NBA Bubble Bets – Sunday
August 2, 2020
By Tony Mejia
Editor’s Note: NBA Money (+3960) and Totals (+5000) leader Antony Dinero went 5-2 (+280) on Saturday and is on a 12-4 run. Don’t miss out on more winners from him this basketball season on VegasInsider.com Click to win!
Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets
Time/Venue: 2:05 p.m, HP Field House
Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): Wizards 24-41/0-1 (32-31-2, 0-1); Nets 30-35/0-1 (31-34, 0-1)
Line: BKN -2.5/235.5, BKN -138, WAS +118
Line Analysis: A shootout is expected considering that this total is expected to close as the highest set for this event to date until this evening’s final two games roll around. The Nets opened as a 1.5-point favorite and were bet up a point. Brooklyn closed as a 1.5-point favorite for each of their two pre-coronavirus hiatus matchups and the totals were set at 242 and 233.5.
Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: Both teams are missing multiple top scorers and making due with Plan E at this point. The Nets surrendered 75 points to Orlando between the second and third quarters after holding a 39-36 lead over the Magic after the first.
Caris LeVert and Joe Harris will be the primary playmakers while center Jarrett Allen will look to outperform Washington’s Thomas Bryant inside. The Wizards hung around for most of a 125-112 loss to the Suns but trailed for almost all 48 minutes. The first unit played through rookie Rui Hachimura while the bench group fed off the creativity of point guard Ish Smith. Washington gave up 38 first-quarter points and will be looking for a better effort out of the gate in the most winnable game on their schedule since they’ll be much larger underdog in every other game.
Handicapping Notes: The Wizards won both of this season’s matchups and have won three straight, although this will be the first time Scott Brooks matches wits with Brooklyn interim coach Jacque Vaughn. Bradley Beal scored 64 points in the victories and won’t play, while Hachimura scored 17 in the only game he participated in. Allen had 13 points and 15 boards in the most recent game after being saddled with foul trouble in the first matchup. Both games went ‘under’ the posted total.
Nothin’ But Bet: Jarrett Allen was active early against the Magic, reaching double-digits in the first quarter. He could take advantage of Bryant’s poor attention to detail on defense and catch a lob or swoop in for a putback. Backing him to score the game’s first basket pays +600 at FanDuel.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics
Time/Venue: 3:35 p.m. ET, ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena
Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): Blazers 30-37/1-0 (28-37-2, 1-0); Celtics 43-22/0-1 (38-24-3, 0-1)
Line: BOS -4.5/230.5, BOS -174 ML, POR +146
Line Analysis: The Blazers are an underdog for the first time in five games and went 5-0 in that favored role. This will be the fifth time in six games where the Blazers have had a totals close over 230 but that number has only climbed that high in six Celtics games all season. The ‘under’ is 4-2 in those games.
Boston covered a 7.5-point spread on the road in a 118-106 win on Feb. 25 in a game Portland’s Damian Lillard sat out.
Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: The Blazers got center Jusuf Nurkic and power forward Zach Collins back from injuries and got immediate contributions from both in Friday’s OT win over Memphis. Each played over 33 mintues and combined for 27 points, 18 rebounds, eight assists and six blocks. A slimmer Carmelo Anthony made the difference down the stretch and ended up with 21 points and seven boards in his more natural small forward slot.
The Celtics are deeper than they’ve been all season now that everyone is healthy. Point guard Kemba Walker started but played just over 19 minutes against the Bucks as the team is being extra cautious with his knee trouble. His limit will be increased for this one, but he likely won’t play more than 25 minutes, magnifying the importance of Marcus Smart and Brad Wanamaker off the bench.
Handicapping Notes: Tatum couldn’t have been worse against Milwaukee, shooting 2-for-18 while finishing with just five points. He had a 1-for-18 night against the Mavs on Nov. 11 and a 2-for-16 night against Atlanta on Jan. 3 but has largely bounced back after clunkers. He shot 8-for-12 from 3-point range in the victory in Portland, scoring 36 points. Trevor Ariza, the primary defender against Tatum that night, opted not to play in Orlando. Center Hassan Whiteside had 18 points and 19 boards for the Blazers but has been relegated to a bench role with Nurkic and Collins back.
Nothin’ But Bet: Nurkic running pick-and-rolls with Lillard and C.J. McCollum is apparently just like riding a bike since he’s picked up right where he left off pre-injury. Boston has a lot of strengths, but interior defense isn’t one of them. Back Nurkic to go ‘over’ 14.5 points at FanDuel (-122).
