Saturday’s main slate is massive and features 10 games. The action gets underway at 7 p.m. ET and the final game tips off at 9 p.m. ET. Let’s survey the slate and pick the best bets for Saturday night.
Suns -16 (-110)
No line can be too big when the best team in the NBA welcomes the worst team in the NBA. This line screams stay away or take the Magic, and plenty of bettors will gladly take the Magic and the practically two touchdowns and a field goal. However, when this line drops later in the day, that will be the time to pounce.
The Magic received a favorable line because they’ve won several games and covered a few spreads recently. For the better part of the season, they’ve been throwing up red Ls on the stat sheet. Don’t fool yourself. Nothing has changed. The Magic beat the Pistons, and that was an ice cold Pistons team that shot 37 percent from the field. They surprised the Mavs, but the Mavs were short-handed playing on the road on the second leg of a back-to-back. Their other two wins came against the Pacers (without most of their starters) and the train wreck that is the Portland Trail Blazers. Nothing has changed.
Speaking of nothing changing, nothing has changed for the Suns. They’re still as hot as the Sun. Phoenix has won 14 of the last 15 games. Over that span, their offense ranks first (119.6), their defense ranks ninth (109.2) and their Net Rating (+10.5) trails only the red hot Boston Celtics. The Suns’ record against the spread at home is not great. They’ve covered four of the last 10 (three of the last four), but heavy is the crown. Phoenix is often saddled with large point spreads at home because they’re the best team in the NBA. It’s difficult to cover double-digit spreads against average teams (not to mention teams with strong ATS records like the Grizzlies and Thunder), but it’s not hard to cover against bad teams. It’s not hard to cover against a bad team that is on the second night of a road back-to-back and playing their third road game on a four game western swing over the course of seven days.
Grizzlies -7.5 (-110)
The Hornets have a top-10 ATS record (32-25), but the Grizzlies have the No. 1 record against the spread overall (38-19) and on the road (20-8). Over their last 21 road contests — dating back to Thanksgiving — the Grizzlies are 17-4 ATS. Over their last 23 games home or away, the Grizzlies are 19-6 against the spread. Betting the Grizzlies this season, has been profitable. Why change now?
Still not sold? How about this trend — the Hornets has not covered the spread at home in seven straight (eight of nine). They’re not covering at home and they’re not winning at home. The Hornets have lost their last five home games and seven of nine. On the five-game skid, they have the second-worst offensive efficiency rating in the NBA (97.6) and the third-worst Net Rating (-13.6). Over the last nine games, the numbers are just as bad. With Charlotte’s offense stalled out, it will be very difficult to keep pace with the Grizzlies’ seventh-ranked offense.
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Thunder +13 (-110)
The Thunder are not a good team, but it’s hard to classify them as a bad team. Sure, their record seems to indicate that they are a bad team (17-38). However, this team just keeps covering spreads (33-19-3). The Thunder have the third-best ATS cover percentage in the NBA. The Sportsbook cannot get these guys right. The Thunder can’t get right either, but they play hard every night and routinely exceed expectations. On the road, where they have been an underdog in every contest this season, they are 18-10 against the spread (second-best). The Thunder were 14-point road dogs on Friday night and they got whooped, trailing by double digits the entire second half, but they managed to lose by 13. As an underdog of 4.5 points or more, they have lost 14 of their last 18 games. However, they are 11-6-1 ATS in those games.
Chicago has also been a profitable team for bettors. They have the fifth-best ATS cover percentage. They rank No. 1 in home ATS (19-9) and No. 2 as home favorites ATS (15-6). Much of the Bulls’ success at home has been predicated by their offense. At home, Chicago has the best offensive efficiency rating in the NBA (116.5). However, in the seven games since Oklahoma City lost Shai-Gilgeous Alexander to injury, the Thunder are 3-4 and their defense ranks No. 3 in the NBA over that span. The Thunder aren’t going to stop the Bulls because of a seven-game turnaround, but they are capable of slowing down the Bulls. They’re also capable of keeping pace when teams overlook them. Ultimately, the Thunder still lose, but their record against the spread infers that teams take it easy against the Thunder and cruise to victory but fail to cover.
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