We’re kicking off the final week of 2021 with seven games on the schedule for Monday night.
COVID-related absences have made their impact on this slate, but our experts see value on three matchups tonight. They are eying one total and the spread in two of those games.
You can find their analysis and best bets for Monday below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Memphis Grizzlies vs. Phoenix Suns||9 p.m. ET|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Kenny Ducey: Welcome to another edition of “just how many key players is this team missing!” Today, we’ll focus back in on the Atlanta Hawks, who are still without Trae Young, Danilo Gallinari, John Collins, Kevin Huerter and a host of frontcourt players. They’re currently relying upon Bogdan Bogdanovic and Cam Reddish on the offensive end, and their offense has taken a critical hit.
In the three games since Trae Young entered the league’s health and safety protocols, the Hawks have scored just 101.8 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 25th in the NBA. To make matters worse, John Collins and Delon Wright both tied for a team-high 20 points on Christmas Day in a blowout loss to the Knicks, and now they’re both out due to COVID.
It’s true that Chicago has issues of its own without Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, but this is still a team which is more than five points better than Atlanta. The Bulls have ranked second in the NBA over that same three-game span with a 122.4 Offensive Rating, and that should be more than enough considering what we’ve seen out of the Hawks lately and all season.
Atlanta just hasn’t been a good defensive side all season long even when healthy, so I’m inclined to take the offense which has been much stronger by a country mile to dominate this matchup. I’m just not sure how Bogdanovic and Reddish power this offense all by themselves, particularly with capable wing defenders on the other end.
I will also point out that the Hawks are 7-9 against the spread at home this season. I like the Bulls in this spot.
|Tipoff||8:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Brandon Anderson: Why yes, I am in fact going to just keep betting and writing about the Utah Jazz as long as the same trends stick. And these are the trends: bet Utah as a mid-sized favorite, and fade the Jazz when they’re big favorites.
For some reason, Utah has struggled mightily as a double-digit favorite this season, repeatedly letting bad teams hang around and even win. They lost as a double-digit favorite at home against these Spurs just earlier this month. But when the Jazz are shorter favorites in that 5.5 to 9.5 point range, they dominate.
Since the turn of the calendar to 2021, Utah is 28-11 ATS as a favorite of 5.5 to 9.5 points. That’s an impressive 72% cover rate, and the Jazz are covering by 5.6 points on average. Utah is a regular season juggernaut, and all the numbers back up their dominance. The offense has ranked at the top of the league virtually all season with the defense not far behind, and Utah is about even with the Warriors now for top Net Rating too.
And yet everyone keeps talking about the Warriors and Suns as the top two teams and overlooking Utah, including the books, so I’ll keep riding them in these spots. Utah is mostly healthy now, one of the few teams to stay out of the COVID issues. Donovan Mitchell will miss, and he’s been fantastic, but I trust the rest of the Jazz to get the job done and they’ve done just fine without Spida in the past.
I’m not worried about that recent Spurs loss either. Utah was up double digits at the half and coasting before a nightmare third quarter flipped things upside down. Credit San Antonio for fighting hard, but Utah is just miles better and I’ll back them to add another easy win. I’ll play to -9.5 if necessary, per the trend.
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Raheem Palmer: The Suns have seen their games fly over the total in four of their past five games as their offense is scoring 115 points per 100 possessions during this stretch. They should have no problems against the Grizzlies who will be playing the second game of a back-to-back without Dillon Brooks, one of their better perimeter defenders.
Although the Grizzlies have had one of the best defenses in the league, adjusting for opponent, this team is just 20th in Defensive Rating allowing 110 point per 100 possessions according to DunksandThrees.com.
The Grizzlies are dead last in opponent three point shooting percentage, allowing opposing teams to shoot 38.4% from behind the arc. That won’t bode well against the Suns who shoot 37.4%, fourth in the NBA.
The Grizzlies have been rolling offensively as well however, scoring 113.9 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes minutes over the last two weeks. The Suns will be missing Jae Crowder for this matchup as well which is one less wing defender in this matchup.
Overall with the point guard matchup in Ja Morant and Chris Paul, I feel like this is a game where the Grizzlies opt to push the pace. I think this total is a bit low for these two teams and I’ll play the over.
I grabbed some 219 this morning and I would play this up to 221.