Another day, another exciting slate of NBA basketball. There are 5 intriguing contests on this NBA Monday card, headlined by LeBron leading the Lakers into Miami, where he is likely to receive a frosty reception. Damian Lillard and the Blazers will be looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses as they head to Washington, whilst Golden State will look to put things right as they travel to San Antonio. Let’s take a look at our 3 best bets and favourite daily multi opportunity on the board today.
The Jimmy Butler trade has allowed the Timberwolves to break their shackles, enjoying 3 straight home wins against solid opposition. Center Karl Anthony Towns has been going HAM of late, enjoying averages of 20 points, 12 boards and 2 blocks on the campaign. The often-maligned Andrew Wiggins also seems to be finding form, putting up an impressive 23 points against Portland on Saturday. Led by Jeff Teague and a resurgent Derrick Rose, the Wolves are now getting solid Point Guard play for 48 minutes a night. Memphis are never an easy out, but this does represent a good chance for the Timberwolves to extend their win streak.
The Grizzlies enter this one with a very impressive 9-5 record after Saturday’s win against Sacramento. Rookie big man Jaren Jackson Jnr was excellent, leading the team with 27 points and 6 boards. Center Marc Gasol added to this interior dominance, registering 19 points and 15 rebounds of his own. Point Guard Mike Conley has continued his impressive start to the campaign, whilst veteran swingmen Garrett Temple and Kyle Anderson round out the starting lineup nicely. The improved play from their bench so far has made the Grizz a playoff contender out west.
Prediction: Timberwolves 1-10
With a 7-1 home record to start the season, the Timberwolves have shown that they’re hard to beat in Minnesota. The team is firing on all cylinders and I expect yet another home win here. Against a rugged Memphis side, I expect it to be a close one, making the Timberwolves 1-10 play strong value.
The Wizards continued their disappointing 5-10 start to the campaign with a poor home loss to the Nets on Saturday. This was despite an excellent performance from Center Dwight Howard, who put up 25 points and 17 rebounds in this one. Bradley Beal added 20 points and 6 boards, whilst Point Guard John Wall had 16 points and 7 assists. Despite an easy schedule of late, the Wizards have largely struggled to find a rhythm this season. Beating an upstart 10-5 Portland side at home is definitely a tough ask for this group at the moment.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers travel to Washington at 10-5 after consecutive disappointing losses to the Lakers and Timberwolves. Despite his strong start to the campaign, Point Guard Damian Lillard struggled mightily against the Timberwolves, going only 5/18 from the field. Big man Jusuf Nurkic has really impressed of late, enjoying 3 straight double-doubles. Shooting Guard C.J. McCollum is also quietly having another solid year, putting up 20 points a night. Injuries to both Seth Curry and Maurice Harkless have somewhat limited a bench that has been very effective to start the campaign.
Prediction: Under 224.5 points
With how these teams have played recently, I believe this line is a bit too inflated here. Both Portland and Washington are very much struggling to create offence when their starting guards aren’t on the floor. Portland’s games have definitely trended to the under in recent weeks and it’s a trend I’m comfortable continuing here.
The Heat enter this one at a somewhat disappointing 6-9 after losing 4 of their last 5 games. Josh Richardson has emerged as a strong offensive piece this season, enjoying 28 points against Indiana last time out. Center Hassan Whiteside got over the tragic stealing of his gun, adding in 12 points and 17 boards of his own. Point Guard Goran Dragic is still finding his feet after returning from injury and this Miami side has definitely missed his creation. It’s always an emotional affair when LeBron returns to town and you’d expect the Heat crowd to be well up for this one.
Los Angeles Lakers
No rest for the Lakers as they travel straight to Miami after last night’s tilt in Orlando. Prior to this East Coast swing, they’d won an impressive 4 straight games and established themselves in the Western Conference playoff picture. LeBron James is starting to take full control of this team, evidenced by his impressive 44 points, 10 boards and 9 assists against Portland on Thursday. With JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler both impressing of late, the Lakers are regularly getting 48 quality minutes from the Center spot now. Point Guard Lonzo Ball will need to step up here in the absence of the injured Rajon Rondo.
Prediction: Under 228.5 points
This is my best bet of the day. The Heat are struggling for creation now and I can see them struggling against LA’s improving defence. Off of a back-to-back, I also expect the Lakers to play at a slower pace here. I ultimately expect the total for this one to finish in the 215-220-point range.
Only two teams in today’s daily multi but it still gets us an attractive price point. As touched on earlier, I expect Minnesota’s talent to prove too much for Memphis as they move to 8-1 at home. Against one of the worst teams in the NBA, I also expect Orlando’s frontcourt to be too strong for the Knicks as they cruise to a home win. At $2.07, this is strong enough value for a play.