The NBA rolls on with eight games spread out across Sunday from the afternoon into the evening. Our betting experts have a pair of best bets on Magic vs. Nuggets and 76ers vs. Lakers for you to tail. Check out their picks and analysis below.
NBA Odds & Picks
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|Magic vs. Nuggets Total||8 p.m. ET|
|76ers vs. Lakers Spread||9:30 p.m. ET|
Magic vs. Nuggets
|Tipoff||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: It’s a tough sell, advocating for an under with the second-best offense in the league, but here I am. The Denver Nuggets rank second in Adjusted Offensive Rating according to Dunks and Threes, but one reason I like this under is how their offense runs in the halfcourt.
The Nuggets take their time with the ball, always looking to make the extra pass to find an open teammate. They rank 21st in Offensive Possession Length (14.7). On the defensive side, Orlando ranks 22nd (14.5).
Both teams slow things down in the halfcourt, ranking near the bottom of the league in pace. Denver ranks 20th (98.8) while the Magic rank 19th (99).
The Magic defense, as mediocre as it is, also matches up well with the Nuggets who get a lot of buckets at the rim, ranking sixth in Rim Rate (37.9%). Orlando gives up a lot of threes, but it does surprisingly well when it comes to protecting the rim. The Magic rank 10th in Defensive Rim Rate (32.6%), which leaves them less susceptible to the Nuggets’ style of attack.
To top it off, both teams tend toward the under in their respective home/away splits and have been trending toward the under in their recent play. The under is 12-9 in Magic road games this season, and four of their last five away games have gone under.
The Nuggets are 7-13-1 to the under at home, and four of their last five games have gone under.
Take the under down to 233.
76ers vs. Lakers
|Tipoff||9:30 p.m. ET|
Chris Baker: The 76ers are on a back-to-back here, so monitor their injury report for any late rest decisions, but if they are healthy, I like them to cover this short number.
This is just a matchup bet for me as I think that the Lakers matchup horribly with this 76ers team. Obviously, the first key to slowing down this 76ers team is limiting Joel Embiid’s ability to dominate in the paint. The Lakers have shown no signs of competent interior defense since the Anthony Davis injury.
They are currently starting Thomas Bryant at center and he is literally bottom-five in the NBA in every defensive metric. Bryant ranks third-worst in Defensive Rating Swing (+7.2) and fourth-worst in Defensive RAPTOR, according to 538 and Cleaning the Glass.
He won’t guard Joel Embiid without fouling, and behind him it is pretty much just Wenyen Gabriel as a backup. Gabriel has been slightly better defensively, but I doubt his ability to contain Embiid as he weighs right around 200 pounds.
The interior defense has been poor, but I also have concerns for their perimeter defense as the Lakers will be without Lonnie Walker, Austin Reaves and now potentially Patrick Beverley for this one. They are seriously injured at the guard spot, and it has forced them to look to guys like Max Christie, Dennis Schroeder, and Kendrick Nunn for help.
These aren’t the most inspiring defenders, and I think they will have massive issues defending at the point of attack against James Harden and Tyrese Maxey tonight. If the point of attack defense can’t hold up, the 76ers should find plenty of easy looks all night. Tobias Harris has a chance to return after resting last night as well.
There is a massive talent disparity here, and I think you have to lay the -3 despite the back-to-back as the Lakers just don’t matchup well enough here.