A solid nine-game slate awaits us tonight in the NBA, although you won’t find the best action on national television. Although I’m targeting Cleveland’s trip to Dallas with most of my plays, I’m featuring another Texas-based matchup to boot.
Here are my top NBA betting picks for Monday’s action.
Written Picks YTD: 44-34-0 (+17.14u)
Total Picks YTD: 60-63-0 (+16.13u)*
*Follow me @is_sirois for any other plays.
1. Cavaliers +7 | -114 at FD Sportsbook
My NBA betting model is all over the Cavaliers tonight. It considers this line a lock all the way down to +4 (if Cedi Osman plays, +4.5 if he sits). It does so for multiple reasons, and we’ll start with the math.
First, the efficiency metrics point to value. Cleveland and Dallas play at below-average paces, which should keep scoring somewhat lower. While the Mavericks outrank the Cavaliers in terms of offensive efficiency (16th to 23rd), the difference is pretty much insignificant (0.02 baskets per 100 possessions). That said, the Cavs significantly outrank the Mavs in defensive efficiency (9th to 19th), which yields a distinction that’s double the difference in offensive efficiency (0.04). This part of the model has this game as a pick’em.
Second, the books underestimate Cleveland’s personnel. My model values Cleveland’s available players at 27.8 win shares and Dallas’ available players at just 23.82. While that gap may sound large without context, it yields the Cavs just a one-basket advantage — which would disappear entirely if Osman doesn’t play. His injury is why we’re just playing the spread, not the moneyline, even though the model finds a positive ROI on the Cavs at +215.
Lastly, the Cavs have been the NBA’s best road team against the spread this year. They have covered 75% of the time. In contrast, the Mavs have covered the spread in only 37.5% of their home games. Gross.
2. Thunder +2 | -106 at FD Sportsbook
I have a bunch of player props to target in Cleveland’s game, but we’re going to stop in Houston for a quick pick first. The 3-16 Rockets are on a two-game winning streak, but that doesn’t justify the books listing them as favorites. They earned a narrow overtime win against a sloppy Charlotte squad and a fluky five-point win over Chicago. I don’t buy that this winning streak will continue.
The Thunder have also been phenomenal against bad teams this year. They’ve taken down the Spurs, Lakers, Pelicans, Kings, and Rockets on their way to a 6-13 record. Quite impressive for a squad that’s supposed to be tanking.
I’m also on this game because my betting model is, too. Oklahoma City has covered in 66.7% of their road games, while Houston has covered in just 37.5% of their home outings. The Thunder are also efficient enough for the model to see this game as closer to a pick’em than the spread indicates.
3. Jarrett Allen o13.5 Points | -116 at FD Sportsbook
If the Cavs are going to cover, it’ll come down to the damage their bigs do in the paint. That’s because the Mavericks surrender the eighth-most points in the paint per game (47.2) and the fourth-most to centers (27.6). As a result, I have highlighted plays on both Allen and Evan Mobley. Why those two players? Well, they lead the Cavs in paint touches per game: Allen records 12.6 and Mobley gets 7.1. Also, Allen spends 100% of his minutes at the five, unlike Mobley, who has split his time between the three, four, and five.
I love this prop because Allen has gone over this total in all three of his games since his return. In fact, he has averaged 21.3 points per game through that stretch! He is now averaging 15.5 points per game on the year. These factors give us an absolute ton of edge in a friendly matchup. It’s also worth noting that Allen has gone over this total in 10 of his 17 starts this year.
I don’t love the juice, but we’re coming back to this one for an SGP below.
4. Evan Mobley Double-Double | +290 (.35u) at FD Sportsbook
This play is all about the juice. We can bet less than a half-unit to profit a full one if Mobley can pull down at least 10 boards (while scoring at least 10 points, of course) against one of the NBA’s worst teams in the paint. The Mavericks allow opposing centers to nab the fourth-most boards per game (17.5), a number which jumps slightly (18.1) over their last seven games. While it’s true that the Cavaliers rotate Mobley around in the lineup, Dallas has also given up the third-most boards to small forwards (9.0), where Mobley could slot in with Lauri Markkanen and Jarrett Allen both healthy.
Mobley has recorded a double-double just four times in his short career. However, he finished just one rebound away in an additional four games, and he has only made 16 career starts! He is due for his fifth double-double tonight.
5. SGP: Allen 15+ PTS + 8+ RBD + Mobley 10+ PTS + 8+ RBD + CLE +7.5 | +830 (.13u) at FD Sportsbook
Let’s roll all the insight above into one parlay, shall we? We’ll feature a teased-up point total for Allen alongside a few teased-down plays. Allen’s rebounds total sits at 10.5, so 8+ gives us a solid amount of wiggle room, which we want because of the inverse correlation with Mobley. We’re also targeting Mobley’s boards at the standard total and his points at a teased-down figure. We’ll cap this all off with the Cavs to cover +7.5. I advise that you wager just enough to profit a full unit.
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