It’s going to be a busy week in the sports world, especially in the NBA with the trade deadline looming.
But we’re kicking off Monday with a compact five-game slate that features an awesome East vs. West matchup between the Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls (8 p.m. ET on NBA TV).
Our NBA analysts are eyeing picks in that matchup, plus two more games tonight. Read on for their analysis and best bets for Monday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Heat vs. Wizards | Suns vs. Bulls Parlay||7 p.m. ET|
|Suns vs. Bulls Total||8 p.m. ET|
|Knicks vs. Jazz Prop||9 p.m. ET|
Miami Heat vs. Washington Wizards | Phoenix Suns vs. Chicago Bulls
|Pick||Heat-Suns ML Parlay -116|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Brandon Anderson: I’m calling this my No. 1 seed moneyline parlay. I was debating between the Heat and Suns as my favorite pick of the night, liking both spots but not quite loving the lines, especially as both of them rise toward the favorites. In the end, I prefer to parlay the moneylines together and just count on both favorites winning.
For much of this season, a parlay of both top teams would’ve involved Chicago winning, not losing. Heck, at the start of the season, it would’ve meant Washington winning. But both of those teams have fallen since, and both appear to be missing their star shooting guard tonight.
Bradley Beal is nursing a wrist injury, and the Wizards have now lost seven of their last eight games and fallen into the bottom 10 in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, per Basketball Reference.
Washington has bottomed out, and though the Wiz may still contend for a play-in spot, they’re a far cry from the team that started out as a shock 1-seed. Miami has a few key players questionable too, most notably Jimmy Butler, but the Heat have shown that even their bench is reliable enough to take care of an opponent like Washington.
Perhaps Zach LaVine will suit up for Chicago after sitting out the first night of a back-to-back, but it’s not like the Bulls aren’t already shorthanded with Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Patrick Williams missing to injury. Those absences have severely compromised this defense, and the Suns continue to roll with 12 wins in their last 13.
Phoenix is the best team in the league right now by a sizable margin, with both their offense and defense ranked in the top three. The defense should be the difference in this one, LaVine or not.
Phoenix and Miami are the top teams right now precisely because they win in tough spots like this, on the road and tired out against quality teams. Will the Suns and Heat cover the spread? I’m not positive, so I’ll just parlay the moneylines at -116 as a better single pick than either spread.
You might even get a better price if you wait, since both underdogs could get some positive injury news and reduce the juice on the favorites. I’ll still play either way but might wait to see if we get better lines that push us closer to +100. Barring any huge news, I’ll play to -130.
Phoenix Suns vs. Chicago Bulls
|Tipoff||8 p.m. ET|
Kenny Ducey: The Bulls may be injured, but it seems they’re figuring out how to play good offensive basketball once again behind DeMar DeRozan. Chicago has won five of eight and covered in four of those games as the favorite, but more importantly the over has cashed in seven of those contests, and in the last six Bulls games.
This is because Chicago’s coming at teams with a lethal combination of scoring and lackluster defense. Over the last two weeks, the Bulls rank fourth-worst in the NBA with a 118.7 defensive rating and fifth in offensive rating at 118.8. Just yesterday in a loss to the Sixers, this defense put up an appalling 128 defensive rating, but did well to stay in the game against a tough defense with plenty of scoring inside and out.
Phoenix has been the least bit vulnerable of late on defense, ranking 12th over the past two weeks with some tough performances on that end against undermanned or unspectacular offenses like Brooklyn and San Antonio.
New York Knicks vs. Utah Jazz
|Pick||RJ Barrett Over 20.5|
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Joe Dellera: One bright spot for the Knicks recently has been RJ Barrett. He’s been absolutely electric, and while it hasn’t necessarily been enough to get wins, over their last seven games, he’s been the clear primary option averaging 23.1 points, six rebounds and 3.1 assists.
I like this spot for him against this Jazz team that doesn’t have Rudy Gobert. Gobert has miss the past six games for the Jazz and he’s expected to miss tonight’s game — without him the Jazz are just 2-4.
Opponents score 103.8 points per 100 possession with Gobert on the floor but that number jumps to 112.1 with him off, according to NBA Advanced Stats. He’s an elite rim protector and dramatically improves their half court defense.
The Knicks — who love to play slow and in the halfcourt — should benefit from him being out. I lean toward the Knicks covering the spread, but I also like Barrett to go over 20.5 points tonight against the shorthanded Jazz and I’m willing to go up to 21.5 if this line moves up across the board.