The NBA slows down a bit on Monday night, as we try to pick up the pieces of a crazy weekend. If we haven’t all learned from past year’s by now, weekend basketball is about as unpredictable as it gets. Naturally, we’ll hopefully all have a better handle on tonight’s four-game slate.
That being said, it feels like a pretty wide open slate, as all four games are likely to have an obvious outcome. We see one potential upset looming, however, so let’s take a look at all four Monday night NBA matchups and see which way you’ll want to be leaning with your NBA bets:
Chicago Bulls (-6) @ Brooklyn Nets (+6)
You have to admired the Brooklyn Nets, who have been in all three games so far this year despite casting a band of misfits as their key players. Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker and Bojan Bogdanovic have looked good together, though, while big man Brook Lopez returns tonight after sitting out Brooklyn’s last game due to rest.
It’s very likely the wheels come off eventually for the Nets, but we need to appreciate the fact that this team is well-coached, plays hard and last year enjoyed most of their success at home at the Barclays Center. This could also be a great spot for the undefeated Bulls to unravel a bit. Dwyane Wade and co. have looked great through two games, but their severe lack of shooting could come back to haunt them.
All of that could be true tonight, but if there is a reason to buy into the new-look Bulls for one more night, it’s probably a showdown with the beatable Nets. That being said, Brooklyn has fought hard so far this year, so don’t be shocked to see them beat the spread tonight.
Pick: Bulls 105, Nets 102
Denver Nuggets (+7) @ Toronto Raptors (-7)
Denver is going to be a very big problem for teams that don’t play defense, as they’ve shown their ability through two games (110 points per game on offense). Unfortunately, I’m not buying them as a winner on the road just yet and I’d be much more concerned with their leaky defense (giving up 108 points per game).
It’s tough to win in Toronto as it is, but when you can’t defend and you’re on the road, troubles arise. The Raptors nearly pulled off an upset win over the defending champion Cavs the other day and you better believe they’ll want to turn right around and protect their home base. If not, they’d be sliding into a 1-2 hole.
Pick: Raptors 107, Nuggets 96
Sacramento Kings (+7) @ Atlanta Hawks (-7)
This might be my favorite upset pick on tonight’s NBA slate, as the Kings seem like a really tough out (2-1) in the early going here, with an improved defense (allowing 99.7 points per game) potentially being the driving force to a better season. Atlanta at home is never easy, but the Hawks have coasted to two easy wins so far this year.
One huge reason why the Hawks have been so tough is their elite defense (allowing just 85 points per game), but two games is a small sample size and this could be a big opportunity for David Joerger’s Kings to prove they’re not the same old mediocre crew we’re used to. I think Sacramento at least beating the spread is in play here, but I like the Kings to stage a nice road upset behind a huge game from DeMarcus Cousins.
Pick: Kings 98, Hawks 96
Phoenix Suns (+10.5) @ Los Angeles Clippers (-10.5)
Both of these teams are entering the second game of a back to back set, but the Suns are on the road and L.A. stays at home after playing earlier in the day on Sunday. Advantage goes to Clippers all around, but a closer look reveals their starters didn’t need to grind themselves into the ground yesterday, so Los Angeles should be much fresher.
Normally I’d give the Suns a chance to beat the spread here, but the Clippers usually are very good at home and they’ll be better rested. Phoenix has the ability to put up points, but they’re giving up over 110 on the other side per game and have a tall order on the road against a superior team. This might be the easiest call of the night.
Pick: Clippers 108, Suns 97