Bovada’s NBA Picks for Monday
Before we jump into the bets, all odds are courtesy of our friends over at Bovada.
Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics (-6)
The two most-winning teams in the Eastern Conference start things off with a must-watch game. Boston’s (18-3) 16-game win streak is no more, but they’re still playing the best basketball in the league. At 12-6 on the season, Detroit has come out of seemingly nowhere to nip at the Celtics in the standings.
All eyes will be on the returning Avery Bradley. The crowd favorite was dealt in the offseason in exchange for Marcus Morris. Bradley has thrived in his new home, scoring 16.8 points per game, to go along with his stingy defense. He’s surely been an integral part of the Pistons’ turnaround.
However, Bradley will be facing a mostly new team. Only four players remain from last season’s Eastern Conference Finals run for Boston.
As good as Bradley was on the defensive end, the Celtics have gotten better without him. Giving up a league-low 95.8 points per game proves that.
Detroit is starting to etch their own reputation, for never saying die. A number of their wins have come from behind this year, including in their last go, when they erased a 15-point deficit to upend Oklahoma City.
Against Boston’s premier defense, those comeback ways will be negated. The Pistons won’t be able to climb out of this hole, nor cover the spread.
Over/under points: Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers
Just when the Cavaliers (12-7) begin building momentum — they’ve ripped off seven straight wins — Derrick Rose decides to take a sabbatical. Injuries have taken a toll on the much-maligned Rose, and he’s contemplating hanging up his basketball shoes for good.
While his status long-term is in doubt, Philadelphia (11-7) will get a boost from the returning Ben Simmons. A sore elbow kept him out of the 76ers most recent game, a 130-111 win against Orlando. This is very much a measuring-stick game for Simmons and the young Sixers. Simmons is averaging 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per year, positioning himself as an heir apparent to LeBron James when the King’s career is all said and done.
Expect Philadelphia to crash the boards against the reigning Eastern Conference champions. Rebounding has become a calling card for the team, who average a league-best 48.8 rebounds a game. It won’t help Cleveland’s cause that Tristan Thompson remains sidelined — and possibly on his way out as trade rumors swirl.
With so many second-chance opportunities for Philadelphia, plus all of the Cavs offensive firepower, an over is more than likely on Monday.
Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers (-4.5)
The Battle of Los Angeles isn’t just reserved for UCLA and USC, but also for the city’s two NBA teams who meet for the second time this season. The Clippers (7-11) won the first matchup 108-92 on opening week. After an ugly nine-game losing skid, the Clippers have won back-to-back matchups. However, the team was dealt a blow when it was announced point guard Patrick Beverly was lost for the season with a knee injury.
For the Lakers, head coach Luke Walton has a mini-controversy on his hands at power forward. Larry Nance Jr. — who started at the position before a hand fracture sidelined him for three weeks — will be back on Monday.
In Nance’s absence, Kyle Kuzma has thrived at power forward. The rookie is averaging a team-high 18.1 points per contest. Walton will have a tough decision to make on who stars — the defensive-first Nance or go-to scorer Kuzma?
Either way, we like the Clippers chances in this one. Blake Griffin has essentially morphed into the team’s point guard after injuries to the position. Griffin leads the team in assists at five a game, to go along with 23.4 points. He should catapult the Clippers to covering the spread.
Over/under 195 points: Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs
For the first time this season, Tony Parker will suit up for San Antonio. A quadricep injury has kept the always-reliable Parker out since last year’s playoffs.
Despite no Parker and Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs are third in the Western Conference with a 12-7 mark, a testament to Gregg Popovich’s coaching ability.
While San Antonio seats comfy on the standings, Dallas is dead last with a 5-15 record. Nonetheless, the lowly Mavericks have ripped off consecutive wins against Memphis and Oklahoma City.
Dallas’ hot streak, coupled with Parker’s return, hints the scoreboard might be busy in this one.
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