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If you’ve been following our NBA picks against the spread as of late, you’ll be familiar with this next part: we cashed one of three picks on Friday, riding the Mavericks to a dominant win but losing out on the Thunder and Knicks as road underdogs.
Can we flip the script and hit on two or three of our picks to start the week? Seven of the eight home teams in action on Monday are favored at BetMGM, though we’re skeptical of at least one of them holding serve on their own floor.
Here’s a look at which teams we’re betting to open the week:
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Will the real Cavaliers please stand up? This team owned the NBA’s best net rating for much of the season, but a few untimely injuries to key players contributed to a surprising five-game slide earlier this month.
Cleveland snapped the spell with a double-overtime win over the Hornets and followed that with a 26-point win over the Heat on Sunday. That bodes well for this spot: teams coming off a 25-point win or better this season have posted as many double-digit wins (5) as outright losses (5), and nine of the 14 teams in that spot won by at least four points.
With Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen both a few games removed from injury-related absences, I’d bet on this team looking more like its recent form. Expect a strong performance against the Hawks, who have lost three straight following a win and have been blown out in two of their last four games.
The pick: Cavaliers -2.5
No team has provided us with a better Jekyll and Hyde routine than the Warriors, who have been an entirely different team at home and on the road.
Golden State has looked every bit like a defending champion at Chase Center, where they’ve won seven of eight games by an average of 10.3 points. Conversely, the Dubs are 1-8 on the road and have been outscored by 8.7 points per game. Their only win came against the lowly Rockets on Sunday, when they needed an NBA-record 23 triples from Klay Thompson (10), Stephen Curry (7), and Andrew Wiggins (6).
Don’t expect a repeat performance against the Pelicans, who have surrendered the league’s fifth-lowest 3-point percentage (33.4%) to key a top-10 defensive efficiency. Their offense has been even better, and the expected return of Zion Williamson (foot) should seriously bolster this unit in a likely home win.
The pick: Pelicans -6.5
I’m incredibly skeptical of the Clippers’ 10-7 start, which comes despite this team posting a below-average net rating (+0.1) and a 6-1 record straight up in games decided by seven points or less.
Los Angeles owns the NBA’s second-best defense by points per possession (106.6), but its offense has fittingly been the league’s second-worst by that metric (105.4) with franchise star Kawhi Leonard (knee) still working his way back into game shape. Now leading scorer Paul George (23.6 PPG) is questionable with a knee issue of his own, which would be a death blow to this team’s ability to create its own offense.
Even if he plays, the Clippers have a razor-thin margin for error against the Jazz, who surprisingly rank seventh in net rating (+3.9) and have been electric offensively behind breakout star Lauri Markkanen (22.3 PPG). Los Angeles is a dreadful 3-6 ATS at home and will be lucky to escape with an outright win on Monday.
The pick: Jazz +3.5