NBA Odds, Best Bets: Expert Picks for Sunday, March 19
Via Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors brings the ball up court during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on February 05, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.
- NBA teams have about 10 games remaining in the regular season, and our betting experts are locking in on the home stretch.
- Our NBA analysts have five best bets for Sunday, including a pick for Raptors vs. Bucks on NBA TV.
- Find their best bets and analysis below.
The NBA regular season continues on Sunday with eight games on tap, including a nationally televised matchup between the Raptors and Bucks at 8 p.m. ET. Our NBA betting experts are ready to roll with five best bets, including two spread picks and three player prop bets. Find their best bets and analysis below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Suns vs. Thunder Spread
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The Suns will be without DeAndre Ayton on Sunday–a player who could exploit the Thunder’s lack of size. Phoenix already has a thin roster after shipping off Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to acquire Kevin Durant, but without Durant in the lineup, the Suns are down two wing defenders without the elite scorer they traded them for.
Despite losing both games to the Suns this season, the Thunder are actually well equipped to play Phoenix. OKC’s defensive weaknesses lie in their willingness to give up 3-pointers and a soft interior. They rank 23rd in defensive 3-point Rate and 21st in Defensive Rim Rate. However, the Suns take the fewest shots at the rim in the league and are 16th in 3-point Frequency.
The Suns have a -0.5 Net Rating on the road, compared to the Thunder’s +5.7 Net Rating at home. Going back to last season, the Thunder continue to be undervalued in the market. Over last two seasons, the Thunder are the second-best team against the spread (49-30-3, 59.8%) and are 12-6 ATS as home favorites this season.
The Suns are slightly undervalued as road dogs (9-8-1) according to Statmuse, but if you took the names off the jerseys and just looked at the stats for either side, the Thunder would be favored by significantly more.
The Thunder have double home revenge coming into tonight’s game. I took them at -1 after the Ayton news broke and would take them down to -2.5 for one unit. Reduce risk down to -4.
Nets vs Nuggets Player Prop
Bryan Fonseca: Dorian Finney-Smith is not having one of his better rebounding seasons.
He’s at 5.5 boards per 36 minutes, a slight improvement from last year but the third-lowest of his now-seven-season career. The same could be said for his 7.5 rebounds per 100 possessions. His total rebound percentage, also his third-worst tally, sits at just 8.8%.
These numbers have slightly improved in his 16 games with the Brooklyn Nets compared to when he was in Dallas, perhaps because 15% of his minutes have been played at center on his new team. According to basketball reference, this is more than the 9% he spent at the five in Dallas this season.
Ultimately, though, the over is too hard of a sell. In those 16 contests, Finney-Smith has pulled down five or more boards just nine times, and only twice in his last six games. They also just played the Nuggets on March 12, and DFS logged over 38 minutes in the game, recording zero rebounds. None. Not to mention that he’s accumulated at least four personal fouls in three of his last four, including that game in Denver.
We’ll take under 4.5 boards for DFS and not think twice about it today.
Suns vs. Thunder Spread
Chris Baker: The Thunder got blown out by 31 against the Suns a few weeks ago, but they were without their best player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for that one.
SGA is back in the lineup, and this team has been consistently solid with him on the court. The Thunder have a +2.5 Net Rating with SGA and are -2.7 when he is off the floor. His return to consistent play indicates that this team wants to be in the playoffs and will compete all 82 games to fight for a play-in/playoff spot.
The OKC bench has been mostly terrific post trade deadline as Dario Saric, Isaiah Joe and Lindy Waters all have outstanding On/Off Ratings. Additionally, this team has no shortage of secondary playmaking due to the emergence of Jalen Williams and Josh Giddey as legitimate ball-handlers.
On the flip side of the ball, I worry about the Suns’ ability to generate consistent offense without Deandre Ayton and Kevin Durant in the lineup. Devin Booker is certainly elite, but behind him, the Suns only have the ghost of Chris Paul and a bunch of 3 and D role players. Booker will often be shadowed by Luguentz Dort, so he may find it difficult to get to his spots.
The Suns offense should also see a drop-off in efficiency due to Ayton’s absence. He is fifth in the NBA in Screen Assists per game and provides a nice post presence against this small Thunder defense. Jock Landale isn’t an awful replacement, but he isn’t the same level of screener as Ayton and will likely have difficulties containing dribble penetration from SGA.
Ultimately, I worry about the Suns’ secondary playmaking depth more than the Thunder’s, and that is enough for me to back the Thunder at this pick’em price at home. Play this up to -2.
Nets vs. Nuggets Player Prop
Prop Bomb: Nikola Jokic and his team are losers of five of their previous six games, and with a tight spread, I see value in his rebound props today.
Nicolas Claxton is the only obstacle for Jokic on the glass, and the Brooklyn Nets are struggling with rebounding lately. They allow the most opposing offensive rebounds (12.2) and defensive rebounds (39.0) per game in the league since the All-Star break, as well as allow the second-most to the center position (18.33) over the last 15 games.
Jokic averages 11.8 rebounds per game, below his prop line, but sometimes paying the premium is worth it because last Sunday, he was a monster on the boards, grabbing 20 rebounds on 28 chances in his previous meeting versus the Nets.
As for the matchup, I expect Jokic’s rebounding threats, Aaron Gordon (6.7 rebounds per game) and Michael Porter Jr. (5.3 rebounds per game), to be away from the basket on defense to defend wings like Mikal Bridges, Dorian-Finney Smith and Cameron Johnson on the perimeter. This should result in leaving Jokic around the paint to guard a lower-usage Nicolas Claxton, increasing the likelihood of grabbing a board.
On top of that, the Brooklyn Nets have been giving up big boards to opposing centers lately, including against Domantas Sabonis (20 rebounds), Bobby Portis/Brook Lopez (23 combined rebounds), Alperen Sengun (12 rebounds), Mark Williams (14 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic/Andre Drummond (20 combined rebounds).
Despite recent trends and an inflated line, I expect many rebound opportunities for the reigning two-time MVP in a favorable matchup. I would be comfortable taking his rebounding prop up to -130.
Pick: Nikola Jokic Over 12.5 Rebounds
Raptors vs. Bucks Player Prop
Jim Turvey: Playing on zero days rest this season has been a legitimate bugaboo for Scottie Barnes this season. For the year as a whole, he’s averaging 15.6 points per game on 45/30/77 shooting splits. However, in the 10 games in which he has played on zero days of rest, those numbers plummet to: 12.1 points per game on 43/8(!!)/63 shooting.
Now there’s no way Barnes is a true talent eight-percent 3-point shooter on no days rest, but I think there’s a bit of signal to this for a few reasons: He’s still a young player who is not as used to the rigors of the NBA schedule. Some of rumors of issues around the organization include that he sees himself as the chosen one and maybe doesn’t put in the work needed to be at that level. This is the second straight season he has seen this type of gap on no days rest.
I’ll be eyeing his point total to go under on Sunday.
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