San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies
Time/Venue: 4:05 p.m. ET, Visa Athletic Center
Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): Spurs 28-36/1-0 (26-37-1, 1-0); Grizzlies 32-34/0-1 (34-31-1, 0-1)
Line: MEM -3.5/235.5, MEM -178 ML, SA +150
Line Analysis: The Grizzlies opened as a 2.5-point favorite but have been bet up to as high as 4 at some shops. San Antonio pulled off an upset of Sacramento and has its sights set on the No. 9 seed and a potential play-in rematch with the Grizzlies in two weeks. This total, like all others after Friday’s 6-for-6 ‘over’ day, has been bet up.
The Griz upset the Spurs in San Antonio as a 10.5-point ‘dog on Nov. 11 and were a 1-point home ‘dog when the Spurs returned the favor with a 145-115 rout at FedEx Forum on Dec. 23. The most recent matchup on Jan. 10 went off as a pick’em. The totals have been set in the 224.5-231 range. The ‘over is 2-1.
Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: Ja Morant will look to start faster than he did against the Trail Blazers, but he ultimately picked up his level enough to get Memphis a double-digit lead after falling behind 12 points early. Center Jonas Valanciunas wrestled with foul trouble against Portland but was productive while out there. He’ll look to take advantage of the Spurs missing most of their big men.
Jakob Poeltl is equipped to slow him down but we’ll likely see more of former Memphis star Rudy Gay, who tore up an ex-team in the Kings on Friday with 19 points off the bench, figures to play a key role. The Spurs are going small with wings DeMar DeRozan and Lonnie Walker up front and Dejounte Murray and Derrick White manning the backcourt. The smallball look produced a 43-point first-quarter and 65 second-half points.
Handicapping Notes: Those who want to bet the high side here are going to be salivating at the 69 points these teams combined for in the first quarter of their last meeting, which was followed by a 41-37 third quarter. DeRozan and Morant each had awful first-half performances and dominated when they needed to Friday night, so there’s a great chance both will look to be aggressive early. Betting a track meet looks like the move, but the total offers no room for any droughts.
Nothin’ But Bet: Jaren Jackson Jr. scored a team-high 24 points in the most recent meeting with the Spurs and always gets up for games against the team his dad is most famously played with. Jackson led Memphis with 33 points against Portland and is +600 to be this game’s high-scorer at FanDuel. That’s worth a shot.
Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic
Time/Venue: 6:05 p.m. ET, HP Field House
Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): Kings 28-37/0-1 (33-30, 0-1); Magic 31-35/1-0 (32-32-2, 1-0)
Line: ORL -3/227.5, ORL ML -142, SAC +120
Line Analysis: The total here has been bet up significantly and is easily three possessions higher than it probably should be. Sacramento is an underdog after being favored by a single point when the Magic came through Golden 1 Center on Jan. 13. If the total closes where it, it would be the highest for a game involving Orlando this season. The ‘over’ is 6-0 in games featuring the Magic that close with a total of 226.5 or higher. The high side is on a 5-0 run in Sacramento games. The current total matches Sacramento’s highest of the season.
Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: De’Aaron Fox scored a career-high 39 points in the Kings’ loss to San Antonio so his ankle sprain doesn’t look to be an issue anymore. Buddy Hield shot 2-for-13 and looks to have fallen well behind Bogdan Bogdanovic in Luke Walton’s rotation. The Magic are bringing Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz off the bench and are being careful with their minutes. Isaac made news for being the only player to stand during the national anthem this week but he was the difference maker in scoring 16 points in 16 minutes while changing a lackluster defensive effort against Brooklyn with his intensity. Isaac and Fultz reported feeling fine and could see increased playing time here as a result.
Handicapping Notes: The Kings and Magic look different now than they did in their only meeting since Isaac was out and Ariza was still part of the Kings. Marvin Bagley III played and is sidelined now but Bogdanovic was out and is now available. The one takeaway was that Fox was able to get wherever he wanted and scored 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting while dishing out 10 assists. If the Magic can’t do a better job of staying in front of him and keeping him from easy buckets in transition, the pace will get away from them and we’ll likely see a high-scoring loss.
Nothin’ But Bet: We’ll take a shot at another first basket prop, riding Richaun Holmes to get the Kings on the board ahead of Orlando. Holmes is always aggressive and is always a threat for a putback, so at +650, he’s a solid play at FanDuel.
Milwaukee Bucks at Houston Rockets
Time/Venue: 8:35 p.m. ET ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena
Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): Bucks 54-12/1-0 (37-29, 1-0); Rockets 41-24/1-0 (30-35, 1-0)
Line: MIL -4/242, MIL ML -180, HOU +152
Line Analysis: This is the game all eyes will be on. Coming off an unlikely upset of Dallas after trailing by double-digits entering the fourth quarter and by three with 5.2 seconds to go, Houston looks to avoid a fourth consecutive loss at the hands of the Bucks. This is the highest total we’ve seen in this restart. The ‘over’ is 2-1 when the total surpasses 240 in games involving Milwaukee but the ’under’ is a perfect 6-0 in Rockets games that close with the total in the 240s.
Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: The Rockets were carved up by Kristaps Porzingis in the paint but managed to overcome Dallas and a 55-43 rebounding disadvantage. All five of Houston’s starters played over 39 minutes and guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook played just under 44. With Eric Gordon out, Mike D’Antoni is rolling with just eight players. Jeff Green, Ben McLemore and Austin Rivers each scored in double-figures off the bench against Dallas.
Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton remain out due to COVID-19 complications so George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo will remain in heightened roles. Despite a tight game against the Celtics, no Bucks player topped the 33-minute mark.
Handicapping Notes: Although Tatum struggled and Walker was limited, it’s still impressive that the Bucks only trailed the Celtics by a single point throughout that entire game on Friday night. This will be a great opportunity to flex some muscle considering that no homecourt advantage affects Milwaukee most of all given how great it had been at Fiserv Forum. Westbrook and Harden look to be in excellent physical shape, and not having to deal with Bledsoe means they’ll get to pick on weaker defensive guards. Harden finished with 19 points and 14 assists in the only meeting between these teams to open this season back on Oct. 24, but he shot a brutal 2-for-13 and committed seven turnovers. Milwaukee won 117-111, rallying from a 16-point halftime deficit.
Nothin’ But Bet: Riding Giannis Antetokounmpo to score at least 30 points in a Bucks victory pays a solid +148 at FanDuel. He scored 30 in the win in Houston on Opening night and finished with 36 points on Friday against Boston.
Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns
Time/Venue: 9:05 p.m. ET Visa Athletic Center
Records/Bubble Records (SU/ATS): Mavericks 40-28/0-1 (35-30-3, 0-1); Suns 27-39/1-0 (30-35-1, 1-0)
Line: DAL -6/237.5, DAL ML -245, PHX +200
Line Analysis: The Suns are back in an underdog role after taking care of business against the Wizards and aren’t likely to be favored for the rest of their games on the NBA campus. Phoenix will play Dallas again in its final game on Aug. 13 and hope that game will put them in position to finish as the No. 9 seed. The Suns won in Dallas 133-104 as a 7-point underdog the last time the teams got together on Jan. 28, snapping a three-game losing streak in the series. The ‘over’ is 2-0 thus far in this season’s contests.
Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch: Kelly Oubre looks like he’ll remain out for the Suns, giving Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson more opportunities to flourish. Porzingis was saddled with foul trouble and shot just 2-for-8 in Dallas’ blowout loss to the Suns, grabbing just three boards while finishing minus-20 for the game. He’s playing at a much higher level right now, but probably won’t have to deal with a tough matchup problem like Aron Baynes since the big man hasn’t been able to practice much since getting healthy.
Speaking of matchup problems, Boban Marjanovic should be able to get more time here after being limited to just 4:44 of playing time due to Houston’s pace being too fast for him. Phoenix may have to resort to a similar strategy to keep the massive center from being a factor.
Handicapping Notes: Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton combined for 63 points on 25-for-35 shooting in Phoenix’s rout of the Mavs, so they’ll be filled with confidence in a game they really need if they’re serious about chasing a playoff bid. Seth Curry has had a fantastic run with the Mavs all season but shot just 0-for-2 from 3-point range. He was 0-for-4 from the field against the Rockets, missing his three 3-point attempts and a key free-throw that left the door open for that last-second comeback. Trey Burke made 8-of-10 3-pointers and is set to be an x-factor here while Tim Hardaway, Jr. continues to be steady. Luka Doncic shot 1-for-9 from 3-point range and will look to get on track to keep the Mavs in pursuit of the Southwest Division title.
Nothin’ But Bet: Phoenix should be able to catch the Mavs still lamenting that missed opportunity against the Rockets the other night, so it wouldn’t be surprised to see it leading this one at halftime. Ride the Suns +3.5 for the first half (-112).
Before the NBA went on hiatus, the Magic transitioned from a team focused on executing at the defensive end to one executing at a high level on offense. The Kings are going to take advantage of a suspect transition defnense with Isaac and Fultz not expected to play a full complement of minutes. Ride the over in that one. Check out more free picks in multiple sports on the VegasInsider.com YouTube channel
NBA Betting Results
Straight Up – SU, Against the Spread – ATS, Over-Under – O/U
Favorites posted a 2-2 SU & ATS mark on Saturday. OKC won as a pick’em
The ‘under’ went 3-2 on Saturday
Pacers (+6, ML +230) and Raptors (+2.5, ML +125) were lone underdogs to win on Saturday
The point-spread has only mattered in one game so far (Clippers-Lakers)
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