The NBA is giving us a huge slate for a Sunday. There has been one postponement, but that still leaves us with eight games to choose from. The action gets underway with an afternoon contest between the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks at 3:30 p.m. ET, and then there’s a seven-game main slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite wagers on DraftKings Sportsbook for Sunday’s NBA slate.
Phoenix Suns (-10) @ Minnesota Timberwolves:
The Timberwolves are in a tough spot at the moment. D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley are both out of the lineup, and Karl-Anthony Towns is still being limited following an extended absence due to COVID-19. He’s averaged just 32.7 minutes over his past 10 games, which is low for a star player even in 2021.
That just doesn’t leave Minnesota with a ton of viable options. Anthony Edwards is being asked to pick up some of the slack offensively, and he might not be ready for that kind of responsibility. Edwards undoubtedly has a ton of talent – if you don’t believe me, just ask Yuta Watanabe – but he is still very raw. He’s shooting just 37.2% from the field and 31.4% from 3-point range this season, and he’s been forced to take at least 20 shots in each of his past two games. You can’t survive efficiency that poor over such a high volume.
Overall, the Timberwolves have lost each of their past seven games, and things don’t figure to get any easier today vs. the Suns. Phoenix has somewhat quietly been one of the best teams in basketball this season, ranking fourth in the league in Net Rating. They also rank in the top seven in both offensive and defensive efficiency, so they should have no problem taking care of the lowly Timberwolves. The fact that Minnesota is on the second leg of a back-to-back doesn’t hurt either.
Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics (-6.5):
This could definitely be a square play, but it’s hard to ignore the difference in form between these two teams at the moment. The Wizards are surging – they’ve won seven of their past eight games, with the only loss coming to the Clippers – while the Celtics have lost six of their past nine.
Russell Westbrook’s improved play has been paramount to the Wizards’ recent success. He’s still struggling a bit from an efficiency perspective, but he’s shooting fewer 3-pointers. He’s gone from averaging 4.4 3-point attempts through his first 16 games to just 1.9 over his past eight. That has allowed him to focus more on what he does best — attacking the rim and racking up assists and rebounds.
There is a chance that Westbrook sits on the second leg of a back-to-back, but there is no indication that will happen at the moment. Westbrook suited up in the Wizards’ most recent back-to-back set for the first time since his final year with the Thunder. As long as he’s in the lineup, the Wizards should be able to hang with a reeling squad.
Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat (-6):
The Heat have turned things around after a slow start to the season. They’ve won nine of their past 12 games, including impressive wins recently over the Lakers and Jazz. That’s been good enough to propel them to the seventh-best record in the East, and the best record in the Southeast Division.
Now, they’re taking on a Hawks squad that could be without a host of important players. De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic remain sidelined with long-term injuries, and Cam Reddish has also been ruled out after initially being listed as doubtful. Those three players being out of the lineup has resulted in big minutes for guys like Tony Snell and Solomon Hill recently, which is simply not a good formula for winning games.
Trae Young is also questionable, and his absence would be a potential death blow for the Hawks. Their Net Rating has decreased by 10.0 points per 100 possessions with Young off the court this season, and their offense has absolutely plummeted in that situation. I like the idea of grabbing this number now since this spread will approach double-digits if Young is ultimately ruled out.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hawks PG Trae Young (adductor) will play tonight vs. the Heat.
The sharps also appear to love the Heat, with Miami garnering 91% of the betting dollars on just 58% of the bets.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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 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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