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What you need to know for Monday night’s NBA slate
By Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe
Marquee Matchup: Superstar centers meet in South Philly in an ESPN game that could trend offensively friendly. The 76ers just eked out an overtime win in Orlando on Sunday night and face an efficient Nuggets offense that ranks 12th in pace during the last 10 games. Not only does tonight’s total (220.5) appear achievable, but shares of Will Barton ($6,000 on DraftKings) could provide rewarding given how depleted Denver appears at the wing.
King Watch: The Lakers will play their first back-to-back in over a month and that means keeping an eye on the status of LeBron James (they have another one at the end of this week). With The King chasing a scoring title, it stands to reason that he either plays his normal minutes or sits out all together. Should he sit, it’s worth noting that Carmelo Anthony (46% available) had 17 points and 7 rebounds in the last game James missed. Talen Horton-Tucker (93% available) led the Lakers with 18 points in that game.
The Warriors are Greener: Draymond Green is expected to step on the court for the first time in over two months, but Steve Kerr indicated that his minutes will be limited. He’s a risky DFS play at best given his uncertain role. and his return from him could drag down the minutes of Jonathan Kuminga (24.4 minutes per game post-All Star Break) with time, but do n’t overreact until we see a healthy version of Green.
Influential Injuries: Cleveland won’t have Jarrett Allen in the lineup against the Clippers due to a finger injury. Kevin Love (70% available) started and posted a double-double for the Cavs on Saturday and has averaged 10 rebounds in the past three games he’s played at least 25 minutes. In San Antonio, Lonnie Walker IV (94% available) and Devin Vassell (87% available) just produced big scoring lines after Doug McDermott was injured against Indiana on Saturday. The Spurs host the Timberwolves tonight in a game with a robust point total.
Follow your Hart: Anfernee Simons will miss the next several weeks due to a quad injury. This leaves Josh Hart (53% available) as Portland’s primary perimeter playmaker. Fresh from a career-high 44 points against the Wizards on Saturday, Hart is a must-add in redraft and a solid candidate for scoring and shooting props. Teammates Drew Eubanks (98%), Trendon Watford (90%), and Brandon Williams (97%) are also likely to play big minutes against an Atlanta team that is on the second leg of a back-to-back.
Backcourt Bull: Chicago lost a great deal of defensive identity when Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso (71% available) went down with respective injuries earlier this winter. While Ball is still sidelined, Caruso returned to action on Saturday and produced four steals and one block in nearly 30 minutes. Not only is Caruso an elite defensive force with a bit of passing upside who can help in redraft leagues for tonight’s matchup with an up-tempo Kings team, he’s also a strong prop target for steals and stocks.
Game of the Night
Line: 76ers (-2.5)
Moneyline: 76ers (-145), Nuggets (+125)
Total: 220 points
BPI Projected Total: 224.5 points
BPI Win%: 76ers (50.5%)
Remarkable: After a remarkable 13-5 run ATS, the Nuggets have failed to cover each of their past four games.
Best bet: Nikola Jokic under 46.5 total points assists and rebounds. I actually love Jokic’s ability to create from anywhere on the court, even against a monster like Joel Embiid, as he’s consistently dominated other behemoth centers like Rudy Gobert. So why do I go under? Because Embiid is drawing fouls at an absurd rate, and there’s a reasonable chance Jokic has to miss some time in foul trouble. Over his last seven games, Embiid has averaged 16.4 FTA, and routinely puts opposing bigs on the bench in foul trouble. — Andre Snellings
Breaking down the rest of the slate
Line: Bucks (-2)
Moneyline: Bucks (-129), Jazz (+106)
Total: 233.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 230.5 points
BPI Win%: Jazz (55.2%)
Remarkable: The Jazz have covered just one of their past seven games and have 11 of their past 16 go under the total.
Fantasy Streamer: Hassan Whiteside. Udoka Azubuike is already out with an ankle injury and Rudy Gobert questionable with a foot injury, which bodes well for Whiteside (62% available) against the Bucks. Whiteside has proven he can be productive when given the opportunity. He has averaged 18.4 points and 17.2 rebounds per 40 minutes this season. –Eric Moody
Line: Cavaliers (-6.5)
Moneyline: Cavaliers (-260), Clippers (+210)
Total: 211.5 points BPI
ProjectedTotal: 212 points
BPI Win%: Cavaliers (65.8%)
Remarkable: Under tickets have cashed in 10 of Cleveland’s past 11 home games.
