Our Experts’ Best Bets for Today’s NBA Slate
Photo credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: NBA Playoffs logo
This weekend’s action featured some ridiculously good performances. Monday’s games should build on the excitement we saw over the past two days with the Los Angeles Lakers facing the Portland Trail Blazers in the night cap.
So, where’s the value today? Our staff is here to break down their favorite NBA bets for Monday’s slate and has found angles in three of the four games:
- 1:30 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic
- 4 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- 6:30 p.m. ET: Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat
Monday NBA Betting Picks
Matt Moore: Bucks vs. Magic
|Bucks odds||-13.5 [BET NOW]|
|Magic odds||+13.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-1175/+737 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||225 [BET NOW]|
|Time||1:30 p.m. ET|
The Bucks, like the Lakers, shrugged off their first game and got things back under control by getting their defense right. Milwaukee has a 96.7 defensive rating through its last two games.
But here’s what’s interesting: The Magic have held the Bucks below their expected team total in two of the three games in this series, and the one game the Bucks broke through, Game 3, they only cleared the over by 2 points, and shot 58% eFG% vs. a 54% expected. They got quality shots, but they also shot the lights out, and that can come and go with the Bucks specifically.
The Magic are also built a little differently than most teams. They’ve built a professional team, and Steve Clifford’s teams have a tendency to play the right way all the way through. The Magic are good consistently on the defensive end, they’re just limited offensively (outside of Game 1, their outlier offensive performance).
The series is only 2-1, so Orlando isn’t facing the sweet release of getting out of the bubble. I expect a good fight from them and for the Bucks to put up less than 120 with favorable juice, even if the Bucks’ defense wins out.
The Play: Bucks team total under 119.5
Raheem Palmer: Thunder vs. Rockets
|Thunder odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Rockets odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-136/+115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||223.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
The Rockets had seven turnovers in Games 1 and 2 and 16 in Game 3. In addition, the Rockets shot 37% from 3 in Game 1, 34% in Game 2 and 30% in Game 3.
What we’re seeing is that the Thunder have to force turnovers and the Rockets have to shoot below expectation for the game to simply be close. Based on Game 3, they also need foul trouble from James Harden and Robert Covington.
It’s increasingly evident that the Thunder are punching out of their weight class and can’t match point for point with the Rockets. That said, you have to wonder if all of this basketball is catching up to Houston. They’ve seen shooting percentages decline the past three games and playing every other day can’t be ideal for a team that is shooting as many 3s as they are.
The pace of these games isn’t particularly fast without Russell Westbrook. Both Harden and Chris Paul tend to hold the ball longer than most. The pace of these games were 98, 91, and 102 (with Game 3 including overtime).
At any given time, OKC will have two non-shooters on the floor with Dort and Adams, which will make it tough for the Thunder to score consistently.
I think we’re trending towards lower-scoring games in this series.
The Pick: Under 220.5
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Brandon Anderson: Pacers vs. Heat
|Pacers odds||+6 [BET NOW]|
|Heat odds||-6 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+195/-240 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||216.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
Two East series are already in the books, with the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors sweeping the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets right out of the playoffs. This game gives us a chance for a third sweep with the Heat up 3-0 on the shorthanded Pacers.
Domantas Sabonis is back in the bubble to root his guys on, but the Pacers need him on the court. They have fought hard and pushed the Heat in every game, but ultimately lost by nine, nine, and 12 points.
The difference between the Pacers and other teams that have already been swept (cough Sixers cough) is that the Pacers constantly give full effort and maximize their chances, no matter who’s missing.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Pacers take a game off the Heat and turn this into a gentleman’s sweep, especially with the Heat banged up on the wing — Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala, and Derrick Jones Jr. all questionable per our Labs Insiders tool.
I’m not confident enough in the Pacers to pick them to finish the job, but I do like them to stay in the game until at least halftime, maybe even take a lead there. I’ll play the first half +3.5 and trust the Pacers to show up and bring a full fight without worrying about whether they can finish the job late.
I’d play this down to +1.5 as needed.
The Pick: Pacers +3.5 1H