This past weekend was a pretty weird time for NBA betting. The only real example you need (but probably don’t want to be reminded about) is the for sure safe bet on the Warriors toppling the Lakers. Instead, the defending champs lost for the sixth time this year, and did so in ugly fashion.
The point? There is truly no such thing as a safe bet.
The good thing about pro basketball is those gut punches can be overcome the very next day. Sports like golf, tennis and football make you wait about a week to make up for that bad pick. But Monday night already brings back seven games to work with. And hey, the Warriors are even here. But they’re at home, where they haven’t lost all season. They’re as good of a lock as you’ll ever see. Right?
Let’s find out as we go over all seven games in tonight’s NBA betting preview:
Bucks @ Bulls
Line: Bulls -7 Total: 207
The Bulls are feeling much better these days, as both Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic are back in the rotation. That leaves just Joakim Noah off the active roster and gives the 31-30 Bulls plenty of fire power and time to bounce back and make the playoffs. It started in their last win over the Rockets and should continue tonight, when Chicago hosts the Bucks. Milwaukee has been a tough out lately with their big three of Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker raising their level of play, but this is still a team that can struggle defensively and is just 8-25 on the road. The season series is split, 1-1, but Chicago is at home, has Butler back and has much more to lose. I’ll take the Bulls to win and cover.
Pick: Bulls 105, Bucks 96
Clippers @ Mavs
Line: Clippers -5 Total: 209.5
Chris Paul continues to be L.A.’s saving grace with Blake Griffin out, as the Clippers enter Dallas tonight with a solid 6-4 record over their last 10 games. They’ve been solid on the road (19-10), but weren’t able to take down the Mavs last time they visited American Airlines Center (Dallas won, 118-108). David Lee has been a catalyst for offensive success on the Mavs’ end, but it hasn’t really led to wins with the Mavs losing two in a row coming into this matchup. The big reason why Dallas seems to be regressing is their inability to slow teams down defensively (Denver scored 116 points last night). L.A. should be without Luc Mbah a Moute (eye) tonight, but that should only help their starting five with Jeff Green stepping up.
Dallas has the minor edge at home, but Dallas may not be able to slow down the deadly trio of Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford from outside. Even if they can, they will likely be too tired from last night’s overtime loss. I’ll take the Clippers, but I’m feeling a push on the spread. The total, of course, is absolutely chasing on the Over.
Pick: Clippers 107, Mavs 102
Magic @ Warriors
Line: Warriors -14.5 Total: 222.5
As painful as last night was if you trusted in the Warriors, you can’t go away from them tonight. They’ll undoubtedly want to make up for a horrific shooting display at the Staples Center, while they face a beatable Magic team at home, where they’re 29-0 on the year. The Oracle Arena has been quite the safe haven, so it’s doubtful we can bank on a super tight game like the one we saw through three quarters at the Amway Center just a couple of weeks ago. Stephen Curry owned that matchup anyways, as the Dubs dropped 130 on the Magic in a big win. Look for Curry to come out hot and Golden State to take their anger out on an Orlando team that is just 10-18 away from home this year.
Pick: Warriors 120, Magic 105
Grizzlies @ Cavs
Line: Cavs -12.5 Total: 203
Cleveland has been quite strong at home this year and that solid 27-5 run at Quicken Loans Arena figures to hold up when the Grizzlies come to town tonight. Mike Conley and Zach Randolph still make Memphis competitive, but their defense isn’t what it was with Marc Gasol (broken foot) and they probably showed their worst flaws recently in a loss to the Suns. LeBron James and co. aren’t going to let a nice three-game winning streak go down tonight. That being said, Memphis does have enough grit to hang tight and beat the spread here. I’d also shoot for the Under.
Pick: Cavs 102, Grizzlies 96
Spurs @ Pacers
Line: Spurs -7 Total: 196.5
The Spurs should have all of their main guys back after letting them rest in their most recent game. They seem to take care of business either way these days, as they’ll enter Bankers Life Fieldhouse on an 8-game run. That shouldn’t stop against Indiana, as Kawhi Leonard will lockdown Paul George and LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan will out-work Indiana’s bigs down low.
Pick: Spurs 104, Pacers 92
Timberwolves @ Hornets
Line: Hornets -9 Total: 213.5
Charlotte proved to be too much to handle when they visited the Wolves back in November, and that’s quite likely to be the case again in Charlotte tonight. The Hornets are the healthiest they’ve been all year, while they’re simply too good at home (21-9). Minnesota has some nice young talent and they do tend to compete, but their road record (9-22) leaves a lot to be desired. We should expect a big game out of Karl-Anthony Towns, but the Hornets could give Minnesota’s wings trouble with their solid perimeter defenders. Kemba Walker should also run circles around Ricky Rubio in the win. Minnesota does bring a solid offensive punch, but I doubt the ambitious Total will be met. Take the Hornets to win/cover, but go for the Under.
Pick: Hornets 108, Wolves 98
Kings @ Pelicans
Line: Kings -1 Total: 220
If there is one game to feel pretty confident about when it comes to the Total, this is it, as the Kings and Pelicans play zero defense and boast two of the biggest stars in the NBA in DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. New Orleans is pretty banged up, but still can put up 102 points per game, while the Kings score over 106 points per game. Both teams give up over 105 points per game, however, which should open the door to a fun, high-scoring affair. The last meeting certainly lived up to expectations (a 114-105 win for the Pelicans). New Orleans holds a commanding 2-0 lead in the season series, though, which should prompt the Kings to show up and fight for their first win against the Pellies this year.
Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo are probably to suit up here, but the Pelicans feel much more banged up with Eric Gordon out for 6-8 weeks with another broken finger and Norris Cole also iffy for tonight. That has me favoring the Kings in what is basically a pick’em, and while not a lock, I do like the chances of the Over tonight.
Pick: Kings 112, Pelicans 110