After a fairly quiet weekend where the NBA seemed to pause to let the NFL rule the sports world, pro basketball returns in a frenzy with a jam-packed 9-game Monday night schedule.
The stars all come out to tip off the new week, as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and many others will hit the hardwood. It should be an exciting night of basketball action, and also a nice opportunity to make some cash via NBA betting.
Let’s see where the best betting paths lie as we break down each game for Monday’s slate:
Washington Wizards (+4.5)
Charlotte Hornets (-4.5)
John Wall looks to lead his Wizards to a win in Charlotte tonight, where Kemba Walker and the 23-21 Hornets await. Charlotte is rounding back into top form following three straight wins and will put a stout 15-7 home record on the line tonight.
Vegas likes the Hornets at home, but there is reason to chase an upset with Washington. The Wizards have been hot in this series (won 4 of the last 5 meetings), for one, but they’re also hot in general right now (7-3 over their last 10 games).
The best bet may be to pick Washington to beat the spread in a close divisional outing. The Wizards have been hot and are owning this series lately, but they’re a little tough to trust due to a shaky 5-14 record on the road.
Los Angeles Clippers (n/a)
Atlanta Hawks (n/a)
Our safe pick of the night goes down in Atlanta, where the Hawks should be able to lean on a solid 13-8 home record to oust the Clippers. Los Angeles is beaten and battered right now (Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are sidelined with injuries) and have already dropped their last two games. Griffin is eyeing a return to the court tonight or Tuesday, but it’s unclear which day he’ll make it back just yet.
This game sides with Atlanta from top to bottom, as they’re at home, have been in a nice groove (8-2 over their last 10 contests) have even owned this series lately (3-1 over the last 4 meetings). Dwight Howard should be able to handle DeAndre Jordan down low and the Clippers are too undermanned overall to get this road upset.
Golden State Warriors (-11.5)
Miami Heat (+11.5)
An even easier call might be this contest in South Beach, where the Warriors will try to pull off a sweep of the Heat. Golden State won the first game earlier this year and have ripped off five straight wins in this series. The Heat have been fighting hard lately and extended their winning streak to three games, but this feels like a logical spot for their hot run to end.
Hassan Whiteside did rule the paint in the previous meeting, but the Warriors weren’t even completely on top of their game and still won by 12. It’d take quite the effort for Miami to even this season series up tonight.
San Antonio Spurs (-12)
Brooklyn Nets (+12)
The Spurs get an interesting game tonight, as they’ll take it to the road to battle a bad Nets team. The catch here is that Brooklyn tends to play pretty well at home at the Barclays Center, and that could be a problem if their fast-pace and hot outside shooting keep them in this one.
The Spurs do a great job on the road (18-4) and losing to the Nets would be quite the gaffe, however. San Antonio is down both Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, but they should still be able to take down the Nets, who they’ve beaten 10 times in their last 12 meetings.
Sacramento Kings (n/a)
Detroit Pistons (n/a)
DeMarcus Cousins leads his Kings into Detroit tonight, where Andre Drummond and the Pistons await. Sacramento will be looking to pull off the season series sweep, as they won earlier this year and have taken two of the last three meetings.
Detroit has been a better team on their home floor all season (12-9), while they’re also heating up after winning their last three games. Sacramento is heading in the opposite direction, as they’ve lost five games in a row and recently lost star forward Rudy Gay (Achilles) for the rest of the year.
The Kings have Boogie, but he’ll need to wreck to even keep this a game. With the Pistons typically more focused on their home floor, this looks like a good spot for their length and defense to get them a win.
New York Knicks (+5.5)
Indiana Pacers (-5.5)
Carmelo Anthony and Paul George face off tonight, as the Knicks and Pacers meet up for the third time this year. The two sides split the season series (1-1) to this point, but it may be hard to go against the Pacers, who had ripped off seven straight wins in the series prior to the 2016-17 NBA season.
Indiana seems to have the edge across the board, as they’re a staggering 16-5 on their home floor, and the Knicks can’t seem to buy wins (7-15) out on the road. Melo has been red hot (65 points total over his last two contests), but New York has been banged up and have a difficult time closing games out on the road.
The real bet for the Knicks would be to beat the spread, and that seems rather doable in what should be a fairly close game.
Cleveland Cavaliers (-6.5)
New Orleans Pelicans (+6.5)
The Cavs and Pelicans face off in New Orleans tonight, in one of the more star-studded affairs on Monday. That, of course, depends on the status of Anthony Davis, who has been battling numerous ailments and is somewhat questionable for tonight:
Alvin Gentry said Anthony Davis' right thigh bruise is basically a charley horse. Expects him to be available tomorrow vs. Cleveland.
The early word is The Brow will suit up, but he’s been so banged up lately that it’s a tough sell to suggest he’ll even last the entire game. The Pelicans are pretty strong at home when they have their main man, but they still might not be much of a match for the Cavs. Cleveland is a middling 5-5 over their last 10 contests, but this is a winnable road game they need to have.
Houston Rockets (-5)
Milwaukee Bucks (+5)
James Harden and co. travel to Milwaukee tonight, where they’ll meet up with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks for the second time this year. Houston won the earlier meeting just five days ago (111-92) and will now set their sights on the season series sweep at the Bradley Center.
The Bucks would normally be a tough out, but they have been out of a groove lately, losing five straight and 7 of their last 10. Milwaukee isn’t even competing late in a lot of their games and that is a formula that simply will not do against an elite Rockets offense.
Milwaukee does play their best ball at home, but their recent form is quite troublesome. Houston has dominated this series (won 6 of the last 7 meetings) and is the superior team across the board, so picking a Bucks upset feels like a reach. Milwaukee should keep it closer the second time around, but expect the same end result.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+5.5)
Utah Jazz (-5.5)
The final game of the night goes down in Utah, where the Jazz look to maintain their hold over the Thunder in the Northwest Division. Utah’s plight has gone swimmingly to this point, as they’re up 3.5 games in the division and crushed OKC in their earlier meeting this year (109-89).
The Thunder’s chances don’t look great on paper, as Utah is very good at home (16-7), is on quite the hot streak (won six straight games) and boasts arguably the best defense in the NBA. Rudy Gobert anchors a Jazz defense that is specifically tough down low, which hampers the effectiveness of big men Enes Kanter and Steve Adams and also limits the upside of a penetrator like Russell Westbrook.
Suffice to say, Westbrook and probably even Victor Oladipo are going to need to be huge to even keep this one close. Look for things to be a little tighter the second time around, but Utah to sneak out a second win in the season series.
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