The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers both fell short of their ultimate goal of making the NBA Finals last year. But both teams have reloaded and will likely be contenders in the Western Conference yet again this year. In this Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors matchup, the Clippers will tip off their season on the road, while the Warriors will aim for a second straight win to kick off their campaign.
Injuries are a factor on both sides heading into this game. The Clippers are without their best player in Kawhi Leonard for the foreseeable future, as he is recovering from a knee injury that ended his season last year. And the Warriors are without Klay Thompson for a while as well, as both teams will be without their best perimeter defenders and perimeter scorers for this one. But this game will still be very entertaining and have plenty of playoff implications.
Los Angeles Clippers – Playing Short-Handed
The Los Angeles Clippers come into this season in limbo, as they expect to still be a quality team without Kawhi Leonard in their lineup. But they are short-handed beyond Leonard as well, with injuries to Nicolas Batum and Serge Ibaka set to keep them out of this season opening game as well. Without multiple key forwards available, Paul George and a lot of guards will need to step up and win at Golden State’s preferred style of small ball.
To attempt to fight the expected small ball from the Warriors, the Clippers will also need a lot from Ivica Zubac at the center spot. Zubac showed flashes of brilliance in the postseason last year, but will need sustained stretches where he poses a threat to keep the Warriors from going small and running circles around from the depleted Clippers.
Expected Line-Up: Reggie Jackson, Eric Bledsoe, Paul George, Marcus Morris, Ivica Zubac
with best odds
Golden State Warriors – Looking For A 2-0 Start
The 2021-2022 NBA season could not have started any better for the Golden State Warriors, as they demolished the Los Angeles Lakers down the stretch to pick up a road win. In that game, Steph Curry was far from his best, especially when it came to his perimeter shooting. But contributions from role players like Jordan Poole and Nemanja Bjelica kept the Warriors in the game for its entirety, until they pulled away with a late run against the new-look Lakers.
In this game, the Warriors have to like their chances against a Clippers team that is missing its top gun in Kawhi Leonard. Leonard’s absence will allow Andrew Wiggins to focus his defensive attention on Paul George, which could allow the Warriors to slow down the best active player on the Los Angeles roster. If that happens, the Warriors should have a big edge in talent elsewhere on the court, especially with the diminished rim protection of the Clippers early in the season due to injuries.
Expected Line-Up: Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
Expert Pick #1 – Warriors -3.5 @ -110
The first bet to make in this game is the Warriors to cover the 3.5-point spread at odds of -110. Golden State is at home for the first time this season, against a Clippers team that should still be figuring out just how they fit together without so many key pieces in place. As long as Steph Curry doesn’t have another game where he fails to make a quarter of his field goal attempts, the Warriors should cruise to a win in this contest.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 226 @ -110
Next, the over 226 at -110 odds is a bet to place in this contest. Golden State loves to play with a lot of pace, while the Clippers tend to play a slower brand of basketball. But with so many key players out for the Clippers, they are going to have to resort to some of the run and gun basketball that they used against the Utah Jazz in the postseason last year to make up for what they are currently lacking on their roster. The pace of this game combined with the shot making of the Warriors should push this one over.
Expert Pick #3 – Warriors Win By 11-15 @ +625
Finally, a longshot bet worth taking in this game is for the Warriors to win by 11-15 points at +625 odds. Should Golden State cover the spread here, they are likely to pull away at the end of the game thanks to their superior depth and shot making. A double-digit win on the lower end of the spectrum certainly isn’t out of the question and this bet is a decent value with that in mind.
This matchup is going to be a fun one that could be a playoff preview. But the Warriors are just better positioned for success in the early part of this season, which will help them achieve the 2-0 start that they are seeking.