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Since Monday Night Football is kind of a stinker, let’s take a shot at a couple of NBA games. My favorite looks in the NBA’s Monday slate include the Heat-Pacers and Timberwolves-Trail Blazers. Below, I’ll break down and give out a bet for each.
Miami Heat (12-15) at Indiana Pacers (14-13)
Both teams have sucked recently. The Heat have lost three of its past four games and are 0-4 against the spread (ATS). The Pacers lost to a Kevin Durant- and Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets 136-133 as an 8.5-point favorite.
Indiana won the first meeting of the season with Miami 101-99 on Nov. 4 as 3-point home underdogs. But, the Heat were missing All-Star Jimmy Butler. They outperformed Indy in three of the “four factors” and outscored the Pacers in three of the four quarters.
With how well Butler is playing this season, this should be a get-right spot for Miami. Not only is the Heat trying to slump-bust but Butler will help Miami attack Indiana’s biggest weakness: Sending opponents to the foul line.
Butler has a career-high true shooting rate and the second-highest PER of his career. The Pacers have the worst defensive FT/FGA rate in the league and Butler is one of the best in the NBA at getting to the charity stripe
Also, there is sharp line movement toward Miami. The Heat opened up as a 2-point favorite and have been steamed up to the current number (-3). Despite a majority of the cash coming at DraftKings in on the Pacers, per VSIN.
Finally, Miami will be able to dictate the pace of this game because they have better ball security. The Heat rank 10th in non-garbage time offensive turnover rate (TOV%), per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG), and third in defensive TOV%. Whereas the Pacers are 22nd in offensive TOV%.
NBA Best Bet #1: Heat -3 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -3.5
Minnesota Timberwolves (13-13) at Portland Trail Blazers (14-12)
Word to the wise: Wait until closer to tipoff because money is pouring in on the T-Wolves. Per VSIN, nearly 80% of the cash at the time of writing is on Minnesota. Maybe we get a cheaper price for Portland later on.
The market is using the Zig-Zag Theory here, which is backing a team that recently lost vs. an opponent. In this case, the Trail Blazers beat the Timberwolves 124-118 by 5.5-point favorites Saturday.
Portland All-Star Damian Lillard made two free throws with 00:08 remaining for the Trail Blazers to eke out an ATS victory. But, Portland outscored Minnesota in three of the four quarters.
More importantly, the Trail Blazers have more players that can create their own shots. Portland guards Lillard and Anfernee Simons are instant buckets and both SF Jerami Grant and big Jusuf Nurkic have a ton of offensive versatility.
The T-Wolves on the other hand rely mostly on PG D’Angelo Russell and wing Anthony Edwards now that big Karl-Anthony Towns is sidelined with an injury for the foreseeable future.
Lillard destroys Russell when they face each other. Dame Time is 12-2 straight up (SU) all-time vs. Russell. Lillard outscored Russell 29.4-21.3 points per game (PPG), outshoots him from everywhere on the floor and has a better assist-to-turnover ratio.
Furthermore, Minnesota’s off-season addition of big Rudy Gobert didn’t do enough to improve its defense. Gobert cannot overcompensate for the Timberwolves’ poor backcourt defense.
The T-Wolves give up too many easy buckets as well. Minnesota ranks 22nd or worse in second-chance PPG, fastbreak PPG and points off of turnovers per game allowed.
Lastly, the Timberwolves play terrible 3-point defense. They are 27th in both 3-point attempts allowed per game and defensive 3-point percentage. The Trail Blazers have the third-best 3-point percentage in the NBA.
NBA Best Bet #2: Trail Blazers -4 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook
- Again, wait until closer to tipoff for a better number on Portland.
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