There is plenty of NBA action Sunday, with games in the afternoon and evening. For those who like to place bets, on top of playing DFS, here are some lines that interest me the most for this weekend’s action.
Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans
Total: 233; the pick: OVER
That isn’t a low total, but I think this game hits the over. The Pelicans have been playing awful defense lately, ranking 29th in defensive rating over the last 10 games. During that same span, New Orleans leads the NBA in offensive rating. Combine those two rankings and it isn’t a shock to see that the Pelicans are going over the implied game total 72.4 percent of the time this season, the highest rate in basketball. And over their last five games, the Celtics are top 12 in the league in pace, and with no one to stop Zion Williamson at the rim, I like this game to go slightly over.
Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Total: 210.5, the pick: UNDER
This is a very, very low total for any game on any slate, but it makes sense. We know New York plays at a snail’s pace, ranking dead last in the NBA. It is also playing good defense, fourth in the league in defensive efficiency. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves’ offense is not very good. Karl-Anthony Towns is back, but the team is missing D’Angelo Russell, who when healthy, is a fantastic offensive player. Towns is averaging nearly nine post-ups per game over his last five, which isn’t surprising to see the Wolves play through their best player. However, playing through the post will slow the game down, and the Knicks do the same with Julius Randle on the other side of this game.
Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Clippers
LAC -5; the pick: COVER
If Kevin Durant was available for the Nets, this would be a different story (and a different line). However, Durant is out again and while James Harden and Kyrie Irving are more than capable of carrying this team to victory on any given night, the Clippers having both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back is huge. Los Angeles has the league’s third-best record in basketball against the spread (18-13), while covering 58.1 percent of the time, good for the fourth-best mark in basketball. At home with their stars back against a bad defense, I think the Clippers cover in this spot.