It’s a very full NBA card tonight with a whopping 11 games to choose from and bet on. Arguably the biggest story of the night is the return of Kyrie Irving to the Nets lineup at Indiana, but it’s not the only story.
We also have a matchup between the last two Eastern Conference teams to win championships, the Bucks and Raptors, and two contests between the elite of the West – Golden State vs. Dallas and Utah vs. Denver.
With so much to choose from, it may be hard to study every angle, but these three are all worth considering for your card tonight:
The Bet: Nets -6.5
It’s not so much that Kyrie Irving will come in and play like his former all-star self immediately. On the contrary, there may be some growing pains as he gets back to playing conditioning and strength, but it stands to reason he’ll be on something of a minutes restriction and that it’ll be more Durant and Harden in this one.
And that’s fine because, despite some recent losses, both guys have been playing incredibly. Harden has scored more than 30 points per game over his last ten (his season average is 22), and Durant adds 34 per game over his last ten (ahead of his league-leading 29.7 average on the season).
The losses of late have come against mostly good teams (Memphis, Philly … let’s call the Clippers debacle a blip), and Indiana isn’t one of those. They’ve failed to cover in six of nine, and should struggle to do so against far superior talent here. Take the Nets.
The Bet: Wizards -6
For a while this season, it was hard to bet against Houston to cover. Now, the opposite is very much true. They’ve failed to do so in eight straight and ten of their last 11. And when your best player is reportedly fighting with your assistant coach at halftime, you have big problems that aren’t getting solved this season.
Washington, meanwhile, has covered the number in four straight and six of their last seven. They’re not an amazing team, but they’re getting the job done more often than not, and against a Houston team that feels like it’s falling apart, six points is not a difficult ask. It’s just two Bradley Beal three-pointers. Lay the favorite.
The Bet: Hawks +1
It feels like the Hawks season is hanging on by a thread, but the Lakers felt like that a week ago and went on to win and cover four of five games. Sometimes, when a talented team is backed up against a wall, they rally, and with Trae Young dropping 56 in the team’s last loss against Portland, it feels like the Hawks are ready for a rally.
In this case, you’re getting them at the nadir of their market value, and they’re playing against a Kings team that has had a bit of success lately after giving Tyrese Haliburton more of a hand in the offense, but this team, even at home, isn’t a match for Atlanta from a talent perspective. In a virtual pick ‘em, go with the Hawks.