NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 2 Best Bets For Monday, Including Celtics vs. Bulls, Knicks vs. Thunder (November 21)
Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics, Ayo Dosunmu #12, Coby White #0 of the Chicago Bulls.
With so many people all over the world focused on that soccer tournament in Qatar during the day, there's a great opportunity to find some value across the NBA on Monday night.
Tonight's slate is eight games deep, with truly compelling matchups across the board: Hawks vs. Cavaliers (7 p.m. ET), Warriors vs. Pelicans (8 p.m. ET) and Jazz vs. Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET) just to name a few.
And yet, our two NBA analysts have found even more value in two other matchups on tonight's schedule. They are targeting a moneyline bet in one game and a team total in the first half of another.
Read on for their analysis and expert picks for Monday night.
NBA Odds & Picks
New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Chris Baker: The Knicks lost to this team in dramatic fashion eight days ago, allowing 145 points on an insane 62.5% shooting from the field. This is also a bad spot for the Knicks as it is their fifth game in seven days and they are on a back-to-back.
Despite all of this, I am prepared to back the Knicks due to the number of matchup advantages they should have for this one. Mitchell Robinson is back in the Knicks' lineup after missing the first game against OKC at Madison square Garden. That is huge for the Knicks as he is an elite offensive rebounder and a great rim protector.
The Knicks need to protect the rim against this OKC offense that currently ranks fourth in rim rate, taking 37.8% of their shots at the rim. The Knicks allowed the Thunder to take 37% of their shots at the rim in the first matchup, but I would expect them to defend the rim much better with Robinson back.
The second major area that Robinson helps is on the offensive boards as the Knicks posted an average 27.5% offensive rebound rate against OKC last week. The Knicks should do better against this OKC team that currently ranks 27th in Defensive Rebound Rate on the season.
Aside from having Robinson back, I expect the Knicks to perform better due to expected regression from the Thunder. The Thunder shot 54.8% from deep, 73.3% at the rim, and 59.3% from midrange. Overall, they finished with a 72.2% Effective Field Goal Percentage.
It was an extreme outlier offensive performance that saw them finish 99th percentile or higher from multiple areas of the field. Repeating a performance like that is unlikely, but I do expect the Knicks to be able to repeat their offensive performance as they weren’t even particularly efficient.
They shot below their averages from beyond the arc and at the rim but their process was extremely good as they took 50% of their shots at the rim and have a much better matchup with OKC’s primary rim protector, Aleksej Pokusevski, ruled out for this game. Poku leads OKC in block percentage (4.0%) and his absence will only further exacerbate their weak interior defense as they currently rank 29th in the NBA in rim rate allowed.
Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls
Joe Dellera: The Boston Celtics have been destroying teams to start the season and it is almost entirely due to their offense. The Celtics have the No. 1 Adjust Net Rating in the League along with the No. 1 Adjusted Offensive Rating (120.0). They have optimized their offensive process and lead the league in 3 point frequency, 44.3% of their shots are from deep and they are making 39.2% of those looks.
Now, they have a matchup vs a Bulls team who has an excellent defense on the surface, with the seventh-best Adjusted Defensive Rating (110.0); however, this is built on a shaky foundation.
The Bulls have that Defensive Rating despite having the 25th ranked allowed eFG% (55.6%) and they are allowing opponents to shoot nearly 40% from 3-point range. This is evidence too, when the Bulls have played a top-10 offense their defense plummets and they allow 118.6 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass.
The Celtics have been cruising in the First Half of games as well. And over their last 10 games, the Celtics have eclipsed 60 points in eight of them while averaging 62.4 points. This includes a 63 point performance against the Bulls and that was with just 13 3 point attempts, I’d expect more 3s in tonight’s contest since they averaged 22.3 3PAs in the first half this season.
I expect Boston to continue their hot scoring to start the game and I’ll take their first half team total over up to over 60.5.