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Now that the 2022-23 NFL season is officially in the books, it’s time to pivot to the NBA to scratch the gambling itch.
My bet slip for Monday’s NBA card include looks in the Pelicans-Thunder, Timberwolves-Mavericks, and Wizards-Warriors.
You can listen to the audio versions of these handicaps on my NBA Hoops At Lunch show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed Monday-Friday.
(Word to the wise: It’s the “load management” era in the NBA and random injury news. NBA players are sitting out more games. It would behoove you to wait until the final injury reports before betting.)
New Orleans Pelicans (29-28) at Oklahoma City Thunder (27-28), 8 p.m. ET
New Orleans is 2-0 straight up (SU) vs. OKC this season but they are tied 1-1 against the spread (ATS). The Thunder has covered five of their last six meetings with the Pelicans.
There has been sharp line movement in the betting market toward New Orleans. Per VSIN, more money is on the Pelicans and nearly two-thirds of the bets placed at DraftKings Sportsbook is on the Thunder.
OKC opened at -3 and are down to the current number (-2.5) so the oddsmakers are siding with the cash column of the market. Perhaps the pros are seeing NOLA’s edge on the glass.
The Pelicans are 8th in offensive rebounding rate, and lead the NBA over the past five games, and are 11th in 2nd-chance PPG. The Thunder are 29th in defensive rebounding rate and allow the most 2nd-chance PPG.
NOLA had its 3-game winning streak snapped Friday after getting smacked by the Cavaliers 118-107 and will come out motivated to bounce back vs. OKC.
Finally, this is a good spot for the Pelicans who are 7-3 ATS as 1-to-2.5-point ‘dogs and 7-4 ATS on the road vs. teams with a losing record. The Thunder are 2-5 ATS as 1-to-2.5-point favorites and 7-9 ATS at home vs. winning teams.
NBA Best Bet #1: Pelicans +2.5 (-110), down to +1.5
Minnesota Timberwolves (30-29) at Dallas Mavericks (31-27), 8:30 p.m. ET
These teams split a back-to-back in Minnesota both SU and ATS for their 1st two meetings this season on Dec. 19 and 21. The T-Wolves out-performed the Mavs in three of the “four factors” in both meetings.
Minnesota F Kyle Anderson and big Rudy Gobert each missed one of those games and both are “probable” to play Monday. Gobert dramatically improves Minnesota’s defense and Anderson has a +6.4 adjusted on/off nRTG, per CTG.
T-Wolves All-Star Anthony Edwards will light up the Mavericks’ weak backcourt defense. Neither Luka Doncic nor Kyrie Irving are good defenders. Dallas struggles to defend the paint and protect the rim.
Also, the T-Wolves are better rested than the Mavs who are home for the 1st time after a 5-game road trip. Typically, teams struggle in the NBA on their 1st game following a long road trip. It’s also Kyrie’s 1st game in Dallas.
Furthermore, Minnesota is 9-3 SU and 8-4 ATS when playing with a rest edge whereas Dallas is 5-7 SU and 4-7-1 ATS when playing with a rest disadvantage. The Mavs are 9-16-3 ATS at home and 4-10-1 ATS as 7-point favorites or greater.
NBA Best Bet #2: Timberwolves +7.5 (-110), down to +6.5
Washington Wizards (26-29) at Golden State Warriors (28-28), 10 p.m. ET
The Warriors beat the Wizards 127-118 as 2.5-point road favorites in Washington in their 1st meeting of the season last month. Steph Curry erupted for 41 points and Wizards SG Bradley Beal was out with an injury.
For this meeting, Curry won’t be available for the Warriors and Beal is in the projected starting 5. Also, both teams are on the front end of a B2B and Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins is “questionable” to play.
My hunch is Golden State will give Wiggins the night off, which would significantly hurt its defense. The Warriors allow 5.2 fewer points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when Wiggins is on the floor, per CTG.
Also, this feels like a spot where everyone will be on the Warriors because they are only -3. Per VSIN, more than 75% of the bets placed are on Golden State and the line opened at Warriors -4. Hmmmm.
Washington’s defense is 4th in both wide-open 3PAr allowed and effective field goal shooting against. The key to Golden State’s success is 3-point shooting so I’m encouraged by D.C.’s 3-point defense.
The Wizards operate where the Warriors are vulnerable on defense. D.C. attempts the 3rd-highest rate of mid-range field goals and Golden State is 29th in defensive field goal percentage vs. mid-range jumpers, per CTG.
NBA Best Bet #3: Wizards +3 (-105), down to +2.5
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