Saturday’s NBA main slate features five games. The action gets underway at 7 p.m. ET and the final game tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET. Let’s survey the slate and pick the best bets for Saturday night.
Timberwolves -13 (-110)
For a brief moment, there was life in the Portland locker room. Against all odds, the Trail Blazers’ comical roster was winning games. That brief moment has ended. Jusuf Nurkic is on the shelf for at least a month. When he landed on the injury report, the air was sucked out of the room. Portland has not won a game since Nurkic went down, but it’s worse than that. Those three losses were by 37, 32 and 30 points. The DraftKings Sportsbook does not have the guts to slap a 30-point spread on this game, but that’s what it deserves.
The spread is high, very high, but the Timberwolves have an up-tempo offense and the Trail Blazers have — well, no one knows what this team has. The best answer is nothing. The latest iteration — the Trail Blazers that have been blown out in three straight — have a defensive efficiency rating of 122.9. While their ranking has not changed from their season ranking (29th), the three-game rating is 8.7 points worse than their season average. Portland is running out the string at this point. They’re not even seeing what they have. It’s another story on the other bench. The Timberwolves are gelling offensively and turning into a pesky team that no one wants to play, especially when the playoffs come around. This top-10 offense ranks No. 1 over the last three games (126.7 offensive efficiency rating). Minnesota might be missing the one piece needed to make a deep run in the playoffs, but they have enough pieces to break a favorites heart in the first round. They certainly have enough pieces to stomp the Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
Grizzlies -15.5 (-110)
Orlando has won three of four, but their wins are not impressive. They beat the Pacers, Rockets and Raptors. On the surface, the Raptors win should be a quality win, but the Raptors were on the second leg of a back-to-back on the road and were without Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby.
The Grizzlies stumbled into and out of the break. They’re 2-3 over five games, but that’s nothing to worry about. Their offense is fine, but their defense has struggled in tough matchups. Minnesota has a solid up-tempo offense, Chicago is great at home and Boston is the hottest team in the NBA. The small slide will soon be forgotten because the Grizzlies are about to go on a run. Here is their upcoming schedule: Magic, Rockets, Pelicans, Knicks, Thunder, Pacers, Hawks, Rockets, Nets and Pacers. That’s a 10-game win streak and for the best ATS team in the NBA, it’s likely a 10-game ATS streak unless the DraftKings Sportsbook gets aggressive with the spreads.
Warriors -6 (-110)
The Lakers are done. It’s a little late for LeBron James to make speeches about not giving up. A simple glance at the roster, and James should have known to give up in October. The Lakers are 6-16 over their last 22 games (9-13 ATS). This is exactly what one would expect from a team with an aging LeBron James, a fragile Anthony Davis, and an erratic — those are the kindest words — Russell Westbrook. Not even the Bubble would save this team. Over the last 15 games, the Lakers rank 20th in offensive efficiency and 17th in defensive efficiency. This is not a playoff team and the Warriors are potential champions.
Over that same stretch of games, the Warriors have the No. 1 defense and are a respectable 11th in offense — Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala have been out since January. Although the stats are there, Golden State comes into Los Angeles on a three game losing streak. The Warriors lost on the road to the surging Timberwolves and dropped two games to the red-hot Mavericks (winners of nine out of their last 11 games). This is a great opportunity to get back to their winning ways and pound a bad team. Steph Curry is playing well, he just needs to do more. With the three game skid and a big game in Hollywood, it’s very likely that Curry increases his workload tonight.
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