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NBA on TNT Tuesday Preview: Bulls/Nets and Wolves/Suns

DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls face a Nets team mired in controversy before Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves take a trip to the desert for a battle with Devin Booker and the Suns

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Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA on TNT returns tonight at 6 PM CT with quite the slate given today’s NBA news.

First, DeMar DeRozan leads the Chicago Bulls into the home of NBA controversy for a battle with Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, who mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday morning. Jacque Vaughn will coach them tonight at home, but it sounds like suspended Boston Celtics head coach (and former Nets assistant coach) Ime Udoka will be the Nets’ pick to replace Nash before long. Once that drama finishes unfolding in Brooklyn, the Minnesota Timberwolves will put their revamped roster to the test against a Western Conference power when they go toe-to-toe with Devin Booker the Phoenix Suns.

Here’s a look at the betting breakdown ahead of tonight’s matchups:

DraftKings Odds

(As of 4 PM CT on Tuesday)

You can bet your favorite spread, moneyline, total or game prop over with our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Brooklyn Nets v Chicago Bulls Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Bulls (+2 +105 ML) at Nets (-2, -125 ML) | Total: 232.5

Currently, Brooklyn -2 is receiving 58% of the overall betting handle (proportion of total money wagered), but 50% percent of the total bets placed according to VSiN.

This suggests the public is betting on the Bulls more than sharp, professional bettors are. Anytime you find a higher bet percentage higher than handle percentage, it’s a sign that sharps are fading the public. In this case, the public is fairly split on the game, but pros are favoring the Nets.

56% of the handle and 47% of the total wagers are on under 232.5, suggesting that the smart money is on under in this matchup. The Nets have really struggled defensively so far this season, as their defensive rating of 119.7 ranks 28th in the league, per Cleaning the Glass. Ben Simmons (knee) will miss his second straight game for Brooklyn, so it won’t get any easier for Jacque Vaughn’s team on that end. Conversely, Chicago is middling in both offense (21st) and defense (14th). The Bulls will be without Lonzo Ball (knee) and Andre Drummond (shoulder), while Zach LaVine (knee), Ayo Dosunmu (thoracic contusion) and Coby White (quad) are all questionable.

The Picks: Nets -2 | Over 232.5

It’s hard to fade the team in the “first game after firing its coach” spot, but the reason I’m going with Brooklyn is simply that they are healthier. Getting Joe Harris back is a big help to stretch out the defense and take some scoring pressure off of Durant and Kyrie Irving, and Nic Claxton played well functioning as the lone non-shooter in the lineup last night without Simmons.

Chicago hasn’t played its full team together much this season. Granted, they are coming off three days rest and Brooklyn is on the tail end of a back-to-back, it’s tough to play solid enough defense against a team boasting Durant and Irving without the required cohesion built through game reps.

Give me the Nets and the over.

Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Timberwolves (+3.5, +145 ML) at Suns (-3.5, -170 ML) | Total: 227

Surprisingly, Minnesota is getting just 3.5 points despite a horrible showing on the road against a depleted San Antonio Spurs squad who has now beat them twice in the team’s first seven games.

The Suns are receiving 64% of the handle on the spread, and 69% of the overall wagers, per VSiN. The public likes Phoenix, as do the sharps, but not quite as much. Both sides are also in agreement on the over in this matchup; over 227 is receiving 65% of the total money wagered and 64% of the total wagers.

Kyle Anderson (back spasms) and Jordan McLaughlin (right heel soreness) are both questionable for Minnesota, while Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain), Jae Crowder (not with team) and Ish Wainright (personal reasons) are out for Phoenix. Suns forward Torrey Craig (left heel soreness) is questionable.

The Picks: Minnesota +3.5 | Under 227

Despite the somewhat surprising line, I like the Wolves in this spot. Edwards is continually a player who takes losses personally and plays well in the following game; even if world-class stopper Mikal Bridges makes it tough for him offensively, expect Edwards to raise his level on defense going against Booker and Chris Paul. No Ayton is a major problem for a Phoenix team who will ask Jock Landale and Cameron Johnson to slow down Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. That’s a losing proposition.

Head coach Monty Williams will need his club to do its damage from the perimeter; while Phoenix hasn’t been terrible from deep (34.7%), it hasn’t been a reliable primary source of offense for a Suns squad that is feasting in the paint and in the mid-range to start the season.

With Jaden McDaniels and Edwards on Booker and Paul, I like the under here, as well.

Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Prop Report

While not the most popular angle for basketball bettors to take, I find it much easier to find an advantage against sportsbooks when researching player props. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one pick for each game that stands out. You can view DraftKings Sportsbook’s player props for each game here.

Bulls at Nets

The Pick: Nic Claxton to have a double-double (+160)

Claxton played 31 minutes last night for the Nets in Simmons’ absence and delivered a fantastic performance of 19 points and nine rebounds. Irving consistently sought him out in the paint late in the game going against slower defenders in Myles Turner and James Johnson. He’ll face Nikola Vučević tonight, who is even slower than both Turner and Johnson. I expect Claxton to be used quite a bit as a screener, opening opportunities for him to score on the roll, and get active on the glass against a Bulls team whose opponents average 34.6 defensive rebounds per game, 23rd in the league. Claxton leads the Nets on both backboards among key rotation players (13.0% OREB% | 16.8 DREB%), so look for him to make an impact there.

Timberwolves at Suns

The Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns over 4.5 assists (+110)

Simply put, Towns has been the team’s most impactful passer this season. The three-time All-Star is averaging 5.6 assists per contest in the Wolves’ last five games, a career-high mark, and it’s no surprise. Outside of the Spurs game on Sunday night, every team he has faced double-teamed on the catch in the post. I expect a much smaller Suns team to do that again tonight, opening up both big-to-big passing and cross-court skips to shooters such as Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, McDaniels and Taurean Prince.

The big man cleared 4.5 assists in five of his team’s first seven games; that 71% trend should continue tonight if Phoenix stays true to how it has defended Towns in the past.


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