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Handicapping the NBA: Fontaine's Wednesday Picks

Knicks to win (-125) vs. Celtics –

First, for some big picture analysis, teams coached by Tom Thibodeau have a 189-66 straight-up record as home favorites (per Action Labs). For this matchup specifically, Al Horford (COVID-19 protocols) is out for the Celtics. While Boston is deeper than last year, the loss of Horford is still extremely impactful. Plus, Jaylen Brown has barely recovered from his bout of COVID-19, so I doubt he'll be playing at his best. Meanwhile, the Knicks are healthy and got better in the offseason.

Utah Jazz -13.0 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder –

This is a big number for Opening Night, but it's easily the biggest mismatch on the slate, and I like the Jazz to roll over an overmatched Thunder team at home. Outside of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort, the Thunder are essentially fielding an expansion-team roster, and a regular-season juggernaut with continuity like Utah should have no problem making this a lopsided result.

Tyrese Haliburton OVER 11.5 points (-115) at Portland Trail Blazers –AM CT

More than anything, this feels like a really low number for a starting two-guard on a team that may view him as the No. 2 offensive option next to De'Aaron Fox. Explosive scoring nights aren't necessarily Haliburton's calling card, but all he needs to do is hit his average from last season (13.0 PPG) to go over this number. For an ascending player who I like to take a big leap this season, 13 points doesn't feel like much to ask.

OG Anunoby over16.5points against Washington (-115) –

The Raptors open their season with a much different-looking team than last season. Kyle Lowryis playing in Miami and Pascal Siakam is out with a shoulder injury. Anunoby will be tasked with his biggest role yet this season and looks to be one of the main contributors for Toronto this season. With a 222.0 total in what should be a high-paced game against the Wizards, Anunoby should have no problem surpassing his 18.5 point line.

Michael Porter Jr. over 17.5 points against Phoenix (-110) –

With Jamal Murray still sidelined with a knee injury, Porter Jr. is the clear-cut No. 2 option in Denver. Fresh off signing his max extension over the summer, the 23-year-old is in a prime position to have a strong opening night.

Bulls ML (-210) at Pistons

After an impressive free agency period by Chicago this offseason, the Bulls' new core of LaVine, Vucevic, Ball and DeRozan is legit. They will look to start their season off on the right note as they will go up against the Pistons, who will be without their No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham. With Coby White being the only Bull not expected to play in the opener Wednesday, Chicago should be in line for an easy win against a depleted Pistons team

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