The NFL is obviously going to draw the majority of the attention on today’s slate, but there are five NBA games to choose from as well. The action gets underway at 1 p.m. ET, and it wraps up with the Kings vs. the Clippers at 3 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite wagers on DraftKings Sportsbook for Sunday’s NBA slate.
Boston Celtics @ Phoenix Suns (-3):
The Celtics are a team that could make a run in the near future, but they’re dealing with a couple of key injuries at the moment. Jaylen Brown will miss his second straight game with a knee injury, while Marcus Smart remains out with a calf injury. Payton Pritchard was also limited to just 19 minutes in his first game back from his own knee injury, so the team is pretty thin in the backcourt at the moment.
That’s not ideal against the Suns, who have one of the best starting backcourts in the league. Chris Paul has turned things around after a quiet start, while Devin Booker is one of the best young scorers in basketball. They own the fourth-best record in a tough Western Conference, and they rank eighth in the league in Net Rating.
The Suns appear to be getting a bit of sharp betting action early. They’ve received just 34% of the spread bets, but those bets have accounted for 63% of the betting dollars.
Washington Wizards (-1.5) @ Charlotte Hornets:
Backing the Wizards as road favorites doesn’t make a ton of sense in most situations, but I think it’s the right move today. The Wizards have been a disaster for most of the year, but they should play a bit better moving forward now that they’re back at full strength. They were relying on an interesting cast of characters while dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak – particularly in their frontcourt – so they should be more competitive with Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Deni Avdija back in the lineup.
The Hornets are going to be without Devonte’ Graham today, who has quietly had a major impact on the team this season. They’ve increased their Net Rating by 23.9 points per 100 possessions with Graham on the court this season, which puts him in the 100th percentile for qualified NBA players (per Cleaning the Glass). He also leads the team with 772 minutes played, so his absence is going to be felt.
Kawhi Leonard points+rebounds+assists over Ronald Jones rushing yards (-112)
Let’s incorporate the Super Bowl into our final pick and go with a cross-sport special.
Leonard should be looking at an expanded workload today for the Clippers. Paul George is out of the lineup, which gives Leonard the opportunity to increase his production in every category across the board. Not only has he increased his usage rate by 3.0% with George off the court this season, but he’s also increased his assist rate (+1.5%) and rebound rate (+1.1%). He dominated with George out of the lineup in his last game, finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and five assists vs. the Celtics.
That gives us a little bit of wiggle room against Jones, who operated as the clear No. 2 RB behind Leonard Fournette during the NFC Championship game vs. the Packers. He finished with 10 carries in that contest, but he was on the field for just 18 snaps. His rushing prop for the Super Bowl is set at 37.5, and I think he’ll need to go over that to have a chance to hang with Kawhi.
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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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