After a profitable Sunday, I’m turning my attention to today’s card to find some value. We’ve got a pair of nationally televised games tonight, between the Nuggets and Mavericks and the Lakers and Bulls, but those games don’t offer nearly as much value as the smaller-market options I’ve identified below.
Here are my top NBA betting picks for Monday’s action.
Written Picks YTD: 28-20-0 (+14.64u)
Total Picks YTD: 43-41-0 (+17.46u)*
*Follow me @is_sirois for any other plays.
1. Ricky Rubio o12.5 Points | -108 at FD Sportsbook
I will be honest with you — I went to bed last Saturday planning to bet the over on a Ricky Rubio prop the next chance I got. It’s now Monday, and here we are. You can either side with my instinct or read that as bias.
Of course, I actually have some substantive reasoning for this play. Rubio has averaged 19.5 points per game since Collin Sexton’s injury, and Cleveland’s starting shooting guard remains out for this matchup. As do Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love, and Lamar Stevens. That leaves Cleveland with a tight nine-man rotation.
There is massive market inefficiency regarding the props for this game. The Cavaliers’ team total sits at 98.5 points, but the sum of the five available player point prop markets sits at just 69.5. That wouldn’t be an issue if the excluded players (Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Denzel Valentine, and Dean Wade) averaged 29 points per game, but they don’t. They average just 19.6 points per game. You can argue that Sexton and Markkanen’s injuries have subsequently increased their usage, which is fair, but these four players combined for only 21 points in Saturday’s game against the Celtics. As a result, either the full-game total is wrong or the prop markets are.
I’m betting that the prop markets are off. So of all individual players to target, why not Rubio? He has looked fantastic this year, especially since Sexton got hurt. He has momentum after a strong showing at the 2020 Summer Olympics (he scored 38 points against Team USA in Tokyo — that’s more than his NBA career-high of 37!). Even better, the Celtics have fared worse against opposing guards than forwards and centers through their last seven games
2. Josh Giddey 2+ Made Threes | +250 (.5u) at FD Sportsbook
I love this prop because we can bet a half-unit and still profit more than a full one. Giddey isn’t your prototypical long-range shooting guard, but he has sunk at least a pair of triples twice this year, including his most recent game.
The logic here is less about Giddey and more about the Miami Heat. They are scary good this year and give up the fewest points in the paint per game (40.6). They essentially force their opponents to take long- and mid-range shots. Perhaps unsurprisingly, opposing shooting guards have fared better than any other position against the Heat. Opposing twos score 24.4 points per game against Miami, the third-highest rate in the NBA. They also make 4.17 threes per game against them, good for the second-highest figure. The Heat also surrender the fifth-most total made threes per game.
Giddey spends 89% of his minutes at the two spot. He has attempted at least a pair of threes in all but two games this year, too. He isn’t a spectacular shooter, but someone is going to punish the Heat from long range, and it might as well be Giddey.
3. Kyle Kuzma o7.5 Rebounds | -128 at FD Sportsbook
I’ve also been meaning to play Kuzma’s rebounds for a while, so we’ll crack this play out for his game against the Pelicans. New Orleans hasn’t been great this year, and they permit opposing power forwards to grab 11.6 boards per game. Also, Kuz is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game thus far. He has nabbed at least eight boards in all but four of his outings.
It’s at least worth thinking about whether Kuzma’s newfound prowess on the glass is a flash in the pan. Last year’s per-game average (6.1) and rebounding rate (12%) certainly suggest that he’ll regress. However, Kuzma has increased his rebounding rate to 14.5%, and he nabs 24.3% of available defensive boards. I actually think this improvement makes a lot of sense — Kuzma stands 6-foot-10, so he has the size to be a decent rebounder. He also has a much bigger role to play in Washington than he did in Los Angeles.
Lastly, these two squads rank top-12 in pace. The handful of extra possessions should help Kuzma cash the over.
4. Parlay: Rubio 15+ PTS + Giddey 2+ 3PT + Kuzma o7.5 RBD | +1496 (.1u) at FD Sportsbook
I’m keeping things relatively simple with today’s parlay. Let’s use two of the above lines and tease up Rubio’s points. That gives us a parlay with pretty wild odds (+1496), so we’ll only need to wager .1u to profit almost 1.5u. That’s a top-notch return on investment in my book.
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