The Most Important Matchups and Best Bets for Tuesday’s NBA Slate
The NBA regular season is in full swing, and we’ve got another 10-game slate on Tuesday. The Magic and Cavaliers are both back in action, and both will look to continue their hot starts to the year. Both teams currently sit at 3-0, and they are easily the most surprising undefeated teams left to start the season.
We also have a fun matchup lined up between the Bulls and the Wizards. Both of these teams have played extremely fast to start the season, and both teams also struggle on the defensive end of the court. The result is a total of 237.0 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Let’s dive into the Cavs, Magic, Wizards, and some of the other key matchups on today’s slate.
The Cavs have played an easy schedule to start the season, so let’s hold off on penciling them in for a playoff spot just yet. Still, I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen from this team to start the year.
They are powered by their backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, who were the Cavs’ lottery picks in the 2018 and 2019 drafts. They have been elite offensively to start the year, averaging a combined 46.0 points, 12.0 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game. Overall, this backcourt has powered the Cavs to the ninth-best offensive rating and second-best defensive rating in the league to start the year.
Can the Cavs keep up this production? That remains to be seen, but at least the Cavaliers have something to be hopeful about moving forward. The combination of Sexton and Garland could blossom into one of the best backcourts in basketball over the next few seasons.
The Magic have also played a soft schedule to start the year, but they have reaped the benefits of what could go down as one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory. They decided to take a chance on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft in Markelle Fultz, and all it cost to acquire him was Jonathon Simmons and two second-round picks. Fultz was dealing with some major shooting issues at the time, but that’s still a very minimal price tag for a player with so much potential.
Fultz has rewarded the Magic to begin the 2020-21 season, averaging 20.7 points through his first three games. He still has a long way to go with his shooting – he’s shot just 25.0% from 3-point range to start the year – but it looks like the Magic have acquired their point guard of the future.
The Wizards and Bulls have not been nearly as successful to start the season, but they should combine for one of the most fun games on Tuesday’s slate. Both teams have played extremely fast this year – the Bulls rank second in pace while the Wizards rank third – and the result is a total of 237.0 points.
Big totals like this have become more common recently, and it’s easy to see why. Most teams are playing nearly every year, and teams are also becoming much more analytically driven. That means offense is on the rise across the league.
So in situations like this, has it been profitable to take the over? Believe it or not, the answer is no. There have been 170 games with a total of at least 235 points since the start of the 2018 season, and the over in those contests has gone just 74-94-2 against the spread. That includes an 0-2 start this season.
That’s just a reminder that even if teams are playing fast, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they will be able to put points on the board.
We’ve seen some notable line movements on Tuesday, which is not surprising for a 10-game slate.
The biggest move involves the Clippers, who have moved from -6.5 to -10.5. They’re taking on the Timberwolves, and star center Karl-Anthony Towns has been ruled out for the second straight game. The Wolves were dismantled by the Lakers without Towns in their last game, losing by a final margin of 36 points.
It also appears as though the sharps are on the Knicks vs. the Cavaliers. They’ve moved from +4.5 to +3.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook even though they’ve received just 13% of the spread bets. Whenever the line moves in the opposite direction of the bets – aka a reverse line move – it is typically a strong indicator of professional betting activity.
Best Bets from the SportsGrid Betting Model