Last week’s theme was injuries, so it’s fitting that this week it’s COVID-19. We’ve got 26 (!) teams playing tonight and there’s never been more uncertainty in the league with players being marked out seemingly every hour. It’s a huge slate to pick from, so let’s try to tread carefully around the minefield and pick some winners.
As always, pay attention to the injury report that comes out in the late afternoon. If a star is unexpectedly scratched before tip, it might be wise to hold off.
Layups: The bets I really like and feel the most confident in.
Two-Pointers: The bets I like a lot and feel fairly confident in.
Three-Pointers: The bets I like but don’t feel as confident in.
Half-Court Shot: A long underdog I like to win straight-up.
Record ATS: 16-16-1
Mavericks TT Under 107.5 vs. Grizzlies: Only play this if Luka Doncic is ruled out. The Grizzlies have surprised everyone by rattling off five straight wins after losing Ja Morant. The main reason they’ve gotten the wins without their star guard has been their reliance on defense.
On average, the Grizz have given up a measly 90 ppg in their last five, and tonight, they get a struggling Mavs team that’s on the second night of a back-to-back. If Luka is indeed out, I don’t see this team getting past 105. They haven’t scored over 100 points in over a week and now take on one of the hotter defensive teams.
Bulls +3 and/or ML (+140) vs. Cavs: If you’re deep into dumb YouTube knowledge, you probably know of “Scott Sterling,” the unlucky goalie who is consistently pummeled in the face by soccer balls. Well, right now the Bulls are Scott Sterling and the soccer balls are health and safety protocols. The great thing about Sterling is that even though he’s getting ruthlessly destroyed on the pitch, he still manages to save the ball from going in. That’s been the Bulls as of late.
They’ve won four in a row and have the classic “Next Man Up” mentality, as seen by Ayo Dosunmu’s career game against the Nuggets. I think the market is reacting strongly to the Bulls missing players, but that hasn’t stopped them from getting wins.
Bucks (-6.5) vs. Heat: The Heat are in rough shape. No Bam Adebayo or Jimmy Butler — and now they face a fairly healthy and streaking Bucks team. This is a game I think the Bucks can win by double digits. Milwaukee is back in its groove offensively, and now Giannis doesn’t have to worry about the interior defense of Bam. It doesn’t look good for the Heat tonight.
Celtics (+4) vs. Clippers: It’s time to activate Protocol: Back Boston After a Loss. The Celtics are 7-4 ATS after a loss, good for fifth in the NBA in that department. They know how to bounce back and are coming off a rough game against the Lakers. Sure, this is the second game of a back-to-back, but they’re in the same city and playing in the same arena — as far as back-to-backs go, that’s an ideal setup.
The inconsistent Clips have lost three of their last five. In fact, they’ve only covered 41% of their games following a win! Let’s bet against the Clippers’ inconsistency and take Boston with the points.
Jazz (-6.5) vs. T-Wolves: This line has moved down a bit, so I think this is solid value for the Jazz. They simply don’t have the injury issues that Minnesota has right now and have a history of blowing out teams (D’Angelo Russell is out and Karl-Anthony Towns is questionable for Minny).
Even if KAT does play, the Jazz are a good enough team to cover the number thanks to their above-average defense and ability to rely on Rudy Gobert down low. The T-Wolves are riding a three-game winning streak, but with their injury issues in this spot, I don’t think they’ll cover.
Warriors TT Over 115.5 vs. Blazers: Steph is 16 three-pointers away from breaking Ray Allen’s career three-point record — and he’s actually talked about trying to break it tonight. So, let’s expect plenty of points from a Warriors team that averages about 117 points at home against a Blazers team that gives up 117 points a game on the road.
This seems like a great spot for Golden State to hit 120. They’re coming off a 126-point performance against the Magic and hit 118 in their last game against the Trail Blazers. All eyes will be on Steph, so he’ll either go for 16 made threes or become the facilitator knowing the defense will be targeting him, allowing for easier scores for his teammates.
Half-Court Shot (2-2 OTY)
Steph Curry 8+ Made Threes (+225): This isn’t a moneyline play, but let’s have some fun with a wild player prop. As mentioned, Steph is only 16 threes away from topping Ray Allen’s three-point record, so he might try to beat it tonight (or at the very least, beat teammate Klay Thompson’s NBA record of 14 threes in a game). Sooooo, betting on Steph to make 8+ threes at these odds should be a cakewalk, right? All I know is that you should never bet AGAINST Steph, so might as well have some money on him attempting to make history tonight.