Obviously, Sunday is a football day in America but, if you have a little room in your betting bankroll, there are NBA games worth taking a shot at.
Read further for gambling previews and predictions for the Washington Wizards at the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Denver Nuggets.
Washington Wizards (3-2) at Boston Celtics (3-2)
The Celtics have lost back-to-back (B2B) games to the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers and have lost three straight against the spread (ATS).
Washington are 1-2 straight up (SU) and ATS in the last three games with the most recent being a 127-117 loss at home vs. the Indiana Pacers Friday.
These teams split the season series 2-2 SU and ATS in 2021-22.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline (ML): Wizards (+310), Celtics (-380)
- ATS: WIZARDS +9 (-110), Celtics -9 (-110)
- Total (O/U) — 221.5 — O: -110, U: -110
Efficiency metrics say this is a toss-up game
According to Basketball-Reference, the Celtics slightly outrank the Wizards (0.67-0.25) in net rating (nRTG) adjusted for strength of schedule.
Also, Washington has a +1.4 adjusted points per 100 possessions nRTG, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG), which removes garbage time from its stat tracking. While Boston has a -1.4 points per 100 possessions nRTG.
Furthermore, the Wizards like to shoot inside the arc and D.C. SG Bradley Beal, in particular, operates in the mid-range.
Washington averages the 2nd-highest volume of mid-range field goals and Boston has the 3rd-worst defensive field goal percentage in the mid-range, per CTG.
Beal plays well vs. Boston All-Star wing Jayson Tatum and they have an off-court relationship because both are from St. Louis.
There’s probably a friendly rivalry that helps get Beal up for his games against Tatum. Beal is outscoring Tatum 29.6-21.3 points per game in their 13 career meetings and outshooting him from everywhere on the floor.
NBA Best Bet #1: Wizards +9 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +7
Denver Nuggets (4-2) at Los Angeles Lakers (0-5)
This Lakers thing is going from bad to worse. LA is the only winless team in the NBA and is 0-5 ATS in all five losses.
The Nuggets won B2B home games (2-0 ATS) entering Sunday vs. the Lakers 110-99 Wednesday and the Utah Jazz 117-101 Friday.
Last season, Denver was 2-1 SU and 2-1 ATS vs. LA and the Lakers’ only victory over the Nuggets was in a game Denver’s MVP big Nikola Jokic missed.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline (ML): Nuggets (-165), Lakers (+140)
- Against the spread (ATS): Nuggets -3.5 (-110), Lakers +3.5 (-110)
- Total (O/U) — 228.5 — O: -110, U: -110
No one wants to be LA’s first victory
The NBA doesn’t feel bad for LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers. I doubt anyone is looking ahead to the next game at this point, especially when visiting LA. The Lakers are 13-24 ATS as home underdogs since LeBron’s 1st season in LA (2018).
A faster pace favors the better shooters
LA plays at the fastest pace in the NBA and Denver ranks 9th in pace. If Nuggets-Lakers turns into a shootout obviously we’d prefer to have our money on the better shooting team.
Denver is 4th in effective field goal shooting (eFG%) and LA ranks dead last with a bullet. In fact, the next closest team to the Lakers’ 46.2% eFG% is the Houston Rockets at 48.8% eFG%.
Finally, Jokic will find open shooters on the outside because the Lakers will need to pack the paint. Denver averages the 6th-most paint points per game (PPG) and LA is 28th in paint PPG allowed.
NBA Best Bet #2: Nuggets -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -4.5
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