Monday always offers a healthy portion of NBA games to start the week. The eight-game slate gets underway at 7 pm ET with the Knicks at 76ers and closes with three West Coast games. Let’s dive into some of my favorite wagers for this slate on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Warriors -3.5 (-110)
This line opened at GSW -2 on Sunday evening before the close of the Warriors-Rockets game and might move even further, but the Warriors are still the play. The Hawks are a good team, but they’re 4-6. Atlanta’s schedule has not been easy and it’s not going to get any easier on Monday night. The Hawks have dropped some games to teams that they should have beaten, so it’s hard to imagine that they steal a game from the Warriors on the road.
Golden State is on the second half of a back-to-back, but it’s their first of the season and they are rested. The Warriors have won most of their games comfortably, so Steve Kerr has been able to limit his starters’ minutes. Atlanta is a little bit fresher and are healthy, but they are in the middle of a West Coast swing and have lost five of their last six games (1-5 ATS).
Ultimately this game comes down to the talent, not the legs. Golden State is 8-1 because they’re first in defensive efficiency and third in True Shooting Percentage. Basketball is pretty simple: score points and stop your opponent from scoring points. Atlanta is 4-6 because they have the fourth-worst defensive efficiency rating and are 11th worst in True Shooting Percentage.
Knicks Money Line +155
The Knicks home loss to the Cavs on Sunday was bad, but it’s not that bad. The Cavs are 6-4 this season and the Knicks had a terrible night from several of their players. Even on a bad night, New York was only trailing the Cavs by seven points with four minutes remaining, but then Cleveland nailed three consecutive threes and that was all she wrote. The Knicks were off and Ricky Rubio was 8-9 from the three-point line, it happens.
Playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road is less than ideal, but they will have a rested Kemba Walker that sat of Sunday. Less appealing is the matchup, but that’s always where a good return can be found. Philadelphia has won six straight and has covered in five consecutive games. What’s more impressive is that they’re doing this without Tobias Harris, Danny Green and Ben Simmons.
Philly has been punching above their weight class on this run, but how long can that last? Shake Milton played over 30 minutes in his last two games and had a Plus/Minus of +6 and +13 with at least 13 points and seven rebound in each game — that can’t last. Furkan Korkmaz was 7-9 from beyond the arc on Saturday against Chicago — that can’t last. The 76ers might get Danny Green back on Monday, but they will also be without Mattise Thybulle and Isaiah Joe again. Doc Rivers ran an eight-man rotation on Saturday and Thursday, and the game before that, it was an eight-man rotation outside of four minutes. All signs point toward a collapse coming soon.
The last time Philadelphia lost, it was was against the Knicks. In a couple ways these teams are very similar. Both are in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency and the top 5 in offensive efficiency. Philly has health issues and New York is on a back-to-back. Philly is the favorite because they’re at home and are hot, but regression is coming and this is great spot to buy New York and sell Philly.
DeMar DeRozan over 22.5 points (-120)
Brooklyn is a good defensive team (their 99.8 defensive efficiency rating is the fourth-best this season), but this is the back-end of a road back-to-back for the Nets. This is their second back-to-back this season, and in the first one, they lost to Hornets on the front-end by 16 points after being favored by 13 points. That loss had more to do with their erratic play on offense due to the absence of Kyrie Irving and James Harden’s shot struggles. That shouldn’t factor into this bet, but the point is, Brooklyn is far from complete, especially on a back-to-back. Not to mention, the Nets are the fifth-oldest team in the NBA. This is a defense to take seriously, but not fear.
DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls offense should be taken seriously as well. They rank eighth in offensive efficiency despite a slow start from DeRozan and an injured Zach LaVine. In DeRozan’s first five games with this offense, he shot 45% and 47% from the field in his first two and was below 40% in his next three. However, those games were not complete duds as his True Shooting Percentage was north of 47% in every contest thanks to his ability get to the line and make free throws. Over the last four games, DeRozan’s shot has begun to fall (59%, 75%, 59% and 47% FG%). His last performance is truer to his career field goal percentage of 46%, but anything over that will be gladly accepted. However, 46% will work with his usage rate of above 30% and 34 minutes per game.
The kicker is that DeRozan is getting to the line and scoring freebies. DeRozan has always been an excellent free throw shooter and managed to work his way to the line for 6.4 chances per contest. It’s early, but with his style of play, the new foul rules have not affected his ability to draw fouls as he is averaging 7.8 free throw attempts per game this season. However the biggest change this season — the one we have all been waiting for — has been his ability to take and knock down threes. DeRozan is a notoriously hesitant chucker averaging 1.5 three-point attempts and making only 28% of those threes over his career. This season, he’s taking 2.1 attempts per game and is making 42.1% of those attempts. This does not make him a Hall of Famer, but it does suggest that he should clear this over.
DeRozan is averaging 26.8 points per game this season after a slow start, and he’s averaged 23.1 points per game over the last nine seasons on much slower, less offensively productive teams.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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