It’s a new week, which means tons of NBA betting is on the horizon. That’s especially the case on Monday night, as we get to tip off the week with a strong 9-game slate. On top of the hefty schedule, we get to see a ton of megastars hit the hardwood, with the likes of Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Anthony Davis performing in just the evening’s final two games.
It’s going to be pretty intense, so if you’re planning on placing some bets, be sure to stay on top of the latest lines, totals and news. We’ll run through it all and issue our picks. Let’s get to it:
Mavericks @ Hornets
Line: Hornets -6.5 Total: 210
Dallas is not resembling a playoff team these days, as they tumble into Charlotte riding an ugly five-game losing streak. That’s bad news for the Mavs, who cannot do anything right defensively and now have to find a way to down the Hornets, who happen to be quite good on their home floor (25-9). Charlotte is also at full strength and has been riding some hot performances from Kemba Walker. Dirk Nowitzki has been dropping in some big games of his own, but Dallas simply isn’t bringing enough on defense right now to place much faith it. I think they can keep things close and beat the spread, but a sixth straight loss is coming.
Pick: Hornets 107, Mavs 103
Bulls @ Raptors
Line: Raptors -9 Total: 206.5
Going into Toronto and winning won’t be easy for Chicago for a few reasons, as they’re pretty awful on the road (11-20), while the Raptors are a staggering 26-7 at Air Canada Centre this year. The Bulls do have a commanding 3-0 advantage in the series thus far, though, which is cause for pause when the Raptors have a gaudy -9 spread to open the night. Pau Gasol is out for this one, while both Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler are tentatively expected to suit up. This one does not lead up to an easy straight up pick, as the Bulls are far more dangerous when Butler is healthy. If he plays, look for Chicago to beat the spread.
Pick: Raptors 104, Bulls 101
Nuggets @ Heat
Line: Heat -7.5 Total: 203.5
Denver head coach suggested Denver would be in for a lot of “small ball” tonight in South Beach, which goes along with how the Heat are running these days, while it also may be a necessity with some of their backup bigs dealing with injuries. Going small probably won’t be enough for the Nuggets, who still don’t defend and have been suspect (12-19) away from home. Miami is without star shooting guard Dwyane Wade, but still have Goran Dragic, Joe Johnson and Luol Deng to lean on in the perimeter game. The Heat have specifically been strong at home this year (21-12) and beat the Nuggets earlier this year. Look for Miami to win and cover.
Pick: Heat 106, Nuggets 95
Blazers @ Thunder
Line: Thunder -7.5 Total: 221
Portland has slowly come back down to earth after a hot start to 2016, and tonight they could have a fight on their hands in OKC. The Thunder are in a mild slide with two straight losses, and won’t want to lose a third to their division rivals. OKC is rather strong at home (26-9), but this series is split 1-1 to this point. The home team has won both times and OKC needs to end their skid, though, so we like the Thunder to win and cover.
Pick: Thunder 110, Blazers 101
Grizzlies @ Rockets
Line: Rockets -10.5 Total: 209
Memphis remains very beaten up, as Lance Stephenson is now in doubt to play tonight, while big man Zach Randolph has once again been ruled out. That’s going to put the ball in Ray McCallum’s hands more than anyone wants, which should be bad news for Memphis in Houston tonight. The Rockets do not blow teams out very often, but this is a great chance to buck the trend tonight.
Pick: Rockets 109, Grizzlies 92
Pistons @ Wizards
Line: Wizards -1.5 Total: 208.5
Two very different teams face off in D.C. tonight, as the Pistons like to slow things down and Washington is a top-10 team in terms of pushing the basketball. The Wiz could have a slight edge at home tonight, especially since they’ve had Detroit’s number so far in this season series (up 2-0). The Pistons have been strong in their last 10 games (7-3), but they’re lousy (15-21) on the road and don’t have anyone to slow down John Wall. Marcin Gortat’s randomly disappearing role is a head-scratcher, but hopefully that’s only temporary. If so, we like the Wiz at home.
Pick: Wizards 104, Pistons 102
Timberwolves @ Suns
Line: Suns -1 Total: 221
The second highest total of the night resides in the desert tonight, where the Timberwolves and Suns square off. These are young and shaky squads, but with Brandon Knight back, the Suns are a tougher out. Minnesota is not good on the road, either (10-23), so it will be interesting how they fare in this one. It’s not amazing on the other side, though, as the Suns have dropped three straight and 7 of their last 10. The -1 line says it all: this is going to be a total toss-up with no defense and hopefully a ton of points. I don’t love the pick here, but I’m game for the total. If I have to take on, it’s Minnesota in the mild upset.
Pick: Timberwolves 112, Suns 110
Pelicans @ Warriors
Line: Warriors -15 Total: 230
The game with the highest total of the night is Pelicans vs. Warriors, as Stephen Curry looks to blow up on his birthday and Anthony Davis will do his best to match him. The Pelicans are very much over-matched on the road, but they could bring the offense in a shootout. I don’t love the idea of chasing these points, though, as Golden State hasn’t lost at the Oracle Arena all year and this one could very easily turn ugly fairly fast.
Pick: Warriors 116, Pelicans 104
Cavaliers @ Jazz
Line: Cavs -4 Total: 195
Speaking of ugly, this should be a slow-paced, low-scoring game, as Utah is at home and tends to control the tempo with a slow offense and suffocating defense. Rudy Gobert has been struggling but is still a problem in the middle for Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, while LeBron James seems to always struggle on the road versus the Jazz for some reason. Still, Cleveland is the better team and is actually a respectable 20-12 on the road, so I’ll take them to win and cover.
Pick: Cavs 98, Jazz 93