Monday night was one wild and crazy slate for NBA betting, as a torn up Grizzlies team without Mike Conley or Zach Randolph somehow marched into Quicken Loans Arena and took down the Cavs. But wait, there was more insanity, as the Warriors couldn’t cover at home against the pesky Magic, the Spurs fell to the Pacers in Indiana and the Pelicans staged the mild upset at home over the Kings.
Okay, so the last part wasn’t too crazy, but you get the picture. It’s been a little out of control for the past three days, now that we think of it, and while it makes for some very entertaining pro basketball, it’s not conducive to very reliable betting. Let’s hope that changes as we gear up for another fun six-game slate on Tuesday night:
Nets @ Raptors
Line: Raptors -12 Total: 209.5
Brooklyn has at least been competitive lately as winners of 4 of their last 10 (at least for them), but going into Toronto and taking down the Raptors probably isn’t in the cards. The Raptors not only are too tough at home (23-7 at Air Canada Centre), but their defense is also going to be too much for an inconsistent Nets offense. Toronto won the first two meetings with little resistance, so there isn’t much to suggest tonight will be any different.
Pick: Raptors 107, Nets 92
Spurs @ Timberwolves
Line: Spurs -10.5 Total: 207
San Antonio disappointed in a road loss to the Pacers last night and their reward is Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili all getting rest.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 8, 2016
Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge still lead a nasty attack, though, which shouldn’t get anyone too excited about a potential Timberwolves upset. Minnesota is slightly better at home than they are on the road, but 11-21 isn’t a record to lean on. Considering the Spurs have lost just 10 games all season, look for them to bounce back and cover the spread tonight.
Pick: Spurs 109, Wolves 98
Hawks @ Jazz
Line: Jazz -1.5 Total: 191
There is a lot of built up revenge in this meeting between the Hawks and Jazz, as Utah point guard Shelvin Mack faces the Hawks for the first time since being traded, while both Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap also get to face their former squad in the Jazz. Utah has a mild edge at home, where they’re 19-12, especially since ATL has been very pedestrian away from home this year (just 16-16). The Hawks do look like the better team on paper, but a healthy trio of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert is tough to bet against at home. Vegas like Utah in a virtual pick’em, while their defense has us taking the Under here.
Pick: Jazz 90, Hawks 88
Knicks @ Nuggets
Line: Nuggets -2.5 Total: 206
Kristaps Porzingis is tentatively slated to return after sitting out New York’s last game and he should have a solid matchup against a pretty weak Nuggets defense (allowing 104 points per game). Denver is specifically bad down low, so we could see big games out of both Zinger and Melo, while Robin Lopez could also show well in this one. The bigger concern lies with the Nuggets, as rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has been amazing, but due to a bad shooting percentage on the year, seems due for a dud. Without Danilo Gallinari and given Will Barton’s struggles, there is a reasonable chance Denver struggles on offense tonight. Denver won a close game at MSG earlier this year, but the Knicks can be scrappy and Denver isn’t always very good with handling themselves as a favorite. I like the Knicks tonight.
Pick: Knicks 102, Nuggets 98
Wizards @ Blazers
Line: Blazers -6 Total: 214
The Blazers stand in as the favorite tonight for three reasons: Damian Lillard has been mostly unstoppable, they’re at home and the Wizards are one of the more erratic groups in the league. The latter is magnified when you look at Washington’s weak 14-15 road record, especially placed up against Portland’s solid 19-12 home mark. The Blazers have regressed in the face of a tougher schedule lately (three straight losses), but Vegas is probably right in them getting back on track tonight. Of course, the thing I really am down for shooting for is the Over, as both of these teams push the pace and fire away. Averaging 102 and 103 points per game offensively and yielding no defense, I like a fast-paced, high-scoring game in Portland tonight. Give me the Blazers to win, too, but not to cover.
Pick: Blazers 109, Wiz 106
Magic @ Lakers
Line: Magic -3 Total: 212.5
This might end up being the most fun game of the night, simply because the games you usually think will be good (Wiz/Blazers) find a way to disappoint. If you don’t love that game, shift your focus to the night’s capper, when Orlando looks to redeem themselves after a loss at Golden State. Oddly enough, the Lake Show should be riding high after toppling the defending champs at home just two days ago. Los Angeles is getting stellar play out of D’Angelo Russell and seeing less and less of The Black Mamba is helping this team grow. I wouldn’t put it past the Lakers to get a nice upset win at home here, but what I’m really into is the Over in a game that should showcase little defense and a lot of running. I’ll take the Magic to win/cover, as well, even with star center Nikola Vucevic sitting his second game out in a row.
Pick: Magic 108, Lakers 106