It’s Go time for the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons start a new era Wednesday night when they open up the NBA season with a tough test down in Miami to face Jimmy Butler and the Heat. Miami reached the NBA Finals last season.
Detroit has won three of their last five openers, but has started 2-8 each of the last three years. DraftKings lists the Pistons as 8.5-point underdogs in the opener.
Michigan online sportsbooks will have great markets open for each Piston game, including parlays, and individual and team props. FanDuel and Caesars Sportsbook already have future bets open on the NBA season, including who will win Rookie of the Year and MVP.
Here’s a quick look at the five biggest home games on the Pistons schedule:
Nov. 10 vs. Philadelphia Sixers
Welcome to the NBA’s In-Season Tournament. The Pistons were placed in a ‘pot’ with four other teams and will compete head-to-head against them with the winner of each pot plus two wild cards advancing to the knockout round. (Think World Cup style).
Philly won all three games against Detroit last year by 20, 12 and 31 points. At the moment they feature NBA star big man Joel Embiid, who led the NBA with 33.1 points last year. It remains to be seen if star guard James Harden will still be a Sixer as he continues to fight with the front office.
Nov. 20 vs. Denver Nuggets
The Pistons get a visit from the reigning NBA champions just before Thanksgiving. One of Detroit’s best wins last year was beating the Nuggets by two when Denver missed a shot at the buzzer.
Denver features the incomparable Nikola Jokic, a passing and shooting wizard. He’s the closest thing the NBA has seen since Michigan’s own Magic Johnson since, um, Magic Johnson.
Nov. 29 vs. LA Lakers
Speaking of Magic, his old team comes to Little Caesars Arena late in November. LA has beaten the Pistons five times in a row.
LeBron James will be closing in on 40,000 career NBA points in his 21st season. Last year the Lakers coasted through the regular season, then turned it up in the playoffs and reached the Western Conference Finals.
Jan. 10 vs. San Antonio Spurs
This is Pistons fans first look at the new NBA sensation, the 7-foot-4 Victor Wembanyama of the Spurs.
One of the biggest storylines of the season will be how Wembanyama’s game translates over in to the NBA. Will he be too big to handle inside? Will he become a slashing wingman or a spot-up shooter? The skills are there. San Antonio needs a boost having finished 22-60 last year.
Jan. 27 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks won the NBA off-season (yes, that’s really a thing these days) when they made the monster trade for perennial NBA All-Star Damian Lillard from Portland.
Milwaukee now has two of the biggest stars in the NBA in Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo in a clear attempt to win the NBA title this year. Milwaukee swept all four games with the Pistons last year, with only one game reasonably close.