Message to all fifty people that are watching the NBA on football Sunday: I have three best bets and a heavy “lean” on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They are hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves at 6 p.m. ET and have two starters listed on the injury report as “questionable”: C Jarrett Allen and SG Donovan Mitchell. If these guys can start, we’re firing on the Cavaliers but I cannot give it out as an official play at the moment.
Otherwise, Cleveland’s defensive frontcourt negates what is thought to be Minnesota’s strength, which is its frontcourt. But, Allen’s game status obviously affects that angle. Also, Mitchell is scoring 31.6 points per game (PPG) on 60.8 effective field goal shooting (eFG%).
It’s a buy-low spot for Cleveland. The Cavs’ current three-game losing skid (0-3 against the spread (ATS)) wrapped up their five-game Western Conference road trip. Again, if Allen and Mitchell play then let’s bet Cleveland ATS up to -6.
Let’s focus on the NBA games I actually have action on …
Memphis Grizzlies (9-4) at Washington Wizards (7-6)
The good news for the Grizzlies is PF Jaren Jackson Jr. is nearing his return to action. The bad news is that Jackson, Ja Morant, and Desmond Bane are all listed as “doubtful” on the injury report. Morant and Bane are Memphis’s two leading scorers.
Based on the line movement headed toward D.C., the sharps think the Grizzlies are going to be short-handed. And that would be the only explanation for Memphis being an underdog vs. Washington.
Per VSIN, roughly 60% of the money is on the Wizards whereas more than 70% of the bets placed at DraftKings are on the Grizzlies at the time of publishing.
This has caused the oddsmakers to move Memphis from a 1.5-point on the look-ahead line in this spot to a slight ‘dog. In fact, most of the money and action in the consensus market is on the Grizzlies but the Wizards are favored.
Even if our hand is caught in the cookie jar so to speak, the Wizards can pull this game out. Washington is seventh in offensive turnover rate (TOV%) and second in defensive rebounding rate, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
The Grizzlies live on creating points off of turnovers and crashing the glass. Also, the Wizards are missing All-Star Bradley Beal but his absence doesn’t impact Washington negatively.
In fact, the Wizards are scoring 3.4 more points per 100 possession in garbage time with Beal off the floor, according to CTG. Washington wing Kyle Kuzma is a microwave scorer who can go off for 30 any night. Maybe Kuzma bails us out if Morant and Bane play Sunday.
NBA Best Bet #2: Wizards -1.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -2.5
Denver Nuggets (8-4) at Chicago Bulls (6-7)
This is a buy-low spot for the Nuggets. They are 0-3 ATS in the last three games and just got crushed by the Boston Celtics 131-112 Friday. The Nuggets are 5-0 ATS after the last five losses and 5-2 in their last seven visits to Chicago.
Also, Chicago’s defense is overrated. Per CTG, the Bulls are fifth in both adjusted defensive rating and defensive TOV%. Their defensive eFG% is ranked 22nd and Denver has the best offensive eFG% in the NBA.
The Nuggets can get a little careless with the ball (18th in adjusted offensive TOV%). But, Denver’s ball security will improve as Nuggets PG Jamal Murray continues to knock off the rust. Murray missed all of 2021-22 with a knee injury.
Furthermore, since the beginning of last season, the Bulls are 5-13 ATS as a home underdog with a -4.8 spread differential. Finally, Denver is going to bully Chicago in the paint.
Nuggets big Nikola Jokic is the reigning two-time MVP and has a big edge over Bulls big Nikola Vučević. Denver is sixth in paint PPG and Chicago is 22nd in paint PPG allowed. The Bulls score the third-fewest second-chance PPG and the Nuggets are first in second-chance PPG allowed.
NBA Best Bet #3: Nuggets -1.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -3
Brooklyn Nets (6-7) at Los Angeles Lakers (2-10)
Nets PG Kyrie Irving is a basketball cancer and Brooklyn’s improvement with him out of the lineup proves that. Irving has missed the last five games and the Nets are ballin’.
Brooklyn is 4-1 SU and 4-0-1 ATS in the last five games with by far the best net rating (+18.2) in the NBA. The next closest team to the Nets in net rating (nRTG) over that span is the Boston Celtics at +13.6. It’s pretty obvious to me that Brooklyn is better off playing through Kevin Durant.
Whereas the Lakers have been terrible lately. LA has the worst nRTG in the Association at -13.2 over the last five games. The only person that could save the Lakers in this spot would be LeBron James who’s “doubtful” to play.
Finally, there’s a lot of motivation for KD Sunday. Not only is the game in Hollywood but Durant is playing his former teammate (Russell Westbrook) and the talking heads have been dragging his team.
NBA Best Bet #4: Nets -5 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -5.5
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