NBA best bets and analysis for Monday, November 20th
Record: 20-12 | Units: +7.21u | ROI: 20.93%
There are few teams playing better basketball than the New York Knicks. They are 6-2 SU/7-1 ATS in their last eight games. Over that span New York has outscored opponents by 8.2 points per 100 possessions and it has covered by 6.9 points per game. It would seem foolish to try and jump in front of this train, but that is exactly what I plan to do tonight with Minnesota.
Six of the Knicks’ eight opponents during this run rank 20th or worse in non-garbage time defensive efficiency, and three of them – Charlotte, Washington and San Antonio – rank 27th or worse. They also played the Hornets twice. New York faced Boston during this run and was limited to 1.153 points per possession in a 114-98 loss. Minnesota has similar defensive prowess, and they have the size to combat one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA.
The situation benefits the Timberwolves as well. Minnesota is back home after a five-game road trip while New York is playing its third game in four nights, and it is on the final game of a five-game trip itself. This number also provides some value. Homecourt has been worth about three points – although there is evidence it is declining – and I do not believe these two teams are near equals from a power rating perspective.
Play: Timberwolves (-3) – Playable to (-4)
LaMelo Ball has been on an absolute tear over his last seven games. In this stretch he has averaged 31.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 8.1 assists on 49.4% shooting from the floor and 44.8% shooting from beyond the arc. No team has had an answer for him, and at the window bettors are cashing in, as he is 6-1 to the Over on his points props. However, he has not faced a team that has the backcourt defenders like Boston does, and that could lead to this run coming to an end.
The Celtics have limited opponents to a league-best 106.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time this season. Their backcourt pairing of Jrue Holiday and Derrick White has a +16.3 net rating, and they have limited opponents to 104.9 points per 100 possessions. Boston’s most used lineup with those two on the floor has a 96.2 defensive rating. The Celtics have multiple defenders to throw at Ball in this game tonight, and bettors are looking at a market high on his props. I’ll take my chances with the best defensive backcourt in basketball, and bet Under on Ball’s points, rebounds and assists in this matchup.
Play: LaMelo Ball UNDER 40.5 PTS+REB+AST (-105) – Playable to (-120)
The theme today seems to be taking on hot streaks, and this game is no different. Sacramento is 6-0 SU/5-1 ATS in its last six games, and since De’Aaron Fox returned from injury the team has outscored opponents by 10.1 points per 100 possessions. The Kings are 6-1 SU and ATS with Fox on the floor this season, but we’re banking on them taking another loss tonight in New Orleans.
The Pelicans have bounced back from an 0-5 SU and ATS slide. They are 2-1 SU/3-0 ATS in their last three games, and their offense has suddenly found some life, as they have averaged 120.4 points per 100 possessions over this small run. One of those games was against Minnesota, the second-best non-garbage time defensive team in the NBA. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are both healthy, and the Kings lack defensive pieces to match either player, but specifically Williamson. Jose Alvarado seems set to make his debut tonight as well, which will only help New Orleans’ bench, even if it is in a limited role.
Sacramento is playing great basketball, but it is on the second leg of a back-to-back and playing a third game in four nights after a competitive game in Dallas on Sunday. New Orleans is rounding into form, and getting healthier. I’ll take my chances with the home underdog here.
Play: Pelicans ML (+100) – Playable to (-120)
LaMelo Ball UNDER 40.5 PTS+REB+AST (-105)
Pelicans ML (+100)