Dallas Mavericks (+8.5) @ L.A. Lakers: This game can be seen on ESPN at 10:30pm ET, and it should be a good one. The Lakers are definitely getting a lot of love here, especially considering that they aren’t at full strength, and the Mavericks are much improved. When you add on the fact that L.A. struggled with the Clippers for much of their opening game, I just like the Mavericks and those 8.5 points to cover here. It’s a big game for Dallas when it comes to proving they’re back, and for L.A. it’s just another game in a long line of “should win” contests on way to their next title. Give me the underdog on this one. Underdog Friday!
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers (-9.5) NBA Free Pick: The Lakers haven’t lost to the Clippers since April of 2007. Yep. Seriously. The Lakers have beaten the Clippers by double digits in 7 of the last 8 contests, beating them by 20 or more four times. Yep. Seriously. I know the Clippers are a popular pick to improve this season. I know it’s opening night and anything can happen, hopes are up, and the Clippers are excited to prove themselves. I also know that Pau Gasol is out, and he’s been a huge part of the Lakers success since Memphis gave him up for a pack of smokes, a guitar with just three strings, and Kwame Brown’s expiring contract. I know. But I also know the Lakers will win. Why? Because these are the Clippers, folks. And they know how to help other teams win, they’ve been doing it for a long time. I also know that with Blake Griffin and Marcus Camby out, that potent exciting front court becomes less potent and less exciting, and with Chris Kaman playing more minutes, infinitely more disturbing in appearance. I like Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to cover here, as I don’t think Gasol being out hurts that much with Odom taking his place.