In typical NBA fashion, injuries and rest are becoming a major factor in the results of games. For tonight’s eight-game slate, there are a few players and teams benefitting from injury news that I am looking to take advantage of.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS VS. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
CAVALIERS +10.5 (-110)
I don’t think this line is properly taking into account the Sixers’ injury report. Al Horford is resting and Ben Simmons is questionable to play after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury. We also have to take into account this game is the front end of a back-to-back for Philly, leading me to believe it’s possible the Sixers are cautious with the playing time of some of their core players. The Cavs are also not nearly as bad a team as they were last season. Getting a healthy Kevin Love back has been a huge boost to the team, and the Cavs have lost only two games by double-digits. I am optimistic Cleveland can keep tonight’s game competitive.
MIAMI HEAT VS. DETROIT PISTONS
UNDER 216 TOTAL POINTS (-109)
The Pistons are one of the slower-paced teams in the league. They rank 24h in possessions per game, and there is reason to think they could be slower than that tonight. Detroit is playing on the road for the tail end of a back-to-back. There also could be some chemistry to work out since Tim Frazier, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin all came back from long-term injuries last night.
On the Heat side of the game, it appears they play a faster pace than Detroit at first glance. Miami is 11th in the league in possessions per game. However, the pace is likely to drop. Jimmy Butler tends to isolate a lot in the half court and always has been a player whose offenses play at a reduced tempo. When Butler is on the court, Miami plays at an average of 99.49 possessions per game. This number would rank 28th in pace. The Heat would rank much lower in pace if it wasn’t for Butler missing a handful of games to start the season.
PHOENIX SUNS VS. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
LAKERS -2.5 (-112)
Even though the Suns have started the season well, I still view the Lakers as the much stronger team. If played closer to opening night, it stands to reason the Lakers would be close to double-digit favorites in this game. Even though we can’t write off the Suns’ start to the season, Los Angeles also has been strong and sits atop the Western Conference. The main reason I think this line isn’t wider is due to a report that came out yesterday about Anthony Davis. He said his shoulder hasn’t felt right this season, prompting the Lakers to list him as probable on the injury report. There isn’t much risk of him missing tonight’s game, and the injury has been an issue for AD all season without limiting his performance.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS VS. SACRAMENTO KINGS
TRAIL BLAZERS -2 (-112)
This is my favorite line of the day, and I expect the Blazers will be larger favorites by game time. At practice yesterday, De’Aaron Fox suffered a serious ankle sprain and is going to be out awhile. Already off to a disappointing 3-6 start, the Kings have to move forward without their best player. This is in addition to being without Marvin Bagley, who has been out since opening night. When Fox has been off the court this season, the Kings’ offense has been completely discombobulated. They score 9.5 less points per 100 possessions without Fox on the floor. It looks like Sacramento is destined to be picking at the top of the draft after looking like one of the most promising young teams in the league last season.
PARLAY OF THE DAY
MIA/DEN MONEYLINES (-188)
I like the Heat playing the Pistons at home. Travel figures to wear on Detroit, which is playing on the road for the tail end of a back-to-back. The Pistons got back some core players last night, however, it looks like they are on a minutes restriction for now. The Heat are off to a 6-3 start while the Pistons have lost of five of their past seven games.
The Nuggets always make for a safe moneyline play at home. Last season, they had the best home record in the NBA, and they take on the Hawks, who are missing John Collins. Behind Trae Young, Collins is the second most valuable player on Atlanta, and it is struggling to win games without him. The Hawks have lost six of their past seven games.
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