NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: 3 Best Bets for Monday for Lakers vs. Spurs, Knicks vs. Kings, More (March 7)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: RJ Barrett and Julius Randle
- The Knicks got a big statement win on Sunday night against the Clippers in Los Angeles.
- They've caught the eye of one of our NBA experts, but we have picks on two other games, as well.
- Continue reading for our best bets from Monday's NBA slate.
There are eight games on Monday night’s NBA docket, with a couple of intriguing games, including Bulls-Sixers and Warriors-Nuggets.
Not every high-profile matchup has value, however, and our analysts are looking elsewhere on the card to cash some tickets. That includes Hawks-Pistons, Lakers-Spurs and Knicks-Kings.
Here are our three best bets from Monday night’s NBA slate.
NBA Odds & Picks
Atlanta Hawks vs. Detroit Pistons
Austin Wang: The Hawks have had a pretty “meh” season so far. After making it the Eastern Conference Finals and going the distance against the Milwaukee Bucks last season, they’ve been a massive disappointment this season and currently sitting one game below .500 at 31-32.
On the bright side, they have a few things working in their favor. First, they are two games ahead of the Washington Wizards for the 10th seed and the final play-in spot. They can easily overtake the Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets for the eighth seed and with the way the Toronto Raptors are struggling, the seventh seed isn’t farfetched either.
Secondly, they have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, with their opponents having a combined win percentage of .457. They should have a high sense of urgency to finish this season strong and they have a great opportunity tonight against the Detroit Pistons.
Finally, John Collins returned to the lineup last game. He missed seven consecutive games with a right foot strain and the Hawks will welcome the dynamic big man’s presence on both sides of the floor.
The Hawks have the number-one Offensive Rating (120.1) in the previous 10 games. Bogdan Bogdanovic has caught fire and has given Trae Young some help on offense. They’ve had two consecutive games where they had an assist-to-turnover ratio greater than 4.
Since 2016, teams off two consecutive games with an assist-to-turnover ratio greater than 2.5 are 278-184-8 (60.2%) to the over, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog. I expect the Hawks’ offense to stay hot and put a lot of pressure on a Pistons defense that is 25th in the league in Defensive Rating.
The Hawks’ defense has continued to be their weak spot, so I expect another high scoring game for the Hawks. My bet is on the over at 228.5, up to 229.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs
Raheem Palmer: After defeating the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, the Los Angeles Lakers travel to take on the San Antonio Spurs in a game with two teams playing for a potential play-in tournament spot. What immediately stands out is that both of these teams haven’t played much defense since the All-Star break, with the Spurs ranking 27th in Defensive Rating (119.8) and the Lakers ranking 23rd (117.7) during the last two weeks.
The Spurs have also been pushing the pace recently, playing the second-most possessions in the league since the break (103.3). They’re also second in offensive length of possession at 14 seconds. It’s no surprise then that this team has gone over in four out of its last six games, and we’re seeing oddsmakers open sky-high totals for their games.
Although the Spurs won’t be mistaken for a top-tier offense, the pace of their games means we’re likely to see high-scoring games. Since the break, they’ve scored 157, 129, 105, 112 and 117, with their lowest-scoring outburst coming against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are eighth in Defensive Rating this season. The Lakers are far from the Grizzlies defensively.
The Lakers have gone over the total in their last two games and a big part of that is their lineups with LeBron James at center. In Saturday night’s 124-116 win against the Warriors, James scored 56 points and the Lakers as a whole made 18-of-41 threes and scored 1.2 points per possession.
I believe the Lakers have found a gear offensively which they can use throughout the rest of the season, however, with James at center we aren’t likely to see a ton of rim protection. The Lakers are just 22nd in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (66.2%) and struggle in both half court and transition defense.
In three Spurs-Lakers games this season we got scores of 121-125, 106-114 and 138-110. The outlier 220 score performance came in a game with just 96 possessions. The other two games saw possessions of 103 and 105.
Overall I’m expecting a fast-paced game between two teams that struggle to defend. With my model making this game 238 and oddsmakers opening this total at 234, I’ll play the over in this spot.
New York Knicks vs. Sacramento Kings
Kenny Ducey: It’s rarely fun backing the Knicks these days, but boy was it fun if you did it on Sunday. New York bullied a Clippers defense that has been rock-solid all year long, outscoring L.A. 50-36 in the paint. On top of that, the Knicks played excellent defense, limiting the Clippers to just 37.5% from the field.
Offense hasn’t exactly been the forte of the Kings this season, and that hasn’t changed since acquiring Domantas Sabonis last month. In fact, trading away Tyrese Haliburton likely made this team worse in the scoring department. Since Sabonis’ debut on Feb. 9, Sacramento ranks 21st with just 111.3 points per 100 possessions.
Since Feb. 9, the Kings also rank dead-last in field goal percentage allowed in the restricted area, pushing toward 80%. That could not be better news for the Knicks, who are fresh off a dominating display in the frontcourt and will be relying on RJ Barrett and Julius Randle to score the ball — two guys who will operate around the rim. While Richaun Holmes has shown promise down low, he can’t guard every center and forward the Knicks have (and they have many).
I’d back New York to bully its opponent once again inside.
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