We have a massive NBA slate this Saturday, with some important games on the docket — including a matchup between the Rockets and the Lakers that might end up having important seeding implications and a game between the Thunder and the 76ers that the Thunder need to win to stop their slide. If you want a little skin in the game, here’s a look at a couple of my favorite bets for the day!
Thunder (+2.5) vs. 76ers
Thunder (-109)Hard time have hit the Thunder of late, capping off five losses in their past six games with a 138-128 overtime loss to the Lebronless Lakers a couple nights ago. They face a 76ers squad that has been playing well recently, winning their past three games, but the 76ers have consistently struggled with the athleticism of the Thunder and have lost the last 18 (not a typo) contests against them. The public has a bad perception of the Thunder with some recent bad losses, but the games have been close and if not for a couple of shots breaking the wrong way the Thunder would have won three of their past six not just one, so there is value to be had here. Expect the Thunder to come out and outplay the Sixers at home as they get back on track before the All-Star break.
Kentavious Caldwell Pope: 13.5 points
Over (-115)The Lakers come into this game as seven-point dogs against James Harden (and the Rockets) in what should be a competitive game between two Western playoff contenders. Both of these teams are coming off of overtime games, the Lakers topping the Thunder and the Rockets falling to the Nets, but both teams have gotten at least one day of rest (the Rockets having two and playing at home). Since James Harden turned into the offensive destroyer of worlds, his defense has taken a massive hit and off ball guards have been able to exploit the Rockets in a big way. KCP has been averaging 14.35 points in 27 minutes per contest over the past 10 games, and now gets to take advantage of the whopping 27% efficiency adjustment that the Rockets offer up to his position, the largest on the day by far. The Lakers will need all their firepower to keep up in this one, so expect Pope to have all the opportunity he needs to surpass just 13.5 points.
Hornets: 224.5 total points vs. Suns
Under (-109)On the surface, this should be a game of two teams that play fast with each having above-average shooters to take advantage of the bad defenses involved. On the other hand, you could see two inconsistent teams that rely on their shots falling to have success and struggle to maintain possessions causing a lot of issues on both sides of the ball. Both teams are well below average in their assist-to-turnover ratios (Hornets at 1.67, Suns at 1.61) and the Suns have massive issues in seizing opportunities with one of the lowest defensive rebounding rates in the league (68.8%) so this could be very sloppy. Throw in the fact that both the Suns and the Hornets have each scored less than 100 points in three of their past five and this game has plenty of potential to fall well below the lofty point total.
Parlay of the Day: DeAndre Ayton, 16.5 points; Kings (+2) vs. Pistons; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 13.5 points
DeAndre Ayton Under, Kings spread, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Over (+525)This is a combination of a couple of the most advantageous places to lay a bet on this slate, as each spot has considerable trends on their side. The Caldwell-Pope over has been discussed in this article as being one of the best efficiency matchups available not only on this slate, but within the entire league. Ayton has a matchup with the Hornets in what could set up to be a sloppy, low-scoring affair while also being one of the worst possible efficiency matchups for centers yielding a drop of 4.49% in points allowed (fourth worst in the league). The Kings are coming off of a day of rest, play at home, and are 10-1 when favorites on the season including covering the spread in 57.8% of their games (Pistons only covering 47.7% of the time and 8-20 when underdogs). This parlay is currently sitting at +525 which is fantastic value set around the Kings as an anchor.
Longshot of the day: Hawks vs. Celtics
Hawks moneyline (+240)The Hawks have announced that both Trae Young and John Collins are probable ahead of their game tonight against the Celtics, and this maybe be a game that the Celtics’ young guys lay down and cause an upset against an inferior opponent. Both teams are 2-3 in their past five games, but the Hawks look like the more impressive between them, averaging 116 points per game with the Celtics averaging just 108. The quality of the opponents has been better as well, with wins against the 76ers and the Thunder while the Celtics have lost to the Nets, Magic and Heat in the same span. The Celtics are also a considerably worse team on the road at just 10-13 (17-5 at home) and against a healthy Hawks team with 3 days rest while the Celtics are on a B2B there is a good chance we see an upset at State Farm arena.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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