Monday’s NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Jazz vs. Heat, Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers

Monday’s NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Jazz vs. Heat, Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

There are 11 games on the NBA schedule for Monday night and our experts are betting on three specific matchups:

  • 7 p.m. ET: Philadelphia 76ers at Detroit Pistons 
  • 7:30 p.m. ET: Utah Jazz at Miami Heat 
  • 10 p.m. ET: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers 

See what bets they’re making below.

Odds as of Monday afternoon and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

Bryan Mears: Hawks at Cavaliers 

  • Spread: Cavaliers -1
  • Over/Under: 229
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

Only the Wizards have a worse defense this season than the Hawks and Cavs. Atlanta has played at the sixth-fastest pace in the league, and as a result the Hawks have been profitable to the over, going 17-13. The Cavs have hit the under more often, although it’s been dead even in December.

The interesting dynamic in this game is the return of John Collins, who has been out since Oct. 31. He played just the first five games of the year.

Last season, the Hawks were 8.6 points per 100 possessions better with Collins on the floor vs. off — the highest mark on the team. Most of that was on offense, as the team increased its efficiency by a whopping 8.6 points/100. It wasn’t just his athleticism, although that’s a big part of his game: The Hawks were 5.7/100 better with him in the halfcourt — 92nd percentile in the league.

In 3,210 possessions last season — a large sample size — the Hawks posted a very solid 112.9 Offensive Rating with Collins and Trae Young on the floor together. Those units had a 55.0 eFG% mark — 90th percentile in the league. They dominated the offensive glass as well.

The defense was bad, but there’s obviously more upside with the Hawks offense now that Collins is back, and it’s important to remember this wasn’t an injury; Collins was suspended and won’t need to be eased back into the rotation. He should be 100 percent ready to go and contribute tonight: We’re projecting him to play 30 minutes.

I don’t trust the defense, but I do think the offense should improve, providing some value on the over. I don’t have a bet on the Hawks spread, but bettors seem to be intrigued by them: We’ve tracked a whopping five steam bets on the Hawks from +2.5 to +1.5 vs. just one on the Cavs.

For what it’s worth, this game matches an over/under Pro System we have at Bet Labs. There are actually four total matches tonight so far:

The PICK: Over 229.5 (I wouldn’t bet past the number)

John Ewing: Jazz at Heat

  • Spread: Heat -4.5
  • Over/Under: 213
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Heat-Jazz total has moved from 212 to 213. Professional bettors are responsible for the line movement.

More than 65% of tickets are on the over and it accounts for about 95% of dollars. When there is a larger percentage of dollars than tickets on the over this is an indication of sharp action.

Historically, it has been profitable to follow the line movement when there is a larger percentage of money than tickets on the over.

Sharp bettors don’t always win, but being on the same side as the pros is a profitable long term strategy.

The PICK: Over 213

Brandon Anderson: Jazz at Heat 

Let’s get frisky. The Miami Heat are 21-8, and they’ve done it despite a near constant conveyor belt of injuries and healthy bodies. Jimmy Butler missed the start of the season, Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic have been hurt on and off all year, and now Bam Adebayo is banged up.

And through all that, the Heat remain 12-1 at home, including 11-2 against the spread. They’re also 15-1 straight up as a favorite and 12-4 ATS.

The Jazz are much worse on the road. They’re under .500, and they’re even worse at 2-6 as an underdog. And sure Utah has won five in a row, but they did it against the Wolves, Warriors, Magic, Hawks, and Hornets. The Heat are a different animal, especially at home.

As for the over, the Jazz defense has faltered and fallen to No. 10 overall, and the Heat are right behind at No. 11. That’s a far cry from where both were to start the season, and they’ve both been hitting the over lately because of it. Miami has gone over in seven straight, and Utah’s over in four of their last five.

The books haven’t caught up, giving us a very attainable 213 total. Let’s grab the over and parlay it with a home Miami win, doubling down for something in the +275 range, depending on your book.

The PICK: Parlay (Heat -4 | Over 213)

Rob Perez: Pelicans at Trail Blazers

  • Spread: Trail Blazers -6
  • Over/Under: 229.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET

I find myself asking this question a lot whenever these two teams play and the over/under is not set at a figure of at least 235. Who exactly is planning on playing any defense here? The Pelicans will arrive to The Moda Center with the league’s fourth-worst-rated defense while playing at the fourth-fastest pace.

Oh, and if you thought they didn’t play any resemblance of defense now or even care to try — they’ve been on the road since last Tuesday. Defensive effort never travels well with bad teams on long road trips who are just punching the time clock until their head coach is fired. This team doesn’t just stink, they go out of their way to stink.

As for the Trail Blazers, despite turning around their win/loss record these past stretch of games, they don’t care about defense either despite being only 12th-worst in the NBA. They put up points in droves, eighth-most in the league to be exact, and that won’t stop tonight regardless of Melo’s status.

The PICK: Over 230

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