For many, tonight’s nine game slate is just another ho hum day in the NBA, but for our experts, there’s always an edge to find, especially in games that won’t get national attention. Tonight’s featured matchup on national TV is a rematch between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat (7:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV) after the first meeting ended with fights and fines.
But our analysts are eyeing two other games of note on Monday’s schedule and are better the spread in both plus a play on a total.
You can find their fill game analysis and best bets for Monday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Indiana Pacers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves||8 p.m. ET|
|Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz||9 p.m. ET|
|Pick||Pacers +3 | Under 217|
|Tipoff||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Raheem Palmer: The Minnesota Timberwolves come off a 121-120 double overtime win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday and now return home where they’ll take on the Indiana Pacers who come off a 118-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Timberwolves have been in better form recently, winning six out of their last seven games, but this feels like a solid get right spot for the Pacers whose starters didn’t play heavy minutes last night in Milwaukee. Overall both of these teams have solid defenses with the Pacers ranking eighth in Defensive Rating (105.4) and the Timberwolves ranking fifth (103.3) over the past two weeks in their non garbage time minutes per Cleaning the Glass.
Neither one of these teams play particularly fast with the Pacers ranking 21st in Pace (98.13) and the Timberwolves ranking 11th (99.79) so I’m expecting a lower scoring game. Despite the Wolves being in better form recently, the Pacers are equipped to handle this Wolves team that they’ve beaten four straight times.
The Wolves rank fifth in transition points added per 100 possessions but the Pacers are seventh in defending in transition. The Pacers also do a solid job defending the rim with Myles Turner, holding teams to 61.3% at the rim, fourth among NBA teams. This is an area where the Timberwolves are taking 33.5% of their field goal attempts, ninth among NBA teams. The Timberwolves are just 25th in half court offense (86.2) while the Pacers are 12th (93.9).
Overall, it feels like the Wolves are being overvalued in this spot and my model makes this game closer to a PK than the +4 we’re seeing in the market. I’ll back the Pacers down to +2.5 in and the under 217.5 at PointsBet.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Brandon Anderson: The Utah Jazz are really good.
Sorry if you’ve been in a coma for all of 2021 and missed that. But while the rest of the NBA world goes crazy over the big Warriors vs. Suns showdown on Tuesday night, the Jazz are quietly humming along and looking just about as good as ever.
Utah is 13-7. Three of those losses came by a single shot, and two more came without Mike Conley. Only one win was by double digits. Utah ranks top-five in both Offensive and Defensive Rating at Basketball Reference. They’re actually first on offense, despite shooting only 35% on 3s, far below last year’s blistering pace.
Just how good are the Jazz? Utah ranks second in Net Rating and Basketball Reference’s Simple Rating System (SRS). That’s ahead of every Eastern Conference team and, in case you forgot, it’s also ahead of one of those two West teams everyone’s obsessing over. That’s right, the Phoenix Suns are 17-3, on a 16-game win streak, and the Jazz rank HIGHER than Phoenix. That’s how good Utah has been, even as we’ve mostly ignored their continued success.
So I’m going back to the well and taking the Jazz as a middle favorite to win and cover. I’ve made this same pick a number of times in the staff best bets, and it’s because it works. Since the calendar turned to 2021, the Jazz are 26-9 ATS when favored by 5-to-9.5 points. They’re even better when they’re at home at 14-3 ATS, covering the spread 82% of the time by 7.0 PPG.
Utah is really good, and the Jazz consistently get the job done as a favorite in this range. All the better that it’s the Blazers coming to town since Portland has been horrid on the road this season. The Blazers are 1-9 on the road in the new season, and they’ve failed to cover this line in 70% of their road trips. Utah is always a tough visit anyway with its altitude, so it’s not about to get any easier for Portland.
I’ll stick with what’s been working throughout all of 2021 and play the Jazz. I’ll play to -9.5 as necessary, per the trend above.