Bovada’s Best NBA Plays For Monday
Before we jump into the matchups, all odds bought are courtesy of Bovada.
Cleveland Cavaliers (-5) at New York Knicks
The root of Cleveland (6-7) slow start is lethargic defense. They’ve allowed 11 straight opponents to eclipse 100 points scoring and are giving up 113.4 on the season — third-worst in the association. The three-point shot has been the defense’s biggest bugaboo, as opponents are hitting an NBA-high .401 beyond the arc.
At 7-5, the Knicks have crept on opponents, including the Cavs earlier this season, when New York won on the road by 19 points. Kristaps Porzingis has added one eye-popping performance after another this season. The unicorn has scored at least 30 points in eight of his 11 games. At 30.4 points per game, Porzingis ranks third in scoring.
However, the Knicks hot start shouldn’t be all that surprising. It’s toward the end of the season, not the begining, when New York usually implodes. In Porzingis first two years, the Knicks got off 22-22 and 16-14 starts before everything went haywire.
The three-time-defending Eastern Conference champions are a miserable 4-8-1 against the spread this year. Wait, no so fast, though. Those woes are mostly at home, not on the road, where they are 4-2. Playing in the “World’s Most Famous Arena” should jolt the Cavs star-studded lineup enough to cover the spread.
Pick: Cleveland (-5)
Over/under 228 points: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns
If you thought Cleveland’s defense was an eyesore, it gets worse in Pheonix. No one is allowing more than the 116.2 points per game the Suns (5-9) are. Those struggles are growing pains from a youthful roster. Aside from old man Tyson Chandler, most of its rotation is in their early 20’s.
Immediately, you’d favor the over in this matchup. However, we’re not so sure. Los Angeles (5-8) offense has been wildly inconsistent all year long. You can pin those up-and-down swings on rookie point guard Lonzo Ball. Sure, he just turned 20 years old, but he’s the key cog of the attack regardless. The second-overall pick has to do better than his 33 percent field-goal percentage thus far.
Facing a horrific Suns defense might just be the remedy for Ball’s struggles. In the two’s first meeting this year, Ball racked up a career-high 29 points. Plus, he’s coming off his first-ever triple-double on Saturday. Riding off those highs, Ball will have the Lakers offense clicking in a shootout against Pheonix.
Over/under 232 points: Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors
The only team more surprising than the Knicks have to be the Magic. At 8-5, they are fourth in the Eastern Conference pecking order. Yes, it’s still too early to care about the standings, but for the first time in a long time, Orlando is moving in the right direction.
Pushing the pace has been the main ingredient to the Magic’s turnaround. That break-neck speed is opening the floor to three-point shooting and Orlando is knocking down 40 percent of its attempts from downtown.
If you haven’t already made the connection, Orlando is practically a poor man’s Golden State. Matter of fact, the Warriors are the lone team hitting higher from three-point land than the Magic. Monday’s matchup should feature a heavy dose of three balls, which favors the over considering both’s shooting efficiency.
Here’s one more reason to bet the over: Aaron Gordon’s homecoming. The fourth-year man is finally coming into his own, averaging 19 points per game this season. Gordon is a Bay Area native and this is the type of show-me game where he can prove himself.
Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Clippers (-1)
This is Philadelphia’s penultimate matchup during its five-game road trip through the West coast. The Sixers (6-6) are licking their wounds after back-to-back losses, one off a last-second shot to Sacramento and the other from a 21-point beating at the hands of Golden State.
Transition defense unraveled Philadelphia against the Warriors, who also shot 51.9 percent from downtown before pulling most of its starters toward the end of the third quarter. Of course, Los Angeles (5-7) doesn’t have that same three-point pedigree, but their 36.3 percentage is 13th in the NBA. The Clippers are in desperate need of a win after losing seven of its last eight.
Despite logging plenty of miles and fatigue, we like Philly in this one. Los Angeles is clearly trending downward and we’re not banking on them getting out of that funk.
Pick: Philadelphia (+1)
Category : Sports Betting
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