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It’s an NBA Monday, and that means we have a huge slate and some fantastic matchups that are tough to call. With that, I’m still seeing some value in a couple of these lines. Let’s get into best bets.
New York Knicks (+1) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (-1)
I already had the Knicks locked in prior to this news that Joel Embiid would miss Monday’s game, so I have to remain consistent now that Philly’s best offensive weapon is missing.
Since the start of last season, the Sixers are 46-14 with Embiid in the lineup and 11-11 without him, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info, and should be an incredibly weak unit trying to score the basketball. The Knicks have really struggled on defense this season with the fourth-worst efficiency rating on that end of the floor, but they’ve been particularly bad defending inside. With Taj Gibson at least fully healthy, and now no Embiid, Philly should not be able to exploit New York on that end.
On the other side of the coin, the Sixers are without Matisse Thybulle and Tobias Harris, making this a very difficult ask on the wings. RJ Barrett should enjoy another great game, as should Evan Fournier, without any threat of Thybulle (and potentially Danny Green, who is questionable) making stops.
I love this spot just a little too much for the Knicks.
Edge: Knicks ML (-110)
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Charlotte Hornets (+105) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-125)
Why are the Lakers favored in this game? Los Angeles is a very bad basketball team without LeBron James, and should only really be expected to beat the worst teams in the NBA with James out of the lineup.
While the Hornets have a putrid defensive rating in the early going, most of their issues have come inside, where they have been gashed by scoring bigs and tormented on the glass. Anthony Davis has shown no ability to take advantage of these matchups at the five, and seems far more comfortable over at the four.
Until he’s able to get some help, it’s hard to trust Davis to singlehandedly take advantage in a spot like this. Russell Westbrook seems to be taking the ball out of his hands anyway.
Without Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza, this offense has simply been flat, even when James was healthy. As long as the Hornets’ defense holds up, which it should, this offense should continue motoring right along through a Lakers defense which looks nothing like the elite unit we saw last year.
Edge: Hornets +105
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