A six game slate on Tuesday night, and all the games offer more than a bit of intrigue from a betting perspective.
Sound the alarm.
The Celtics are reeling, now having lost four of five, including Sunday’s embarrassing 104-91 defeat at the hands of the hapless Wizards. Before that, it was a 108-102 loss to the last place, tanking Pistons.
Now, Boston will get a Nuggets team that has won three in a row and just dethroned the defending champs, 122-105. On paper, this isn’t a fair fight, especially with how Denver has rebounded from a rough start to soar to a 15-11 record and be in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
The Celtics are somehow favored in this game despite all evidence pointing to that being a woeful miscalculation. Yes, Denver is making the trip East, but they’re also 7-5 on the road this year.
The Pick: Nuggets +3 @ -109 (Click To Bet)
Two evenly matched teams fighting it out to stay in one of the play-in spots. They’re led by the top two picks of last year’s draft, and both Ja Morant and Zion Williamson are deservedly in the All-Star conversation this season
Does either have an advantage here? New Orleans is just 5-9 against the spread on the road, and have dropped all three prior games on this four-game road trip. They also sport the fourth worst defensive rating in the NBA over the previous two weeks.
That said, Memphis is just one spot higher than them in those defense rankings over the same span of time, and their offense is ranked just 21st on the season to the Pelicans’ 7th ranked scoring output.
One possible deciding factor: the Grizzlies shoot a lower frequency of threes than all but four teams in the league. New Orleans’ greatest weakness is giving up the deep ball, so if the Grizzlies can’t take advantage, it’ll hurt their ability to hit the Pels where it hurts. Also: never count out a desperate team.
The Pick: Pelicans -0.5 @ -106 (Click To Bet)
The Raps are coming off back to back losses following five wins in six games, including their last game, a 116-112 defeat at the hands of the last place Wolves. They simply cannot seem to find any consistency this season.
The Bucks, meanwhile, are riding their own three-game skid, with losses on the last three legs on their six-game road trip to the Suns, Jazz and Thunder. Despite the second best net rating in the league, something about them is just a bit off.
Given that this is just a two possession margin and the Bucks are at home - where they’re 9-2 with a 7-4 record against the spread - they seem like the safer bet.
The Pick: Bucks -5.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)
For all of their struggles, the Wolves are 7-5 against the spread at home and have covered seven of nine overall, with one loss and one push in that span. Karl-Anthony Towns is back, and it’s early enough in the season for Minnesota to think they can make a run for the 10th seed (don’t laugh).
In the Lakers, they get the NBA’s ultimate “do they care tonight?” team. The recent news that Anthony Davis will be out until after the All-Star break is obviously disconcerting, but LeBron may just use this next stretch of games to solidify his MVP argument.
LA won seven straight before dropping their last game to the Nuggets, and while the Wolves have been spunky, they are nowhere close to Denver’s caliber. Perhaps LeBron gets caught looking ahead to Thursday’s matchup with KD and the Nets, but I doubt it.
The Pick: Lakers -8 @ +105 (Click To Bet)
Speaking of KD, while he should be back for the LeBron showdown, he’ll miss this game with a mild left hamstring strain. That’s not great news against a Phoenix team that has covered six straight and nine of ten.
Chris Paul is also manning the ship for the Suns, and every game against former teammate James Harden is personal. Phoenix is the only team in the NBA besides Utah that can boast both a top ten offense and defense, so there is no obvious weak spot with which to attack. Best of all, Devin Booker is starting to heat up, sporting a 58.3 effective field goal percentage since his return from injury two weeks ago.
The Nets duo of Harden and Irving are never out of any game, but since the blockbuster trade that changed the course of their season, they no longer have the depth to hang with the very best teams if their top dog is out. With Durant sidelined and following a close game just last night in Sacramento, this isn’t one to back the dog on.
The Pick: Suns -3 @ -110 (Click To Bet)
Oklahoma City may be 15-10-1 against the spread this year, but almost all of that damage has come as a road team, where they have a league-best 11 covers to just three losses. At home, it’s a different story, where they’re just 4-7-1.
Portland, meanwhile, doesn’t mind the road at all, making betters happy nine times in 13 tries. The Blazers are also on a roll generally, with four straight wins and six victories in their last seven games.
Also worth noting here: for as much as the Thunder have an encouraging 11-15 record, they have the net rating of a far worse team: minus 5.8, good for fourth worst in the league.
And for the cherry on top: Dame gets to face the team against whom he had his most famous moment, sending OKC packing with a death stare for the ages in the first round two seasons ago.
Old habits die hard.
The Pick: Blazers -8 @ +105 (Click To Bet)
Other NBA Games
No other games today
NBA Expert Picks
(Click Odds To Bet)
Nuggets +3 @ -109 (Click To Bet)
Pelicans -0.5 @ -106 (Click To Bet)
Bucks -5.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)
Lakers -8 @ +105 (Click To Bet)
Suns -3 @ -110 (Click To Bet)
Blazers -8 @ +105 (Click To Bet)
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