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Each week of the NBA season, we'll highlight some of the top betting angles and plays on the schedule. Here are some tips heading into this week's slate.
Note: Lines for Tuesday and beyond are released later in the week.
New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons (-3.5, 224.5)
The Pelicans' 35-point loss in Boston was certainly a deflating way to snap a nine-game win streak against the spread (ATS), but they were playing without Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick, Derrick Favors, and Kenrich Williams. The first three are questionable for Monday's game, and if they play, New Orleans could hold some nice value in this spot.
The Pistons own the worst ATS record (15-25) in the NBA, and they've dropped 11 of their last 14 games straight up (SU) amid injury and trade rumors clouding their frontcourt. Those are bad signs for a team that, you know, relies heavily on their frontcourt. The total is also worth playing given the Pelicans' seven-game over run, especially if Holiday is out again.
Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers (-2, 213)
The road has been harsh for the 76ers, who are 7-13 SU this year and have covered just four of their last 14 away contests. The last loss came without Joel Embiid, whose team is 20-27-2 ATS (42.6%) without him over the last three seasons.
Embiid was sidelined when Philly got cooked by 18 points in Indiana on Dec. 31, which was the last time the Pacers were favored at home. Indiana is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games as home chalk, and Monday looks like another strong value spot against a struggling Sixers squad.
Utah Jazz at Brooklyn Nets
Remember when everyone was writing off the Jazz in early December as a major disappointment? They've won 14 of their last 15 games since then with a 12-3 record ATS in that span. Surprisingly, the team has done it on offense, where Utah has the best rating (118.4 points per 100 possessions) of any club during that stretch.
The Nets halted a seven-game skid with two straight wins - the second coming in Kyrie Irving's return - but the team had actually done better ATS without him. Fade any Irving value baked into Tuesday's line.
San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat
If you've followed these previews, you're surely aware of one of the most profitable trends this season: fading San Antonio after a win. The Spurs are 3-13 ATS after an SU victory, the latest example coming in a 13-point loss to Memphis after upsetting Boston two nights earlier.
After another surprising win over the Raptors on Sunday, San Antonio will visit the Heat, who are 9-2 ATS after a loss and 13-5 ATS at home. Both situations apply Wednesday in a solid bounce-back spot for Miami.
Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls
It's hard to blindly endorse a total play without seeing the number, but this game is setting up nicely for the over. The Wizards were among the most efficient offenses - and best over teams - until star Bradley Beal missed seven games, during which Washington went 5-2 to the under.
In all other games, the Wizards are 21-11 to the over, including in Beal's return Sunday. The Bulls have gone over in four of their last five contests with the league's fourth-worst defensive rating (116.2) during that stretch.
Los Angeles Clippers at Orlando Magic
Something's up with the Clippers' offense, which has fallen short of 115 points in seven of the team's last nine games. Perhaps it's a result of being too passive, as Patrick Beverley suggested after Friday's narrow home win over Golden State, or maybe nagging injuries to stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are to blame.
Regardless, it's a bad time to play the Magic, who have the NBA's best defensive rating (98.1) since Dec. 23 and a 9-1 under record in that span. They've also covered four of their last six games and could surprise an L.A. team that's without an ATS win since Jan. 2.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.