Tuesday’s NBA slate features seven games to choose from, starting with the Magic vs. the Nets at 1:00 p.m. ET and concluding with the Wizards vs. the Bucks at 9:00 p.m. ET. Some of these games will have massive implications for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs, which should lead to some exciting basketball.
Here are five of my favorite bets to target on Tuesday’s slate.
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San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets: Spurs +2
I have been on the Spurs in virtually every game in Orlando, and I’m not going to stop now. The Rockets will be without James Harden in today’s contest, which is an absolutely massive loss. They do get back Russell Westbrook, but the Rockets have posted a much lower Net Rating with Westbrook on the court and Harden off the court this season. Both of those guys may be superstars, but one is clearly more important to the team’s success.
The Rockets have also been killed on the glass in Orlando, ranking dead last in team rebound rate. The Spurs rank sixth in that department, so they should be able to take advantage of that weakness.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Phoenix Suns: Suns -8
The Suns have been perfect inside the bubble, winning each of their first six games. They also rank first in Net Rating, outscoring opponents by an average of 11.1 points per 100 possessions.
They should have a massive edge in terms of talent today vs. the 76ers. Ben Simmons remains injured, and Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson will join him on the sidelines vs. the Spurs. Al Horford and Tobias Harris are also questionable, and if those guys can’t suit up, it will leave the team without their entire starting five from the beginning of the season. The 76ers have only played 116 minutes with all five players off the court, but they’ve been outscored by 9.8 points per 100 possessions in that situation.
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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Boston Celtics: Grizzlies +4
I’m reading the tea leaves a bit on this one, but I expect the Celtics to rest at least some of their regulars in this contest. They have just two games left in the season, and head coach Brad Stevens has stated he’d like to get his starters some rest before the postseason. They could choose to do that in the final game of the season vs. the Wizards, but I think it makes more sense to let them use that game as a tune up.
We know that this game is crucial for the Grizzlies if they have any hopes of hanging on to the No. 8 seed, so expect them to play hard. They’ve struggled with an abysmal 1-5 record through their first six games, but they actually rank 12th in Net Rating over that time frame. That suggests they’ve been unlucky. They own a better mark in that category than the Pacers, Nets, and Thunder, who have combined to go 11-7.
Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Bucks -8
This line definitely implies that the Bucks will be resting at least some of their starters in today’s contest. They’re on the second leg of a back-to-back, and everyone but Giannis Antetokounmpo was active for this first game.
That said, I think the Bucks could legitimately beat the Wizards using only their backups. They’ve lost each of their first six games, and they’ve lost them all by at least eight points.
Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Kings +1
I have no idea why the Kings are underdogs in this matchup. They will be without De’Aaron Fox, but the Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson, Jrue Holiday, and Brandon Ingram. Those are without a doubt their three most important players.
The Kings will obviously miss Fox, but they should be able to overcome his absence better than the Pelicans can overcome the absences of Williamson, Holiday and Ingram. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes should be enough to get them over the finish line.
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