As is the norm these days, tonight’s slate is dominated by injuries. There are only four games and almost all of them are going to be impacted by players who are out. I made my way through the injury reports to find a bet I like from each game on tonight’s four-game slate.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS VS. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
PELICANS +3.5 (-1117)
To say the least, the Pelicans’ injury report is lengthy. Zion Williamson, Derrick Favors, Josh Hart and Darius Miller are out. Jahlil Okafor is doubtful while Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Frank Jackson are questionable. While this seems like a negative (because it is), it seems like Ball and Ingram are nearing a return. Ingram has been a game-time decision for the past couple of games, and Ball has gone from being listed as doubtful to questionable. Getting them back would be a huge boost to New Orleans, and the players should be rested after time off. On the other side of the game, the Trail Blazers are playing on the tail end of a back-to-back and lost to the Rockets by 24 points last night. Portland has lost seven of its past nine games.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES VS. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
DRAYMOND GREEN UNDER 26.5 POINTS + REBOUNDS + ASSISTS (-110)
Without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and D’Angelo Russell, the common logic was that Green would step into a bigger role with more usage and ball-handling duties. Even with all the Warriors’ injuries, it looks like Draymond can’t be that player. He’s an excellent piece for a championship-competing team and a great defender, but he can’t be the top dog and carry a team on his own. His numbers haven’t changed much despite all the injuries, and the Warriors are hesitant to play him big minutes since they are building for the future at this point of the season. In four games since coming back from a finger injury, Green has totaled 15, 16, 26 and 17 points + rebounds + assists. This line feels a bit too high given how he’s performed this season. Green has gone over this number only once all season.
SACRAMENTO KINGS VS. PHOENIX SUNS
SUNS +2.5 (-109)
Dueling point guard injuries. De’Aaron Fox is out for the Kings, and Ricky Rubio is questionable to play for the Suns after he was a late scratch from last night’s game with back spasms. The status of Rubio has caused quite a turn from last night’s game. Earlier in the day, Phoenix was a 3.5-point favorite over the Celtics. Boston is tied with the Lakers for the best record in the NBA. After losing that game, we see the Suns as underdogs playing against the Kings, who have a 5-7 record. This line seems like an overreaction to the Suns losing in a tough matchup against the Celtics. Against the spread, the Suns have been dominating this season. They are 9-3 ATS. The last time these two teams met, Phoenix won by 29.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
THUNDER +10.5 (-110)
This line is way too wide. Despite the consensus opinion that the Thunder would be a tanking team this season, they have played most games fairly tough this season, including a narrow loss last night to the Clippers. OKC is 8-5 against the spread and only has two loses this season by more than nine points. The one concern is it’s possible Chris Paul or Danilo Gallinari get rested since this is the tail end of a back-to-back. I wouldn’t bet this number early in the day because of the load management concerns, but if we get late into the day and it looks like everybody will be active, then this number is a good one to get action on.
PARLAY OF THE DAY
LAL/MEM MONEYLINES (-166)
With only four games, it’s tough to find a parlay I really like. I am coping out and parlaying the two teams with the best moneyline odds. Even though the Thunder have been good against the spread, the Lakers should win the game outright. They are 11-2 on the season and 7-1 at home. The Thunder are 0-5 playing on the road. I also like the Grizzlies to pick up the win against the free-falling Warriors. Without D’Angelo Russell, it’s tough to figure how the Warriors are going to score points. Golden State’s best scorer might be Alec Burks, and that is not going to win many games in the NBA. Golden State is on a seven-game losing streak.
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