The 2015-16 NBA season arrived last night, as the Clippers took down the Nuggets at the Staples Center. We called that and got off to a nice 1-0 start to the year. Calling preseason games can really go either way and we won’t preview or even track our success for every batch of games, but a few times over the next month we’ll take a look at the games and see who our favorite picks are.

It’s another light night on Saturday night, as we get two more games to track and bet on. Both games get going at 7:00 pm Eastern, with the Charlotte Hornets traveling to Orlando to battle the Magic and the New Orleans Pelicans going up against the Pacers in Indiana. Let’s quickly break down and pick both games for tonight’s NBA preseason betting:

Hornets @ Magic

Both of these teams were pretty bad a year ago, but both have different reasons to think they can improve and work their way into the Eastern Conference playoffs. Orlando is just standing pat and buying into their young talent, while also hoping defensive-minded Scott Skiles can be the kick in the behind this young group needs. Charlotte, meanwhile, is betting Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky is the real deal, as well as a healthy Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson can be an elite pairing still. The addition of Nicolas Batum on the wing and Jeremy Lin off the bench hypothetically gives them an offensive jolt, as well.

On paper, the Hornets seem to be the slightly better team. Batum helps their offense with outside shooting but his biggest impact could be on defense, where his size, length and athleticism could really give teams problems. Orlando has a ton of talent but Walker wins against Elfrid Payton and Batum could end up covering Victor Oladipo and give him fits. Nikla Vucevic against Big Al is largely a wash. We’re headed for a close game but we’ll see a ton of Kaminsky, who I think could fare well against Orlando’s backups.

Pick: Hornets 101, Magic 97

Pelicans @ Pacers

Anthony Davis versus Paul George is the headliner, while Jrue Holiday is on a minutes restriction and Monta Ellis is trying to find his role with his new team. New Orleans is a rising team out west thanks to The Brow, while the Pacers are trying to pick up the tempo to keep up with an improving East. One big key to their plight to do that is Paul George spending a lot of his time at the four. Whether or not that ends up being successful will be quite interesting, but I don’t love his prospects against Davis tonight. The Pelicans are the better team at the moment and we haven’t even dug into Alvin Gentry’s impact, or the ability of Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans. Yeah, I like the Pellies this year and definitely tonight.

Pick: Pelicans 104, Pacers 101

That’s two road picks after picking the home team last night, but the NBA is a dice roll – especially in preseason play. Let’s see how that goes and check back with us for Sunday’s picks, as well.

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