NBA Odds & Picks For Monday: Bet the Bulls Moneyline, Grizzlies-Mavericks Over, More
Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns.
Find out which favorite they see moneyline value on, which total they like to go over and a second-quarter spread angle below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Bulls at Rockets
Brandon Anderson: Well, the post-James Harden honeymoon phase was fun while it lasted.
The Rockets started 3-6 with Harden going through the motions, and it was clear that it was time for everybody to move on. The Rockets lost three of their first four games after the trade but then ripped off six wins in a row, looking shockingly competent at times with a hugely improved defense that ranked first in Defensive Efficiency over the next few weeks.
That’s all in the past now.
The Rockets haven’t won a game since Feb. 4, losing seven in a row since then by an average of 16.1 points. And it’s not like the schedule just toughened up. Here are the Ls the Rockets have taken over this stretch: Spurs, Hornets, Pelicans, Heat, Knicks, Wizards and 76ers.
That’s not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents.
There’s only one sure playoff team in that mix — the Sixers — and even they were missing Ben Simmons in that game.
Houston has struggled to score over this stretch, with 101 or fewer points in more than half of those games. They’ve also given up at least 111 in all but one.
On top of all that, Victor Oladipo is doubtful for Monday night with a foot injury. DeMarcus Cousins is also a question mark after a weird weekend in which he was getting cut from the team but then wasn’t. This is just an odd team that doesn’t have much offense to be found, even against a Bulls defense that’s there for the taking.
Chicago has actually been a competent basketball team under Billy Donovan. Competence! Imagine that under Jim Boylen. The Bulls aren’t particularly good at much, but they’re not bad either — and that’s progress! They’re average now, and they’ve been one of the best in the league against the spread this season.
The biggest reason for that is Zach LaVine, who continues to light up the nets with a monster season. He’s averaging more than 35 points per game over the last eight while shooting 55% from the field, including nearly 52% from behind the arc. He’s making a monster All-Star Game push, and with the reserves being announced tomorrow, this is his final opportunity to make a statement.
I like LaVine to continue his hot play as the Bulls dictate the pace and find more than enough scoring to take care of the Rockets’ anemic attack. I love this at a pick’em, so I’ll grab the Chicago moneyline up to -120. PointsBet is offering the best line as of noon ET at -115.
Grizzlies at Mavericks
Kenny Ducey: Defense will be optional in this Monday night tilt.
Only the Cavaliers (123.5) have allowed more points per 100 plays than the Mavericks (123.3) in the month of February while the Grizzlies (117.9) aren’t far behind in fourth-to-last place. Additionally for the month, both rank in the bottom three in 3-point percentage allowed, watching more than 42% of looks fall from distance.
That said, both have managed to keep up with their awful defenses. Dallas sits atop the NBA over that span with a 122.8 Offensive Rating. Memphis is 11th in the league.
It’s no wonder this total is as high as it is (compare real-time odds here). There’s also the fact that the over is 7-1 over the Grizzlies’ last eight games, and undefeated over the Mavericks’ last seven. The question is whether it’s worth going over on this high total.
I’m looking at the pace here, considering we know both clubs will wilt on defense. It’s all about how many possessions we can squeeze out of this game. And over the last six games, the Grizzlies and Mavericks are tied for seventh in average pace. That’s an impressive number considering four of Memphis’ opponents rank in the bottom 10 in pace for the year. Dallas has played a couple of slow-moving teams as well.
Both teams should be working quickly to get shots, and judging by how poor the defenses have been as well as the promise we’ve seen from the Dallas offense, this game should go over. It doesn’t hurt that both sides have been allergic to unders of late.
This line is up to 233 at some books, but BetMGM is still offering 232.5 as of noon ET on Monday.
Blazers at Suns
Matt Moore: Portland is red hot, but no one pays attention to second-quarter lines.
The Blazers are 9-18-2 in second quarters this season, and over this inferno streak, they’re a league-worst -24.4 in net rating in second quarters over their last 10 games. They’ve lost six of their last eight second quarters.
The Suns, meanwhile, are +9.4 in second quarter net rating over their last 10, having won four of five second quarters. They outscore their opponent by an average of two points per second quarter when favored, as they are in this game.
Here’s how bad it is: The Blazers are -41.3 in net rating over their last 10 games (they’ve won eight of those games outright!) in the second quarter with Damian Lillard on the floor.
You can get the Suns to cover the 1.5-point second-quarter spread for -110 at FanDuel as of noon ET.