- Will the Suns tame the Grizzlies tonight in Memphis?
- Can the Rockets continue their mastery of the Magic?
- Will the Thunder continue to roll without Andre Roberson?
Trends come and go in the NBA, but one thing that remains consistent is the pettiness of the league’s players. That was evident last week as several stars posted eye-popping stat lines after feeling they had been slighted by the league’s All-Star selection process. Paul George went off for 28 points and nine boards against the Nets moments after learning he hadn’t made the All-Star team; Andre Drummond posted 30 points, 24 rebounds, and six blocks against the Jazz one day after he was informed he too had missed the cut; and Russell Westbrook exploded for a season-high 46 points against the Wizards after mistakenly believing he had been picked dead-last on Team LeBron. (Turns out Russ’ understanding of how to execute the pick and roll is considerably better than his understanding of how the alphabet works.)
In this week’s betting tips, we’ll look at more notoriously petty players (yes, we’re looking at you Dennis Schroder and John Wall) and share some analytics that have caught our attention. We’ll also provide you with essential insights to help you make informed wagers on daily games and props.
Wolves (-6.5) vs Hawks
The Hawks will be grounded in Atlanta
No one expected the Hawks (14-35, 10-15 home) to make the playoffs this season, but surely no one thought they’d be quite this bad. Atlanta enters tonight’s game against Minnesota (32-20, 12-14 away) with the worst record in the NBA and mired in their second-worst 50-game start in franchise history. Dennis Schroder and company are 26th in defensive rating, net rating, rebounding percentage, and plus/minus. Thank God for the Sacramento Kings, or things would look really bleak.
Betting Advice: The 2017-18 season is going to get worse for the Hawks before it gets better. BetOnline [read our full BetOnline sportsbook review] has the Wolves listed as 6.5-point favorites, and it’s easy to imagine them winning and covering the spread tonight. Minnesota beat Brooklyn by 14 points on Saturday night in Jimmy Butler’s first game back from a minor knee injury, and they give up 17.4 fewer points per 100 possessions when their four-time All-Star is available. He’s the most complete two-way player Minnesota has had since Kevin Garnett, and he should have little difficulty helping the Wolves win and cover tonight.
Suns vs Grizzlies (-8)
The Suns will rise in Memphis
Every now and again, you see a point spread so overinflated it makes you do a double take. That’s the case with the 8-point spread for Suns vs Grizzlies tonight, available at Bovada [read our full Bovada sportsbook review]. The Suns (17-33, 9-16 away) aren’t exactly world beaters, but they have had the Grizzlies’ (17-31, 12-15 home) number all season long. Phoenix has already beaten Memphis twice in 2017-18, holding the Grizz under the century mark on both occasions. The massive line is likely motivated by the foggy status of Phoenix star Devin Booker (hip/ribs). But J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad will be without nearly half of its roster tonight as Mike Conley, Tyreke Evans, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Ben McLemore, and Deyonta Davis are all expected to sit. That’s bad news for a Memphis team that struggles to win even when it’s at full strength.
Betting Advice: The Suns may not pull out a win tonight after playing on Sunday afternoon in Houston — especially if Booker doesn’t suit up — but they should be able to comfortably cover the spread thanks to the Grizzlies’ depleted roster. Memphis simply doesn’t have enough warm bodies to distance the Suns over 48 minutes. Expect this game to also go under the 206-point total as Memphis tries to control the pace and limit the number of points in transition.
Hornets vs Pacers (-3)
The pace is right in Indiana
It seems hard to believe, but the Hornets (20-28, 6-14 away) will face the Pacers (27-23, 16-10 home) for the first time this season when they butt heads tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The teams split their four-game series in 2016-17, but that was before Indiana acquired Victor Oladipo and began turning every game into an all-out track meet. The Pacers rank fifth in the Eastern Conference in points per game and second in three-point percentage. It’s hard to know how to guard a team when it can run circles around you and shoot the lights out from deep.
Betting Advice: It’s easy to see why SportsBetting.ag [read our full SportsBetting.ag sportsbook review] has listed the Pacers as 3-point favorites. Indiana has won five consecutive games at home and three of its last four overall. The Hornets, meanwhile, have lost two of their last three games and are just 6-14 on the road this season. Take the Pacers to win and cover the spread, and the game total to go over 213.
Magic vs Rockets (-13)
Orlando will need more than magic to down the Rockets
It’s never a good sign when a team playing without the league’s leading scorer beats you by 18 points. That was the scene back on January 3rd when the Rockets (35-13, 19-6 home) cruised past the Magic (14-34, 6-21 away) 116-98 despite being without James Harden, who was nursing a strained left hamstring. The Beard will be back in action on Tuesday night and Orlando should be bracing itself for another blowout of epic proportions. Houston has gone 5-1 since Harden returned to duty on January 18th and is second in the league in scoring and first in three-pointers made and taken.
The Magic, meanwhile, have the league’s fourth-worst defensive rating and are allowing opposing teams to shoot 37.5-percent from behind the arc. You don’t have to be a math whiz to know that’s a dangerous combination.
Betting Advice: The 13-point spread and 223.5 total available at BetOnline are admittedly large, but few teams are better at racking up points than the Rockets. Houston is second in offensive rating and net rating and has already scored 120 points or more ten times this season. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show as the Rockets win, cover the spread, and help this game hit the over.
Thunder vs Wizards (no moneyline yet)
Thunder are ready to roll without Roberson
We’re about to find out just how much the Thunder are going to miss Andre Roberson. OKC will be without its starting shooting guard for the remainder of the season after the Colorado alum ruptured his left patellar tendon on a seemingly innocuous alley-oop attempt against the Pistons. Although Roberson may not pose much of a threat on offense, he’s absolutely crucial to the Thunder’s defensive strategy. Oklahoma City allows 18.6 fewer points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court with the team’s preferred starting line-up. That’s a staggering number and it speaks volumes about his value to the team.
Betting Advice: The Thunder will face their first post-Roberson test on Tuesday night when they take on the Wizards. There are no lines available yet, but pick the Thunder to win straight up and take the over on any total of 214 points or less. The two teams combined for 233 points when they met on January 25th, and Bradley Beal and John Wall (two petty players in their own rights) will both have considerably more freedom on the perimeter without Roberson shadowing their every move.