NBA Expert Odds & Picks (Monday, March 2): Our Staff’s Best Bets for Rockets vs. Knicks, Grizzlies vs. Hawks
Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks.
- Betting the NBA tonight? Our staff has found some value across Monday's seven-game slate.
- Among the games they're betting are Rockets vs. Knicks and Grizzlies vs. Hawks.
- Check out all three of their picks for tonight, along with a breakdown for each.
There are seven games on Monday’s NBA schedule and our experts are betting on these specific matchups:
- 7 p.m. ET: Trail Blazers at Magic
- 7 p.m. ET: Rockets at Knicks
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Grizzlies at Hawks
See the three bets they’re making below.
Monday NBA Betting Picks
John Ewing: Blazers at Magic
- Spread: Magic -7
- Over/Under: 221
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
The Magic are 7-point favorites at home against the Blazers. As the line indicates, Orlando and Portland are two teams trending in opposite directions.
The Magic have won five of their past six games and are currently the No. 7-seed in the East. The Blazers have lost three in a row and six of seven.
Orlando is expected to win, but will the Magic cover?
Contrarian bettors buy on bad news and sell on good. That often means taking road dogs, betting teams that failed to cover and fading those that cashed tickets in their previous game.
Wouldn’t you know it, combining these three strategies creates a winning betting system with a large sample and consistent year-to-year results.
Road underdogs have historically been undervalued as home-court advantage is overrated. An additional contrarian take is to bet teams off an against the spread (ATS) loss as underdogs (teams casual bettors will avoid) against an opponent off an ATS win as a favorite (teams the public will chase).
By zigging when the squares zag, bettors following this system have gone 982-814-37 (55%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor has returned a profit of $12,240 betting games matching this strategy.
Portland has struggled lately, but historical data suggests the smart play is on CJ McCollum & Co.
The PICK: Blazers +7
[Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]
Wob: Rockets at Knicks
- Spread: Rockets -10
- Over/Under: 230.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
At this point in the season, we know everything we need to know about these two teams.
The Rockets have pivoted to an unprecedented version of small ball, which entails the entire roster standing 30 feet from the rim and launching threes, while Russell Westbrook is free to roam and wreak havoc like a lion in the Serengeti. The Rockets are going to drown you in swingmen, and they have single-handedly made the center position an endangered species.
One center, however, who will withstand this plague is Mitchell Robinson. He is arguably the only true center in the league who can guard both the three-point line and the perimeter.
The Rockets made Rudy Gobert look like the Space Jam Nerdlucks were sitting courtside in trench coats, but they won’t do the same to Mitch Rob, who has made a career off of blocking perimeter shots. Yes, three-pointers. He blocks them. Regularly.
In addition to that, there is nothing the Knicks love more than coming out and playing well for just one day when they have some good press (Leon Rose introduction and his motivational speech to season ticket holders that went out this morning). It produces this smokescreen facade of success that has infected Knicks fans with Stockholm Syndrome for the past two decades.
You will get one of the Knicks’ best performances all season just because of this sentiment alone. They are more than happy to oblige playing small ball, carrying an arsenal of swingmen themselves, and we are due for a Rockets letdown at some point.
They’ve been just too good without a market correction. Their spreads are completely overvalued, and even if you didn’t know anything about the two teams — this number makes no sense considering how hard the Knicks have been playing.
The PICK: Knicks +10
Brandon Anderson: Grizzlies at Hawks
- Spread: Hawks -2
- Over/Under: 241
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The Grizzlies are reeling without Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke. Memphis stunned the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend, but had failed to cover their five previous games since JJJ’s injury. Jackson and Clarke are the Grizzlies’ best defenders. With them out, it’s on Ja Morant to simply outscore the other team, and the rookie isn’t quite ready for that task yet.
That presumed lack of defense is probably what’s driving up the line on tonight’s game against the Hawks. Atlanta doesn’t play any defense either, so bettors are expecting a shootout. The line opened at 238.5 and has already risen to 241 and may move a point or two farther by tip.
There’s just one problem — Jackson and Clarke play offense too. It’s true that the Grizzlies’ defense is struggling without those two, but so is the offense. Jackson has become a valuable floor spacer this season as a reliable 3-point shooter, and Clarke is already getting super efficient buckets at the rim. In their past five games with both sidelined, Memphis has averaged just 104 points, topping out at 112.
I’m just not sure Memphis can score enough to turn this game into a shootout. Maybe that means you prefer the game under at 241 and rising, or maybe playing Atlanta -2. I’m sticking with the under-119.5 team total for Memmphis. Even with Atlanta’s bad defense, I just don’t see enough Grizz offense to get there.
The PICK: Grizzlies team total under 119.5