Top Game to Bet: Celtics (-8) at Knicks
It doesn't seem like there's an end in sight for this Knicks losing streak, but there are plenty of winnable games after this matchup with the Celtics. Upcoming dates against Orlando, Golden State, and Sacramento all present winnable games to end the five-game losing streak New York takes into Boston.
Boston is riding a five-game winning streak that saw three games postponed and nearly a week off in between their Friday victory. Boston beat Orlando handily, 124-97 behind Jaylen Brown's 21 points and eight assists. Kemba Walker's (left knee) listed as questionable for this matchup, so I'm expecting the line to move according to his availability while Jayson Tatum (COVID protocol) remains out.
The Celtics have three wins of nine or more points during this winning streak. However, they've all come against teams with a losing record. I'm not calling Boston a fake but tread lightly with the -7.5 spread as New York lost their last two games by three and nine points following three consecutive double-digit losses.
A Celtics win looks very likely as most models project a win 80-90% of the time. Boston has covered the spread in four straight games, and the Knicks haven't covered once in their last five.
During this Knicks' skid, they've failed to score 110 points in all five and 103 or fewer in four-of-five. The Celtics have held three straight opponents to 107 points or less. They've also done that in five of the last seven games overall. As stated, Boston had a week off before that Friday matchup with Orlando and only had one day off in between for this game. The Under is 5-2 in the Celtics last seven games on one day of rest.
The Knicks scored 104, 102, and 95 in three meetings with Boston last season, losing two of the three by nine or more. The year prior to that? New York scored 109, 101, and 100 points. The Under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings between the two making the Knicks Team Total a strong look.
The Knicks average 94.6 points in their eight losses compared to 111.2 points per game in their wins. That win average is a little inflated thanks to a 130-point effort versus Milwaukee. Excluding that performance, the average is 106.5 points per game in wins.
The Knicks Team Total opened at 102.5, and what I'm going to do is wait for Kemba Walker's news to get this at a higher number. If Walker is playing, the spread will likely grow, and so will the Over/Under total. If that happens, the Knicks Team Total will grow higher.
The Game Under is 212.5, and that's a pretty decent number, but I would've preferred 214.5-215 for this matchup. That's what we could get with Walker suited up. In a perfect world, the Knicks Team Total will reach 104.5 or 105.5, but I would play this down to the original 102.5 for 1 unit if Walker is out.
Trends to Note
The Knicks are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.
The Knicks are 0-4 ATS in their last four games playing on one day's rest.
The Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a home favorite.
The Under is 5-1 in Knicks last six road games.
The Under is 15-7 in the last 22 encounters in Boston.
Bets Locked In: Knicks Team Total Under (1u) - wait for Kemba Walker's news for better value than 102.5
Top Team to Fade: Los Angeles Clippers
This is surprising, I know! I could have easily gone with the Knicks in this spot, but I like the Clippers for a fading tonight. The Clippers are fresh off a 38-point win over the Kings, and I'm always wary of betting on a team that's coming off a victory that large.
This is how the Clippers have performed in the last 10 games following a win by 20 or more points:
Lost 106-100 at Utah (2021)
Won 128-103 vs. Portland (2020)
Lost 117-115 vs. Suns (2019)
Lost 103-101 vs. Lakers (2019)
Won 136-130 vs 76ers (2019)
Won 102-92 vs. Suns (2019)
Lost 110-103 at 76ers (2019)
Won 133-130 at Pelicans (2019)
Won 128-103 vs. Cavs (2019)
Lost 118-112 at Thunder (2019)
They've gone 5-5 SU in the last 10 games, following a 20-point win or more. In 2019-20, the Clippers had 13 games of wins by 20 or more points, and in the next game, they went 8-5 SU. When they've won by 30 or more, the Clippers are 2-2 in their next four contests SU dating back to 2018-19. To the -6 spread, they've gone 6-6-1 in those following 13 games.
Indiana comes into this matchup with a strong track record when visiting Los Angeles. The Pacers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven in L.A. and 10-4 in the previous 14 meetings overall. It may seem simple betting on the Clippers based on the fact they beat the Kings by 38, and the Pacers lost to the Kings by five, but the spread only being -6 screams trap.
Indiana has won two straight and four of the last six. Indiana's four losses this season have all come by eight or fewer points and five in their lone road loss (Sacramento). The Clippers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games as a home favorite and 3-8 in the previous 11 playing one day of rest.
