Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #6 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The NBA never sleeps, not even on a Sunday. Today there will be seven matchups on the schedule with one early game (Celtics vs. Magic, 3 p.m. ET) and two games tipping in the late evening: Hornets vs. Nuggets (8 p.m. ET) and Wizards vs. Lakers (9:30 p.m. ET).
The latter two games are where we find our best bets for Sunday, including some escalator props and a play on one side of the spread in the other matchup.
Check our expert picks and predictions for Hornets vs. Nuggets and Wizards vs. Lakers below.
Joe Dellera: The Nuggets face off against the Hornets today and this is a prime matchup for the back-to-back MVP, Nikola Jokic. Last season Nikola Jokic recorded 19 and 21 rebounds against Mason Plumlee and he should be able to exploit this matchup again.
The Hornets play at about a league average Pace on the season; however, with the return of LaMelo Ball, their Pace has seen an uptick. With Ball on the floor, the Hornets play at a 101.59 Pace, about 1.5 possessions faster than when he’s off the floor. This change, although seemingly small, would propel them from 13th in Pace to seventh.
This should set up more opportunities Jokic to clean up the glass. While his base line rebounds prop is 11.5 (-138 FanDuel), I think this is absolutely a game to take some alternates. Here are the best odds for each alternate: 14+ (+160 PointsBet), 15+ (+280 Bet365), 16+ (+350 PB), 17+ (+650 Bet365), 18+ (+800 PB), 20+ (+1700 PB).
Don’t go crazy on these alternates and don’t feel the need to bet all of them. Personally, I like 15, 17, and 20 and think they are worth a sprinkle along with the base line of over 11.5.
Matt Moore: Los Angeles nightlife is undefeated! The Wizards are on a third-game-in-four-nights and their one night off was in L.A., players’ favorite place to visit for an off-night.
The Lakers win 75% of the time at home as a Sunday favorite since 2003. If we take that 75% standard and convert it to spread, that makes this Lakers -7. I have this projected as Lakers -9.5. We can take a full three points off for Anthony Davis from that power rating (which already factors in their poor early season performance and the games Davis missed) and we still get to -6.5 for L.A.
Bradley Beal may play in this game; I’m not convinced it matters. The Wizards are a mess on a West Coast road trip, and have the look of a team that knows there’s no future for any of those players there.
Crank up the Randy Newman and trust LeBron to get the Lakers home.
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