The NBA on TNT returns tonight, kicking off at 6:30pm CST with the LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers headed on the road for a battle with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the real headliner will be in the front court between Anthony Davis, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. Following the conclusion of that brawl, two of the league’s very best square off, when Luka Doncic leads the Dallas Mavericks against the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic.
Here’s a look at the betting breakdown ahead of tonight’s matchups:
(As of 10pm CST Monday night)
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Lakers (+4, +155 ML) at Cavaliers (-4, -180 ML) | Total: 224
As of writing 63% of bets are on the Lakers to cover the spread, but just 29% of the handle (money) is trusting LA according to VSiN. This indicates that while the average bettor likes LA, professional, sharp bettors are fading the public, and placing their bets on the Cavs to cover the four-point spread. The public and sharps are more in agreement when it comes to the total, with 77% of bets and 86% of the money currently coming in on the over. While it’s closer, it still indicates that the pros are betting this over.
The Picks: Cavs -4 | Under 224
Given how dominant Anthony Davis has been of late, I was very tempted to go with the Lakers, but the Cavs are just a bit too deep. They have two great options to throw at Davis, and are built to slow down a team like the Lakers that relies so heavily on scoring at the rim. This is putting a lot of faith in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, but those two guys have earned that faith.
I do think this is a rock fight, though. The Cavs ability to take away the rim is well documented, but the Lakers also have a great half-court defense. If they’re able to take care of the ball, this one could grind into an old-school game quickly. The pros love the over, so this will probably look silly, but I really struggle to see this as a high-scoring affair.
Mavericks (+4.5, +160 ML) at Nuggets (-4.5, -190 ML) | Total: 223
As of writing, 62% of bets have been wagered on the underdog Mavericks, but just 25% of the handle is on the Mavs to cover. While the public seems to be optimistic about Luka’s ability to make this a nail-biter, the professional bettors are on the Nuggets.
It’s a similar story on this total as with the Lakers and Cavs. For now, 85% of bets and 94% of the handle is on the over for this one. It’s definitely possible that these numbers change, drastically even, as we get closer to tip-off, but the early action is heavily on this one to turn into a shootout.
The Picks: Nuggets -4.5 | Over 224
This game is more simple for me than the appetizer. I don’t trust the Mavs at all right now, especially against a good team. They’re a hard bunch to predict, since their success almost entirely goes as their role players shooting goes, but I’m just not sold on this team right now. Of course, it’s possible that Luka goes absolutely nuts and makes this all a moot point, but in a primetime matchup, I’d think you could say the same for Jokic as well. Give me the home team to win and cover.