The first day of the week for NBA betting was once again very profitable for underdog bettors. The Pistons fought back to barely cover vs. the undefeated Atlanta Hawks. The Jazz beat the Thunder by a single point, but OKC gets the cover, the Denver Nuggets made light work of the Rockets, and the Trail Blazers beat the Lakers straight up as an underdog. Injuries to keep an eye on today are Kawhi Leonard, Victor Oladipo, Lauri Markkanen. They are all questionable. Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, and Draymond Green are all expected to be out tonight.
Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers (-1.0)
The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers meet up tonight in Indiana. These two teams just played each other Saturday evening. This one-city, two-game series is something new the NBA is doing this season to help manage travel during the pandemic. So far, I have not been able to find a real betting advantage to these series, but we are still early in the season. When these two teams met on Saturday, the Pacers outscored the Celtics by 11 points in the third quarter on their way to a one-point victory. The Pacers are 3-0 on the young season. Victories over the Knicks and Bulls won't move the needle, but getting the home victory vs. Boston was promising.
Pacers Forward Domantas Sabonis has been excellent to start the season. He is averaging 24 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. If he gets it rolling, it can be a long night for Boston. The Celtics are on a two-game losing streak, but there is no reason to panic. I like Boston in this spot tonight. I don't see them starting the season with an early three-game losing streak, so they will play this game with a sense of urgency.
Best Bet: Celtics + 1
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat (+5.5)
The Miami Heat welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to South Beach tonight for the first in a two-game series. My guess is that the Bucks would like to get a big victory over the Heat tonight after Miami embarrassed the Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals this past summer. Jimmy Butler will likely be out for Miami, but I'm not sure if it will even matter. The Bucks have not looked good to start the season. Many of the defensive flaws that they had in the bubble have followed them into the regular season. In their first game of the season, Boston was handling Milwaukee. To the Bucks' credit, they fought back from down 17 and lost by one. On Christmas Day, they blew out the hapless Warriors, but if you paid attention to the first half of that game, the Bucks did not play at all. In their latest game, the Bucks got blown out by the New York Knicks.
The Bucks aren't that good, and I'm sticking to that. Give me the Heat without Butler to cover the spread, and I'm going to drip on the money line.
Best Bet: Miami Heat +5.5
Best Bets Record: (2-4)
Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers (-1.0)
The Toronto Raptors have back-to-back losses to start the season. Obviously, it's not the time for "We the North" and South backers to panic, but I don't think the Raptors are contenders in the East this season, while I do think the 76ers are.
The Raptors are minus 9.5 on the season. Only the Bulls are worse in the East. Pascal Siakam is supposed to be the Raptors new star player, but he has regressed since the Raptors title season. The 76ers are 2-1 to start the season. Their lone loss came to the Cavs in a game in which Joel Embiid did not play. That loss is not as bad as you think. The Sixers laying a point at home is the side I'm on.
Target: 76ers (-1.0)
Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (+5.0)
The Orlando Magic are off to a good start so far. They are 3-0 with a pair of comfortable victories vs. the Wizards on the road and a home victory over the Miami Heat. Nikola Vucevic is a walking double-double. Evan Fournier, Markelle Fultz, and Terrence Ross are all averaging over 19 points a game. The Magic also have a deep bench; they could be a sneaky team in the East. With that being said, I like the Thunder to cover the spread tonight. OKC, even without Billy Donovan and Chris Paul, is still competitive in every game. The Thunder already have a victory over the Hornets. Last night they were knocked off by the Utah Jazz by a single point.
The Magic and the Thunder are both undefeated ATS, but Orlando is playing its third straight road game. I will take the Thunder plus the number.
Target: Thunder (+5.0)
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
- Darius Garland Over 14.5 Points ( -110 )
- Reggie Bullock Over 1.5 3PTs Made (-127)
NBA League Pass Game Rankings
- Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers 7:00 p.m. ET
- New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 7:00 p.m. ET
- Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 8:00 p.m. ET
- Denver Nuggets vs. Sacramento Kings 10:05 p.m. ET
- Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards 7:00 p.m. ET
Futures Market Update via DraftKings Sportsbook
- Golden State Warriors James Wiseman is now the Rookie of the Year favorite at +250
- Houston Rockets Christian Wood is now Most Improved Player favorite at +650
- Central Division Winner Indiana Pacers +1000 is definitely worth a look
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