The NBA on TNT returns tonight at 6:30 PM CT with a big-time Western Conference battle before east coast meets west coast in the 9 PM CT nightcap.
First up, Ja Morant leads his scrappy Memphis Grizzlies squad into The Big Easy for a matchup the New Orleans Pelicans. Then, Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets will look to contain star guard De’Aaron Fox and send the 6-6 Sacramento Kings back below .500.
Here’s a look at the betting breakdown ahead of tonight’s matchups:
(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.
Grizzlies (+3.5 +135 ML) at Pelicans (-3.5, -155 ML) | Total: 229
Currently, New Orleans -3.5 is receiving 64% of the overall betting handle (proportion of total money wagered), but 49% percent of the total bets placed according to VSiN. Expect that to change with the news that Zion Williamson is out with a right foot contusion.
This suggests the public is betting on the Grizzlies 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 Pelicans.
59% of the handle and 62% of the total wagers are on over 229, suggesting that the smart money is on under in this matchup.
After struggling to find their footing in the beginning of the season without defensive stud rim protector Jaren Jackson Jr. (meniscus tear), Memphis has really turned their defense up a notch in the last two weeks. Head Coach Taylor Jenkins’ squad is fifth in defensive rating (108.6) and eighth in net rating (+3.5) over its last 10 games, per NBA Stats. And tonight, they’ll be calling in reinforcements, as Jackson Jr. is set to make his season debut after recovering from offseason surgery.
Memphis isn’t the only team getting healthier, though. New Orleans has been without Williamson, rising star Herb Jones and talented scorer Brandon Ingram for multiple games this season. Jones and Ingram are expected to play tonight in front of a raucous crowd that is sure to create a playoff-like atmosphere for the entire country to enjoy.
The Picks: Pelicans -3.5 | Under 229
Despite having two of the most incredible fast-break spectacles in the history of basketball suiting up tonight, I love the under in this one. Memphis is a patient half-court team that is winning games with its defense and isn’t going to play at break neck speeds — even with Morant behind the wheel. They may try to increase their pace without Desmond Bane, who the team announced will miss 2-3 weeks with a Grade 2 sprain of his right big toe, but that may be a tall task when you factor in Jackson Jr.’s return and his conditioning. Given that the Grizzlies will be without their best floor spacer, experience some expected clunkiness offensively that can come with re-integrating Jackson Jr., points will be tough to come by. Factor that projected offensive struggle in with no one to guard Brandon Ingram and a less-than-100% Morant having to guard CJ McCollum, and you get a good buy-low spot on the Pels at -3.5, even without Williamson, who New Orleans is used to playing without by now.
Nets (+1.5, +100 ML) at Kings (-1.5, -120 ML) | Total: 226.5
Brooklyn is down to +1.5 after this line opened at Sacramento -2, due to Simmons, Nic Claxton and Seth Curry all being active for tonight’s contest.
The Kings are receiving 66% of the handle on the spread and 42% of the overall wagers, per VSiN. The public likes Brooklyn, while the sharps are buying high on Sacramento. Both sides are in agreement, however, on the over in this matchup; over 226.5 is receiving 80% of the total money wagered and 68% of the total wagers, with money continuing to come in heavily on the over ahead of the 9 PM CT tip.
Kyrie Irving (suspension) and TJ Warren (left foot injury recovery) are both out for the Nets, while the Kings have a clean status report among rotation players.
The Picks: Brooklyn ML | Over 226.5
Both teams enter play tonight on a bit of a resurgent streak. Brooklyn is coming in winners of four of its last six, all coming without Irving; Sacramento is 6-2 over its previous eight games, including wins over key 2021-22 playoff teams: the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
I like the Nets in this spot given how successful they’ve been defensively without Irving and that they’re getting key offensive cogs in Simmons and Curry back in the lineup against a team that is among the most high octane offenses in the NBA to this point. Simmons’ defensive versatility allows for Head Coach Jacque Vaughn to comfortably ask Simmons to guard either Fox or Domantas Sabonis, a luxury few coaches enjoy.
Positionally, it’s a tough spot for Sacramento. One of Harrison Barnes or Sabonis will have to guard Durant, a clear win for Brooklyn, while Keegan Murray may be tasked with sliding his feet with Simmons, another positive for the Nets. If Simmons guards Fox, and either Durant or Claxton can effectively slow down Sabonis, the Nets could open up a sizable lead; between Malik Monk, Kevin Huerter, Murray, and even Fox himself this year, Sacramento has the long-range shooting to turn it into a shootout.
Give me the Nets and the over.
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.
Grizzlies at Pelicans
The Pick: CJ McCollum over 4.5 rebounds (-130)
McCollum is averaging 6.6 rebounds over his last five games, including going over 4.5 rebounds in six of his last seven games. Not only will he need to be more of a help on the glass because Williamson is out, but also because Memphis is in the top half of the league in 3-point attempts and is without its best shooter — which could mean more long rebound opportunities for guards on the perimeter.
Nets at Kings
The Pick: Royce O’Neale over 1.5 3s made (-160)
O’Neale has been the Nets most consistent threat from beyond the arc, shooting a blazing 42.0% on 5.8 attempts from deep this season. He has made two of more 3-pointers in 11 of his 14 games played in; despite facing a solid 3-point shooting defense in Sacramento, I’ll eat the -160 juice to take a play that has a 78.5% hit rate so far this season.