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Eytan Shander gives his exclusive picks on today's NBA games

Day two of the NBA restart in Orlando should provide some pretty exciting action, but most importantly real value back on the board. We saw both dogs cover the spread last night, including the outright win by Utah. The biggest theme to look at in the first couple of games is how much is at stake for each team’s current standing. Making up ground is difficult but holding your position in the standings is even tougher of a task.

Eytan's Best Bet

1u - Suns -7 @ +100

Phoenix Suns @ Washington Wizards

We found a team worse off than Phoenix and aren’t asking twice about the line. Both teams are out of any real contention – it would take a miracle for either to play in the post-season – but Phoenix has the motivation. We’ve seen Wizard after Wizard go down, opt-out, or simply not be healthy enough to play in the bubble. You probably can’t recognize half of their starting lineup. It’s hard to rely on past performances, despite Washington dominating, simply because Bradley Beal was such a huge part of it. The Suns are fielding a mostly healthy team, mainly with Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker. A 55-point night from Booker is not only realistic, but enough to keep a hapless Wizards team in that 10-12 point deficit. What’s truly unfortunate is the Wizards may not see a line this close in Orlando, and even this one is too low of a number to pass on taking.

1u - Suns/Suns Half/Full winner @ +100

Phoenix Suns @ Washington Wizards

This is really about getting an even return on something that should play out based off talent alone. The Wizards are down two huge components that would prevent them from truly hanging around with the Suns, but in this case all you need is the lead and the win. Phoenix isn’t going to start spreading it around more or changing their strategy on offense. Even with a healthy Dario Saric, things don’t change much from the “Give it to Booker” mode they seem comfortable in running. The Wiz just don’t have anyone who can stop him, nor combat any major Suns run as a result of Booker going nuts. Just the addition of Bradley Beal alone would significantly change this but looking at the current state of affairs for Washington it’s too tall of a task to overcome. You can see how the total may play into people’s bets here, 5 of the last 6 between these two have hit OVER, but that’s life with Beal. Life without him is going to come at Washington super-fast, starting Friday.

1u - Blazers -4  @ +130

Memphis Grizzlies @ Portland Trail Blazers

This exciting matchup features two teams doing everything they can to either hold on to or snatch up the final playoff spot in the West. Memphis has been the forgotten team of the big 3 – Mem, NO, & POR – all expected to hover around the 8th seed. Just 3.5 games separate the 8th seeded Grizz and the Blazers. For all of the hype surrounding Zion Williamson (he seems to be living up to it) there is a pretty big target on Ja Morant’s back, especially when Damian Lilliard is on the floor. Memphis was truly struggling towards the end of the season before COVID-19 broke it up, losing 7 of their last 11, while Portland is simply a different team with a couple of big men returning. Jusef Nurkic and Zach Collins will join Hassan Whiteside and make up a big and deep frontcourt. Nurkic is a beast, and if they can figure it out alongside Whiteside, it’s simply too much on the defensive side for Memphis. I love pushing this line to -4 and getting the value at FoxBet because of the overall talent differential with the backcourts. There will definitely be a battle at the point, but I’ll ride with CJ McCollum over Dillon Brooks all day. Every single day. That matchup and the depth up front is enough for me to take Portland laying the 4!

1u - Celtics ML @ +175

Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks

I would love to say this is going to be a nice precursor to what could be a thrilling playoff series, but in that scenario the Bucks win. They don’t tonight. I think Milwaukee will be fine, and still should be a strong/safe bet to win the East. The issue is game one of the restart and trying to duplicate the level of thrashing they bestowed upon most opponents before the break. No doubt the Bucks – down Eric Bledsoe – will try and push the ball, ultimately forcing some shots. There will be too much of a door left open for Boston to take advantage, especially in transition. The Celtics return a lineup that hasn’t played together in ages, even before the COVID break. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward will all take the floor together. Giannis is going to get his, probably go for 40+ tonight, but the key matchup will be the point guard position. How does Milwaukee balance a need to facilitate and stop Walker on the other end? I don’t see it being enough to hold off Boston in the end. Far from a blowout, I expect a close game. If we get the same Hayward we’ve seen dominate for the final month or two in the regular season, this game won’t be as hard to win as once thought.

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