Fantasy Streamer: Brandon Goodwin. With Caris LeVert and Lauri Markkanen questionable and Rajon Rondo doubtful, Goodwin is on the streaming radar in deeper formats against the Clippers. In ESPN leagues, he’s available in 99.8%, and he averages 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per 40 minutes. — Moody
Line: Hawks (-12.5)
Moneyline: Hawks (-900), Blazers (+600)
Total: 233.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 228 points
BPI Win%: Hawks (88.3%)
Remarkable: Portland has failed to cover four straight (and seven of their past nine) road games. The last four road losses have come by a total of 115 points.
Line: Hornets (-8.5)
Moneyline: Hornets (-400), Thunder (+310)
Total: 232 points
BPI Projected Total: 225.5 points
BPI Win%: Hornets (74.1%)
Remarkable: The Hornets have covered three of their past four when favored and failed to cover three of their past four as an underdog.
Best bet: LaMelo Ball over 33.5 total points + assists + rebounds. In the last four games, Ball has averaged 20 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game. During that time, he has had a Usage Rate of 29%. The Thunder have allowed point guards to average 21.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game this season. — Moody
Line: Timberwolves (-5.5)
Moneyline: Timberwolves (-210), Spurs (+170)
Total: 240 points
BPI Projected Total: 231.5 points
BPI Win%: Timberwolves (58.8%)
Remarkable: Four straight Spur games have gone under the total and San Antonio has failed to cover six of their past seven.
Best bet: Jakob Poeltl over 26.5 total points + assists + rebounds. Poeltl has averaged 17 PPG, 10 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 32 MPG over the past seven games. The Timberwolves allow opponents to collect an abundance of offensive rebounds and amass a high number of shots within four feet of the basket. Centers have averaged 23.4 PPG, 15.5 RPG, and 3.5 APG In games against Minnesota this season. — Moody
Line: Warriors (-12.5)
Moneyline: Warriors (-800), Wizards (+550)
Total: 225 points
BPI Projected Total: 234 points
BPI Win%: Warriors (79.2%)
Remarkable: Are the Warriors back? They’ve covered four straight games after dropping four-in-a-row ATS. The weird part isn’t that they are covering, it’s how. The under has hit in each of their past three games while overs went 3-1 during that aforementioned ATS losing streak.
Line: Bulls (-5.5)
Moneyline: Bulls (-210), Kings (+170)
Total: 235.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 225 points
BPI Win%: Kings (51%)
Remarkable: The Bulls have seen seven of their past eight games go under the total and they’ve managed to cover just twice over that stretch.
Fantasy streamer: Alex Caruso. Zach LaVine is questionable for Monday night due to left knee soreness,. But regardless of LaVine’s health, Caruso is a streaming prospect. He looked solid in his return to the court from wrist surgery on Saturday. Caruso 71% available has averages 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per 40 minutes and can also contribute steals and blocks. — Moody
Best Bet: Domantas Sabonis over 34.5 total points + assists + rebounds. Sabonis has been key to the Kings’ offense over the last eight games. He has averaged 18 PPG, 13.4 RPG, and 6.4 APG, while playing 33.5 MPG. Power forwards have averaged 21.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 3.7 APG against the Bulls this season. Imagine what Sabonis can do against them. — Moody
Best bet: Under 235.5 points. The Bulls’ stretch of unders got a boost on Saturday with return of their best perimeter defender, Alex Caruso. The Kings also feature one of the best perimeter on-ball defenders in the league in rookie Davion Mitchell. The BPI projected total is more than 10 points under the line, a big difference that supports this pick. –Snellings
Line: Raptors (-5)
Moneyline: Raptors (-195), Lakers (+160)
Total: 224.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 223 points
BPI Win%: Raptors (62.9%)
Remarkable: Same game parlay opportunity if you like there to be points scored in this one: the Raptors are 10-1 in their past 11 games that have gone over the total.
Best bet: Over 224.5 points. The Lakers are in free-fall right now, particularly on the defensive end of the court. In their past six games, they’ve allowed an average of 125.5 PPG, and averaged 243.5 PPG combined with their opponents. They went over 224.5 combined points in all six games. It’s difficult to imagine this team putting in a huge defensive effort just a day after allowing the Suns to drop 140 points. The score could have been worse if Phoenix didn’t take their foot off the gas in the fourth. –Snellings
BPI highest projected totals
1. Golden State Warriors (121.7 points)
2. Atlanta Hawks (120.6 points)
3. Minnesota Timberwolves (117 points)
BPI lowest projected totals
1. Los Angeles Clippers (103.6 points)
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (109 points)
3. Los Angeles Lakers (109.7 points)
BPI top probability to win (straight up)
1. Atlanta Hawks (88.3%)
2. Golden State Warriors (79.2%)
3. Charlotte Hornets (74.1%)