The NBA starts its first full week after the All-Star break with an eight-game slate on Monday night.
The Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic game in Brooklyn has the biggest handle on the night—the public is loading up on Brooklyn. I can see why. The Nets are playing great ball right now while the Magic don't look that impressive. I'm not betting on a side in this one. I think Orlando can pull off the upset. I do like the total, which I will get to later.
We have a few teams laying some big points tonight. Milwaukee is a 14-point road favorite in Washington. Fourteen is a big number, but the Bucks cover these big numbers night after night and should do so again. The Rockets are laying 14 at home against the Knicks. Houston is playing great ball right now but I can't lay this number—the Knicks could actually get a back door cover. The Timberwolves are 13.5-point road dogs against the Mavericks. Minnesota, without Karl-Anthony Towns tonight, losses just about every game, but I can't lay 13.5 with Dallas at home. The Mavericks are 11-18 against the spread at American Airlines Center.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers: 76ers -9
One of the games that really caught my eye tonight was the 76ers' home game versus the Hawks. Atlanta has played Philadelphia well this season, but those games were in Atlanta. Tonight they play in Philly, where the Sixers are great.
Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris will be out for the 76ers tonight, so the public is backing the Hawks on the majority of tickets, yet the number has gone up to Philadelphia -9. I'm going to fade the trendy road dog Hawks. I agree with the reverse steam line movement.
Atlanta has been pitiful on the road this season. They are 6-24 outside of State Farm Arena. I like Philadelphia to keep it rolling at home and beat up on the Hawks tonight, even without Simmons and Harris.
Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets: Under 214
Last week I told you that I was going to start betting the under on conference opponents that are in the playoff picture. So far it has worked out pretty well. This method has been working since the All-Star break. In an eight-game sample unders are 6-2.
Tonight, Brooklyn hosts the Magic, who really need a big win. I see this game being played at a slower pace with each possession counting. Brooklyn has played very well on defense as of late, and the Magic only average 104 points per game on the road.
Season Record: 72-62
MORE FROM SI: