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Aug 13, 2019, 6:31:00 AM

NBA schedule sets up some interesting fixture dates

It may seem like a long way away right now, but NBA fans can look forward to some key fixtures that will set the path for some sports betting predictions.

There are 1,230 matches overall, so there is little point in combing through every game, but there are plenty of interesting contests that could go on to define some points of the season, particularly in terms of where the power lies between some of the established top sides and the new order.

Season openers to look out for

The New Orleans Pelicans take on the Toronto Raptors for their first match, and this poses a number of interesting questions. Each side has a new look, but for different reasons. The Pelicans will hope that they are not in transition as much as many pundits expect, with Zion Williamson ready to ascend to the top level of the sport almost immediately. They have also traded Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, and have a triumvirate of young Lakers talents to fit in, as well as JJ Redick.

How they amass this talent into one starting five remains to be seen, and now we also have a Raptors team that could be in transition, with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green leaving for Los Angeles. Is Pascal Siakam ready to step up?

The fixture list has thrown up a juicy rivals match early on, with the Clippers and the Lakers locking horns straight away. Who will win out of LeBron James and Anthony Davis versus Kawhi Leonard and Paul George?

The opening weekend also sees the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Boston Celtics, with both teams in a relative period of flux right now. The Sixers brought in Josh Richardson and Al Horford to replace Redick and Jimmy Butler, and it remains to be seen if this combination will prove beneficial to the talents of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

The Celtics lost Horford as well as Kyrie Irving, who is at a new Eastern rival in the form of the Brooklyn Nets. Boston brought in Enes Kanter at centre, as well as All-Star Kemba Walker. Whoever clicks first here may feel that they can at least finish second in the East.

Finally, there is one other big game on offer early on – how will the Houston Rockets’ new-look line-up can fare against a growing Milwaukee Bucks? All these results could set the scene for what plays out in 2020.

Words: Josh Dixon

Images: PA