Three NBA Monday Gambling Looks

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Most of the best teams in the NBA are off Monday because they played on Christmas Sunday. However, there is money to made betting the Association and I have a bets in the Jazz-Spurs, Nets-Cavaliers and a player prop in Timberwolves-Heat.

(Buyer beware: The NBA’s “load management” stuff is bogus and players are sitting out more and more games. It would behoove you to wait until the final injury reports are released before betting.)

Utah Jazz (19-16) at San Antonio Spurs (10-22)

Utah has won back-to-back (B2B) games, four of the last six and is 4-2 against the spread (ATS) in those games. San Antonio has lost B2B and four of the last six and is 4-2 ATS.

Where the Jazz have a decisive edge in this matchup is from behind the arc. Utah has a +4.8 net in 3-pointers made per game and the Spurs have the worst defensive 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA. 

Furthermore …

Good offenses are crushing San Antonio

Per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG), the Spurs are 0-10 SU vs. teams in the top-10 of offensive rating. They are -10.6 in non-garbage time net rating (nRTG) in those games with a -7.9 ATS margin, which ranks last in the NBA. 

Utah Jazz guards Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley talk during a timeout in the 2nd half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Utah Jazz guards Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley talk during a timeout in the 2nd half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas. (Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Plus from a pure power ratings perspective, the Jazz are a much stronger team. According to Basketball Reference, Utah is +0.99 vs. an average NBA team (ranked 13th) and San An is -9.52 (last).

Home teams have been performing well this season so let’s give the Spurs 3 points for home-court advantage. The Jazz’s spread shouldn’t be lower than -6.

Also …

This is a ‘good spot’ for Utah

The Jazz last played Thursday (three days of rest) and the Spurs last played Friday (two days). On 2-3 days of rest, San Antonio is 1-6 ATS with a -10.6 spread differential.

Over their last eight games as home underdogs, the Spurs are 2-6 SU and ATS. They have a -12.8 SU margin and -6.1 spread differential in those matchups.

Utah is 6-1 ATS in the last seven games vs. teams with a winning rate of 40.0% or lower. San An is 1-5 ATS at home vs. teams with a losing record. The Spurs are 2-5 ATS as 5-to-7-point underdogs as well.

Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy and SG Jordan Clarkson talk during the game against the LA Clippers at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy and SG Jordan Clarkson talk during the game against the LA Clippers at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. (Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jazz first-year coach Will Hardy is an NBA Coach of the Year frontrunner at this points in the season. He got his first NBA job as an assistant for legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s staff.

Hardy worked as an assistant for the Celtics last season. Hardy was poached Utah this offseason via long-time Boston front office executive, and first-year Jazz exec, Danny Ainge. 

He knows the strengths and weaknesses of several Spurs players and has inside knowledge of Popovich’s moves.

NBA Bet #1: Jazz -4.5 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -5

The Utah Jazz's odds at the San Antonio Spurs from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday, Dec. 26th at 12:35 p.m. ET.
The Utah Jazz’s odds at the San Antonio Spurs from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday, Dec. 26th at 12:35 p.m. ET.

Brooklyn Nets (21-12) at Cleveland Cavaliers (22-12)

Nets-Cavaliers is definitely the headliner of the otherwise dull NBA slate. Tip-off at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse is at 7 p.m. ET. I’m more confident in my Jazz ATS bet hence this game being the second on my bet slip.

That said, the Nets are the best shooting team in the NBA but they need to be because they are getting killed in the battle of possessions.

Brooklyn attempts nearly four fewer field goals per game than opponents, have a -2.3 per game rebound differential, and a -4.0 net free-throw attempt margin per game.

The Cavs play better against top-tier teams. They are 6-2 SU vs. teams in the top-10 of adjusted nRTG and the Nets are 2-7 SU. Cleveland has a +3.3 adjusted nRTG (fourth) and +4.3 ATS margin (fourth) in those spots. While Brooklyn has a -3.2 adjusted nRTG and -4.9 ATS margin (25th). 

Cleveland Cavaliers guards Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell talk during a free-throw against the Toronto Raptors at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
Cleveland Cavaliers guards Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell talk during a free-throw against the Toronto Raptors at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Cleveland’s defense does a good job in the areas Brooklyn likes to operate. The Nets are fourth in mid-range field goal volume, per CTG, and play a ton of isolation offense. The Cavaliers are third in defensive shooting rate vs. mid-range jumpers and have the best defensive efficiency vs. iso-ball.

Finally, this is a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market as early Monday morning. Per VSIN, a slight majority of the cash is on Cleveland whereas more than 60% of the bets placed is on Brooklyn.

NBA Bet #2: Cavaliers (-130) moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Cleveland Cavaliers' odds vs. the Brooklyn Nets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday, December 26th at 1 p.m. ET.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ odds vs. the Brooklyn Nets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday, December 26th at 1 p.m. ET.

Minnesota Timberwolves (16-17) at Miami Heat (16-17)

Minnesota head to South Beach Monday to play Miami at the FTX Arena with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. I’m looking at Timberwolves PG D’Angelo Russell OVER 17.5 POINTS (-120) here.

The Heat are missing NBA All-Defensive big Bam Adebayo and the T-Wolves are without a few rotational players, most notably All-Star big Karl-Anthony Towns.

Since KAT has been sidelined with injury on Nov. 30, Russell’s offensive numbers have spiked. In Dec., Russell is averaging 22.0 points per game on 52.9% shooting (42.9% from three). He has scored 21 points in seven of nine games this month.

Minnesota Timberwolves PG D'Angelo Russell reacts to a 3-point basket against the Chicago Bulls at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Timberwolves PG D’Angelo Russell reacts to a 3-point basket against the Chicago Bulls at the Target Center in Minneapolis. (David Berding/Getty Images)

Miami’s defense gives up the fifth-most 3-pointers made per game to opposing point guards and Russell has the highest 3-point-attempt rate in Minnesota’s starting 5.

Without Adebayo on the floor, the Heat’s defense might sag back to help rebound and protect the paint, allowing for the T-Wolves, and Russell, to chuck 3s.

NBA Bet #3: MIN T-Wolves PG D’Angelo Russell OVER 17.5 points (-120) at DraftKings Sportsbook

Minnesota Timberwolves PG D'Angelo Russell's point prop odds vs. the Miami Heat from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday, Dec. 26 at 1:40 p.m. ET.
Minnesota Timberwolves PG D’Angelo Russell’s point prop odds vs. the Miami Heat from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday, Dec. 26 at 1:40 p.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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