Indiana is 4-1 ATS and SU on the road this season, winning by double-digits in three. I favor Indiana's size versus Los Angeles, and even though they'll be without newly acquired Caris LeVert, I still like the Pacers getting a few possessions.
Trends to Note
Pacers are 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings.
Pacers are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in Los Angeles.
Pacers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog.
Pacers are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
Clippers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games.
Clippers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games playing on one day's rest.
Clippers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Bets Locked In: Pacers +6 (1u)
Sunday Betting Notes
Bulls at Mavericks: Over 227
Despite being on a four-game losing streak and a 2-5 mark in the last seven overall, Chicago was covering the spread game after game. After five-straight covers, they became a favorite by tip against Oklahoma City but lost in O.T. Technically, that streak ended even though they opened as +1 or +2 underdogs, covering for some and leaving others upset.
Headed into Dallas, Chicago is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five trips, while the Over has been a popular trend at 3-1-1 during that stretch. The Mavericks have won this matchup with the Bulls in three of their last four meetings, including a 1-1 split series last season.
Dallas were winners of four-straight before their three-point loss to Milwaukee. Sunday is a favorable spot for Dallas to get back in the winning column as Chicago keeps finding new ways to lose games.
Chicago is playing so well offensively right now with four-straight Overs, and the Mavericks played four-straight defensive squads with the Under hitting in four of the last five. I like Dallas to let loose in this game a little bit, and Chicago can keep up, averaging 122.7 points per game during this four-game losing streak.
76ers at Thunder: Thunder +3
The 76ers played their first game without Joel Embiid, and it was a perfect time to fade them last night. The public beat Memphis down from +3 to -1.5 by tip, and the Grizzlies came through in a sweaty two-point win.
Philadelphia coming off a loss is appealing, but in reality, they are 2-4 on the road and don't fare well in Oklahoma City. When they play in OKC, they are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings and 1-6 in the last seven overall. Shake Milton (28 PTS) and Tobias Harris (21 PTS) led the way for Philly, and they'll face Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who had 33 points and 10 assists in his last game.
Oklahoma City has five-straight road games on a West Coast trip following this home game, so I expect another close road game for the 76ers. This is probably the most 50/50 matchup on the short-slate. In my opinion, it's a leave it alone game in terms of the total or spread. Player prop matchups are probably a better look with Dwight Howard, Al Horford (revenge game), Tyrese Maxey, and a few others getting extended minutes due to injuries or COVID.
Jazz at Nuggets: Nuggets -1
Is this a preview of a 2021 Western Conference First Round or Semifinals matchup? It could very likely be, and tonight should be a competitive matchup in Denver. Utah is 6-2 on the road this season, winning their last three away from Utah. Denver has won three of their previous four games and has had Utah's number at home ATS.
Utah is 0-3-1 ATS in their last four meetings and, on a larger scale, 2-9-1 ATS in the previous dozen. This spread opened as -1 in favor of Denver, basically, a pick 'em game.
Utah has played three-straight Unders, holding all three opponents to 92 or fewer points. Denver has scored at least 114 points in seven-straight games, and the Over has hit in six of the last eight meetings between the two even though the scores have been primarily low.
Denver's defense isn't nearly as productive as year's pasts, allowing 112.8 points this year compared to 109.2 last season and 106.7 in 2018-19. If you think Utah can win this game or want an alternative play, their Team Total of 109.5 looks pretty appealing as they've done that in three of the last four. Utah has scored 110 or more in seven-of-12 games this season.
Pelicans at Kings: Over 229
This one smells like an Over. Both squads would much rather shoot than play defense, and in the last seven meetings, the Over has gone 6-1.
New Orleans has struggled to score in four of their last five games, all losses, failing to surpass 110 points in four-of-five. Sacramento has lost four of their last five and scored 120 or more in three and 100 or fewer in the other two. Both squads can be confusing to bet on, and with the Pelicans as -1.5-point favorites, the Over is a decent look.
The Over has gone 4-1 in the last five in Sacramento, and in the previous seven meetings overall, it's 6-1. Both teams are currently on runs of 5-1 (Pelicans) and 6-1 (Kings) to the Over. They met three times last season and saw the Over surpass this 229 total twice and go 2-1-1 in 2018-19.