. Star guard Jamal Murray has a hamstring injury that could keep him out for extended time. The fact the Nuggets are still favored despite Murray being out speaks to how well they have been playing early this season.
Denver took a loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves and that’s it. They’re 5-0 at home. They have an impressive 11.8 net rating, which is third in the NBA. Nikola Jokic has started the season like he finished last season, when he was NBA Finals MVP. They’re a title contender again.
The Warriors have been pretty good too. In a weird scheduling quirk, they’ve had six of their first eight games on the road, and they’re 5-1 in those games. Steph Curry is off to a fantastic start this season, averaging 30.9 points per game. If the Warriors can go to 6-1 in road games this season by beating the Nuggets, it’ll be impressive.
We didn’t get a Warriors-Nuggets matchup in the playoffs last season. The Warriors beat the Nuggets on their championship run two seasons ago, but last season’s Denver team was much better. Maybe we’ll get a playoff showdown this season. Wednesday night’s marquee showdown will have to do for now.
Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:
Rest of the NBA
The NBA had Tuesday off, and it returns with 14 games on Wednesday night.
Warriors-Nuggets might not even be the best matchup of the night. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, who are also both in the four games over .500 group, meet up in Philly. The Celtics, coming off their first loss this season to the Timberwolves, are a 1.5-point road favorite. It wouldn’t be that big of a surprise if we get Warriors-Nuggets and Celtics-76ers in the conference finals, too.
The San Antonio Spurs-New York Knicks matchup isn’t quite that good, but Victor Wembanyama’s pro debut at Madison Square Garden will be noteworthy. The Knicks are a 9.5-point favorite.
Florida Atlantic starts its season
This is probably the first time Florida Atlantic’s college basketball season opener has been newsworthy. Coming off a Final Four appearance, FAU is ranked No. 10 to start the season. They start the season against an old Final Four Cinderella story, Loyola-Chicago. FAU is a 4.5-point favorite. The Owls are the only top 25 college basketball team in action on Wednesday.
Best of the rest
Of course there’s some MACtion in college football. Bowling Green is a 9.5-point favorite at Kent State, Miami (Ohio) is a 17.5-point home favorite against Akron and Toledo is an 18.5-point home favorite against Eastern Michigan.
There are also three games in the NHL, including a very good Western Conference matchup. The 7-2-2 Los Angeles Kings are at the 11-1-1 Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas is a -135 favorite.
What’s the best bet?
There’s a lot to choose from, but I’ll go with the Celtics as a small road favorite. The Celtics have been the most impressive team in the NBA this season, and while the 76ers have been very good too, I don’t think Boston loses two in a row.