NBA Sunday: High-scoring Suns and fast-starting Warriors headline value selections
It’s not the most glamorous slate for an NBA Sunday, but there’s still some value throughout. Two of the league’s worst teams have caught my eye along with a fired-up Warriors squad and an enticing head-to-head battle between two middle-of-the-road teams.
Pacers (8-8) @ Heat (7-4)
With over 80 percent of bets going on the Heat, the opening -3 line blew out to -4.5 a little over 24 hours before tipoff.
The Heat played out a great win over the Wizards on Friday, but it’s worth noting John Wall had an awful night, finishing with just eight points.
If the public keeps pushing the lineup, I like the Pacers to cover in a close one.
It’s a great game for head-to-head matchups with Hassan Whiteside vs. Myles Turner, Goran Dragic vs. Darren Collison and Dion Waiters vs. Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo is the most likely of the six players to outplay his opposite. Opposing shooting guards are averaging 26.6 points per game in Miami’s last five, and Oladipo himself has been shooting the lights out, knocking down 45 percent of his 3-point attempts. Going up against Waiters and his ankle in desperate need of surgery, this could be the matchup the secures the cover, if not a straight up win.
Pick: Pacers +5
Warriors (12-4) @ Nets (6-9)
The Warriors are playing the second night of a back-to-back after playing in Philadelphia last night. They were down by as many as 24 points before an incredible 47-point third quarter gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Warriors trailed the 76ers by 22 points at halftime, but then outscored Philly 47-15 in the 3rd quarter.
The 32-point differential is tied for the largest in the 3rd quarter of ANY game in the shot clock era (since 1954-55).
Steph had 20 in the quarter, too. pic.twitter.com/g3a9K17w00
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 19, 2017
Not wanting to rely on heroics, and instead, rest up in the fourth quarter, I’m expecting the Warriors to come out and put this game to bed early.
The Nets are getting +13 points, but if the Warriors fire from tipoff and end the game with their second unit, they’re a good chance at a backdoor cover. For that reason, the -6 first half line for the Warriors is where I’m headed.
It’s unlikely we see the Warriors start so poorly again. Giving up 47 points in the first quarter last night was an outlier. In the five games prior, they were giving up half of that, 23.6 points per game.
Third quarters have been where the Warriors make their run, but in the first quarter on the second night of a back-to-back so far this season, they’ve been scoring 30 points per game.
Kevin Durant has been ruled out, but the Warriors can lose any one of their four all-stars and still be the best team in the league.
— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) November 19, 2017
They’ll come out strong in this one.
Pick: Warriors -6 first half
Bulls (3-10) @ Suns (6-11)
Two of the worst teams in the league go head-to-head tonight, but the game arguably produces the best value.
Both are coming off rare wins, but the Suns are in the better form overall.
Phoenix has scored 112 points per game over their last six, with all but one coming against teams in the top half of the league in defensive rating. As bad as they are, the Suns almost always find a way to score points.
Defensively, they are awful but should have enough in that area to contain the league’s second-worst offense. At 94.8 points per game this season, Chicago just doesn’t have the offensive firepower to compete every night. They make do defensively, but lapses in concentration result in opponents making runs that can’t be pulled back.
Playing at home against the Bulls who are fairly reliable at scoring well below 100 points, I like the Suns to get the win.
Pick: Suns -145
Wizards (9-5) @ Raptors (9-5)
Pacers (7-8) @ Heat (6-8)
Pistons (10-4) @ Timberwolves (9-5)
Nuggets (8-6) @ Lakers (6-9)
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