We have a small slate with just three games, but I am going through each one to find my favorite bets from each of the games on tonight’s NBA slate.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
MIAMI HEAT VS. ATLANTA HAWKS
Hawks + 8 (-110)
It looks like Miami might be a little overhyped since Jimmy Butler is making his debut. The Heat should be a playoff team, and Butler’s first game with the team should provide a boost. Betting this line has less to do with Miami and more to do with Atlanta. The Hawks are off to a 2-1 start, and it looks like they are going to take a big leap forward this season. Their only loss came in a nail-biter last night against a very good 76ers squad. Trae Young has opened the season averaging 34 points and nine assists per game, which is the main reason the Hawks look like they can contend for a playoff spot this season. The Hawks are priced as if they are the same bottom-feeding team from the past few seasons.
Related Bet: Jimmy Butler Points ScoredButler OVER 20.5 Points (-110)
For the first time in a few seasons, Butler is on a team as the lone superstar. We can look past the 18.7 points he averaged last season because his usage rating figures to be significantly higher in Miami. The most recent time we saw him in this kind of role was during his time with the Bulls. In Butler’s last season with Chicago, he averaged 23.9 points per game on a 26.5% usage rating. He still is priced for his role from last year, when he was on a loaded 76ers roster.
DENVER NUGGETS VS. DALLAS MAVERICKS
UNDER 213.5 Total Points (-108)
The Nuggets have opened the season playing at one of the slowest paces in the league. They are 25th in the league in possessions per game, and Nuggets’ games are averaging a total of 206 points per game. This likely isn’t a small sample size thing either since the Nuggets were 27th in the league in pace last season. The only game that had more than 213.5 total points this season was because they played an overtime game against the Suns. Combine Denver’s slow pace of play with a strong defense (seventh in defensive efficiency), and we can expect most of its games to be lower scoring.
Related Bet: Luka Doncic AssistsLuke Doncic OVER 5.5 Assists (-180)
This bet is a bit counterintuitive when considering I expect a low-scoring game, however, this is much too low a number for Doncic when we consider his recent performances. He’s tallied 19 assists in his past two games and has picked up six or more assists in more of his recent games than not. Going back to last season, Doncic has six or more assists in seven of his past eight games. In two games against the Nuggets last seasons, Doncic picked up nine and 12 assists.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
OVER 219.5 total points (-108)
These aren’t the grit-and-grind Grizzlies from previous seasons. Now that Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have moved on, Memphis is in rebuild mode and has completely overhauled its style of play. With a dynamic rookie point guard in Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have opened the season playing the fourth fastest pace in the league. They are making a conscious effort to play at a faster pace, something coach Taylor Jenkins hinted at doing throughout the preseason. This season should be filled with the Grizzlies in higher scoring games than we are used to.
Related Bet: Ja Morant Total PointsJa Morant OVER 13.5 Points (-159)
Last game was the first signature game of Morant’s career. He blocked Kyrie Irving at the end of the fourth quarter to force overtime. In OT, he took the game over and led the Grizzlies to their first win of the season. Morant finished with 30 points, and it felt like a sign of things to come from the rookie. So far, he has a massive role with a 27.1% usage rating and is averaging 18.0 points per game.
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