Moore’s Monday NBA Betting Picks & Angles: A Great Day to Trust Good Coaches
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Quin Snyder speaks with Joe Ingles (2) of the Utah Jazz.
Angles for Monday’s huge NBA slate based on matchups and trends…
Odds as of Monday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Bulls at Bucks (-15)
5 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: MIKE BUDENHOLZER, LORD OF THE CENTRAL
Mike Budenholzer in his career is 27-18 ATS (60%) as a home favorite vs. division teams. With the Bucks, that goes to 11-2 (!!!).
Look, I get it. They’re laying a ton of points. I get it. It’s 15.
But I like Milwaukee. This is where the Bucks just land haymakers over and over.
The sharps have tended to like Chicago in certain spots this year, as I’ve written consistently. The Bulls have underperformed offensively and are due for regression to the mean. But they’re still coming in on the Bucks.
The Bulls defense is underrated, but they are 17th in points in the paint allowed. That’s death incarnate vs. Giannis. The Bulls’ perimeter defense is good, though, which is why I lean towards the under.
Chicago’s offense is going to have a miserable time. The Bulls are 23rd in points per possession on jump shots and 22nd on catch-and-shoot opportunities. If you can’t hit shots vs. the Bucks, who surrenders those shots, you’re doomed.
THE PLAY: Bucks -15, Under 225.5
Knicks (-1.5) at Cavaliers
5 p.m. ET
THE PLAY: THE CAVS AREN’T THAT BAD!
Everyone thinks the Cavs are garbage and the team is in disarray with Kevin Love trade rumors and the coaching stuff and everything, and don’t get me wrong: They’re not good. But they’ve been good vs. bad teams.
The Cavs this season are 13-8 ATS (62%) vs. teams under .500. Now they’re at home vs. the Knicks as a short dog. They have better guards (which is wild), a better frontcourt (Kevin Love is active) and a better bench.
The Knicks haven’t been in this spot very often (favored or a short dog), and they haven’t done well ATS.
THE PLAY: Cavs +1.5
Magic (-3.5) at Hornets
5 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: A FAVORABLE MAGIC SPOT
The Magic are, quite surprisingly, good in spots they should win. They are 13-8 (62%) ATS this season vs. teams under .500.
They take care of business… they just can’t beat anyone better than them, and they struggle with teams as good as they are.
Via our Labs NBA Insider Tool, the Hornets have traveled 7,059 miles recently, compared to under 3,500 for the Magic. Charlotte has a weird, off-kilter schedule leading up to its trip to Paris next week.
Charlotte’s bad offensively and defensively, and the Magic smother bad offenses and need the boost offensively.
Under a two-possession game, I like Orlando.
THE PLAY: Orlando -3.5
Pelicans at Grizzlies (-2.5)
5 p.m. ET
Memphis has won seven straight. That’s just wild.
I’m trying to figure out if it’s time to start fading them as they regress a little bit. I’m not sold yet.
The Grizzlies are fourth in pace this season; the Pelicans are sixth. The Grizzlies are 22nd in Defensive Rating; the Pelicans are 26th.
As a result, this total is an astronomical 240. In games with a total over 240, the under is 21-12 (64%). It’s just an insane number to hit. What’s crazier? Eight of those games have come this season, and the under is 6-2 this season.
So this is just a numbers play. Take the under; it’s hard to put up that many points and give up that many points. I liked the Pelicans under Saturday vs. the Clippers, and that coasted over, but the Clippers offense (fifth) is much better than Memphis’ (17th). Even in the last 15 games, the Clippers are third and Memphis fifth.
I lean towards Memphis, but the Pelicans have been so much better lately that I’m staying away and just playing the under.
THE PLAY: Under 241
Thunder at Rockets (-7)
5 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: FOLLOW THE MONEY
The sharps are hammering Houston: 45% of the tickets are on OKC and just 24% of the money. The money is pouring in on the Rockets.
So if you’re going to make a play, that’s it. But I don’t love the number.
It opened 6, and that number is better, but I need it two possessions or less. Houston is in its worst slump of the year. The Rockets put a lot of stock in “OK, we’ve struggled, but we’ll show up Saturday vs. the Lakers.” And then they completely quit in the second half.
Things are dangerously close to imploding in Houston.
OKC, meanwhile, has been lights out in this spot, going 13-4 ATS as a road dog. Houston is 10-10 at home.
The money says you want to go Houston; the context of the game says you want to go OKC. The matchup isn’t bad for OKC, with Chris Paul’s knowledge of the offense, the way Houston makes small duck-ins for the Thunder bigs easy and the lack of perimeter containment for the Rockets.
This feels trap-ish both ways.
THE PLAY: STAY AWAY
Lakers (-2.5) at Celtics
7:30 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: Bending the Celtics’ interior
The Celtics have been so much better this season than I expected on the interior line. But they struggle vs. teams with great frontcourts because they’re just not as talented there.
The defense is at its worst point of the season. The starters are getting absolutely blitzed over the last 10 games, with a Defensive Rating above 110.
The Lakers are uniquely positioned to hit them on both fronts, with a dominating starting unit and the size to bend them backwards. Anthony Davis is back in the lineup.
The Celtics have been good this season. They’re a good team. But the Lakers are a great team, and as such this line needs to be closer to 4. There’s just too much value this season if the Lakers are less than five-point favorites against anyone but the most elite teams. Boston’s record outpaces its point differential.
LeBron James is 10-2 since 2016-17 vs. the Celtics straight-up. With that number and a spread under a full three-point possession, there’s too much value.
THE PLAY: Lakers -2.5
Nuggets at Timberwolves (-2.5)
8 p.m. ET
Bryan Mears has a great breakdown on the Nuggets’ defensive woes and why the over has value. I liked Denver at home yesterday as an underdog, and they led after three quarters before a fourth quarter collapse.
On the back-to-back, shorthanded, missing three starters… I like the Nuggets again.
Michael Malone is 67-51-3 (56.8%) ATS as a road dog. On the second night of a back-to-back as a road dog? 23-12-2 (65.7%) ATS.
How about vs. division teams? Since 2017-18 when the team became good, as a road dog vs. division opponents on the second night of a back-to-back, the Nuggets are 9-2. Malone is 20-13-1 ATS vs. division opponents on the road.
The Nuggets have more weapons than people realize on the bench, and a poor Wolves defense will make things easier on unproven players like Michael Porter Jr. and P.J. Dozier. Nikola Jokic has won the battles vs. Karl-Anthony Towns, and the rest of the team remembers when the Wolves knocked out the Nuggets from the playoffs two years ago.
THE PLAY: Nuggets ML +130
Pacers at Jazz (-7)
9 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: THE DREADED ALTITUDE BACK-TO-BACK
Since 2010, teams are 5-10 SU and 6-8-1 ATS (42.9%) as an underdog facing Utah on the second night of a back-to-back after facing Denver the night before.
Why does this matter? It’s the altitude back-to-back. You play at Denver’s 5,000-plus-foot altitude, take a plane ride and then face Utah in lower but still tough conditions. The fact that these two teams have been historically good since 2010 is related.
It’s just a tough spot.
The Pacers’ less-than-stellar defense as of late is a worry here, especially vs. a Jazz team that’s been ticking up in that category. Utah’s perimeter length should help against the guards, and it has the wings to hold TJ Warren. Throw in Rudy Gobert to help against Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, and it’s a matchup tilt for Utah as well.
Nate McMillan is 22-29 ATS (43%) on the second night of a back-to-back with the Pacers.
THE PLAY: Jazz -7
Spurs at Suns (-5)
9 p.m. ET
THE ANGLE: WAIT, THE SUNS ARE FAVORED?
So this reads like the market is slow to catch up with how the Spurs have been lately. They’re coming off a win vs. the Heat and have covered five of their last seven as an underdog.
Phoenix is playing better, but the Spurs’ offensive profile has been so improved.
The bench is the key element here. The Suns are 20th in bench Net Rating; the Spurs are fifth. The starters for San Antonio have played better as of late. They’re still in the negative in Net Rating over the last 10 games, but they’re not getting crushed.
One caveat: The Spurs are 6-12 ATS under Gregg Popovich the last five seasons as a dog on the second night of a back-to-back. I’ll take the Spurs here, but cautiously.
THE PLAY: Spurs +5