This article is part of our NBA Picks series.
Welcome back to another issue of Best Bets. It's not often we get to see a Tuesday edition of the column, but a nine-game slate is too large to ignore. For those wondering, we'll have three separate iterations of the column this week. Hoping to turn my Packers depression into something more useful. And no, I will not be betting on Josh Giddey ever again.
I don't think the possible absence of Jeff Green (quadriceps) really makes that significant of a difference, but the more bodies the Nuggets miss, the more playing time Will Barton and other starters should receive. I think that gives over 13.5 points (-125) a fair shot at hitting, especially given the Pistons' struggles at defending opposing shooting guards.
Garrett Temple over 11.5 points (-125) falls into arguably one of my most important rules – target players who will attempt as many shots as their over total. Given the Pelicans will be missing four of their five typical starters it's entirely possible this game just gets completely out of hand. But New Orleans has just eight healthy bodies which should still afford Temple enough minutes for this over to hit.
The Wizards simply don't allow opposing shooting guards to really attempt shots so naturally under 8.5 points for Amir Coffey is intriguing. I'll admit, this is isn't exactly a great bet given the third-year guard is averaging 11.1 points per game since Paul George sprained his elbow, but he's gone over Tuesday's total just nine times in that 17-game stretch. I'm not even entirely convinced he's the guaranteed starter after Luke Kennard caught a bit of a hot hand Sunday against the Knicks, but either way, this bet is far more focused on the Wizards' defense as opposed to Kennard.
Sticking in the same game, Bradley Beal over 23.5 points (+100) is interesting. The Clippers actually are exceptionally good at defending opposing shooting guards, ranking in the top 10 in terms of points allowed, but they surprisingly allow the most shots to the position. There are two ways to look at this: the Clippers' defense just might be exceptionally good at defending at backcourt combos, or they've benefited from lesser scoring talents taking shots. I'm willing to bet it's the latter, especially considering Los Angeles can't handle score-first point guards. Beal is averaging 26.1 points since early December and still has been shooting woefully from three compared to his career averages.
Sometimes DraftKings picks some interesting games to dive really deep into prop bets. Spurs vs. Rockets is a perfect example. For whatever reason, there's a prop bet available for Josh Christopher, the 24th selection overall this year who is averaging 16 minutes across 39 games this season. Normally the guard tends to get his most run in blowouts, but this game only has the Spurs favored by 5.5 points. I'll take under 6.5 points for Christopher (-120) with the assumption this game is relatively close.
Everyone knows the Rockets struggle at defending point guards, but the Spurs actually allow the most points to the aforementioned position. Dejounte Murray's over has been priced to the moon, but Kevin Porter actually seems relatively reasonable at 14.5 points ( over -120) considering he averages 13.1 points this season. You're obviously hoping for this game to remain competitive in order for the over to hit, but I'm weirdly not worried about that in this cross-state battle.
While Anthony Davis (knee) is expected to make his long-awaited return, it sure doesn't seem like he'll play many minutes. That's important because Russell Westbrook posted a triple-double in essentially the same scenario that figures to occur Tuesday between the Lakers and Nets. Over 7.5 rebounds (-140) against a Nets team that allows the most rebounds to opposing point guards sure seems reasonable, especially given Westbrook's uh...nature of play.
- Derrick White under 1.5 steals (-185)
- Nuggets (at DET) and 76ers (against NO) both to win (-195)