The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Monday’s NBA Slate
The NBA has decided to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a full day of basketball. The action got underway earlier today with the Knicks vs. the Magic, but another eight games are currently scheduled. That said, the game between the Pistons and Hawks is in jeopardy of being postponed. The NBA has already pushed back the start time until “at least” 8 p.m. ET while conducting contact tracing.
The main slate for DFS starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and features four games. The most intriguing contest involves the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, who are arguably the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Nets will still be without Kyrie Irving, but there will still be plenty of star power on display with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and James Harden all in action.
That said, there may be no bigger star in the NBA right now than Luka Doncic. He has been absolutely breathtaking recently, and his play deserves a more in-depth look.
Let’s dive in.
Doncic got off to a slow start this season, but he’s been absolutely rolling recently. He’s averaged 30.9 points, 12.7 assists, and 11.1 rebounds over his past 10 games, and he put up a ridiculous stat line in his last contest. He finished with 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 15 assists, and that kind of production in all three categories is something that only Luka is capable of. That was his 29th career triple-double, which officially pushed him past Michael Jordan in that category. Remember, Doncic is just 22 years old and playing in just his third season.
The Mavericks have unsurprisingly fared pretty well in those contests. They’ve lost their past two games – one was a squeaker vs. the Bucks and the other was a weird afternoon game vs. the Bulls – but they won each of the previous five.
The big difference for Doncic is that he’s returned to shooting the ball at a high volume. He vowed before the season to take less bad 3-pointers this year, and he kept his word early in the season. The problem was that Doncic passing up those shots didn’t lead to good offensive chances for the rest of his squad.
He has turned his 3-point shooting volume up recently – he’s averaged 9.0 3-pointers per game over his past seven contests – and the results have been excellent. He’s shot the ball well from the perimeter, making 36.5% of his 3-point attempts, and the Mavericks have averaged 108.3 points per 100 possessions over that time frame. That’s still nowhere near their record-setting mark from last season, but they have played a handful of those games without Josh Richardson, Kristaps Porzingis, and Jalen Brunson. They should improve offensively as they continue to get healthier.
If they can improve on that side of the ball, they have a chance to be legitimate contenders this season. Their defense was a major problem last year, but they have been much better in that department through their first 12 games this year. They rank third in Defensive Rating, allowing an average of just 106.79 points per 100 possessions.
Dallas is currently listed at +2200 to win the title on FanDuel Sportsbook, and there could be some value in grabbing that number. Even if you don’t think they can beat the Lakers, there could be a chance to hedge during the playoffs and potentially lock in a profit.
We’ve seen some notable line movement for tonight’s contests.
The largest line move involves the Bucks, who have moved from -1.5 to -3.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook. That likely has to do with Irving being ruled out, but the Bucks have also appeared to garner some sharp interest. They’ve received just 43% of the spread bets, but those bets have accounted for 82% of the dollars. That means the big-dollar bets – which tend to come from professional bettors – have landed on Milwaukee.
The Warriors are another team that has received some sharp support. They’ve moved from +10 to +8.5 vs. the Lakers after receiving 72% of the spread dollars in that contest. The Lakers have been the best team in basketball this season – they’ve outscored their opponents by an average of +10.95 points per 100 possessions – but this might be too many points to be giving Steph Curry and company.
BEST BETS FROM THE SPORTSGRID BETTING MODEL
Our betting model sees a significant edge in a few contests this evening, including the Phoenix Suns vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.