NBA Monday betting preview: Trust Bulls as short road chalk
Kent Smith / National Basketball Association / Getty

We went 2-3 against the spread on our NBA weekend picks, including backing the Jazz in their first ATS loss in nine tries. They're among our favorite plays once again in Monday's six-game schedule.

Bulls (-1, 226) @ Rockets

It's been a tough run for the Rockets without star center Christian Wood, who hasn't played since injuring his ankle on Feb. 4. Houston has gone 1-6 ATS / 0-7 straight up in that span, losing by an average of 15 points per game.

The Rockets also haven't played since Wednesday after their last two games were postponed due to the severe weather conditions in the Houston area. That alone may weigh heavy on this team in its first contest in almost a week, but the on-court matchup also favors the Bulls, who have the NBA's third-best ATS record (17-11-1).

Zach LaVine has played like a man possessed in his last eight games, averaging 35.1 points on 54.7% shooting to make his case for an All-Star spot in the East. Chicago is 5-2-1 ATS in that stretch and should take care of business against the short-handed Rockets.

Pick: Bulls -1

Grizzlies @ Mavericks (-5, 233)

Two of the best over bets in the past month face off Monday in a game that likely won't be hailed for defense.

The Mavericks have gone over in seven straight games dating back to Feb. 3, allowing 126.4 points per contest during that time with the NBA's second-worst defensive rating (125.4). Conversely, their offensive rating is a league-best 124.7 over that stretch, which coincides with the team rediscovering its 3-point touch (40.8%) after an unlucky start.

That's a bad sign for the Grizzlies, who allowed the Suns to sink a franchise-best 24 threes in Saturday's blowout loss that extended Memphis' over run to 9-2-2. Monday's total would be the highest the team has seen in that stretch, but the matchup screams over, anyway.

Pick: Over 233

Hornets @ Jazz (-13.5, 227.5)

The Jazz's remarkable eight-game ATS winning streak finally came to an end Friday against the full-strength Clippers. Is it time to jump off their bandwagon at a number like this?

Not so fast. This team covered 19 of its last 22 matchups - outscoring opponents by 13.2 points per game in that span - and beat the Hornets by 17 points on Feb. 5. That was one of Utah's 11 ATS wins in 13 tries against teams that entered the game with a losing record.

Double-digit favorites have gone 26-12-2 ATS this season, outscoring their opponents by 15.2 points per game and winning by at least 14 points in 23 of those 40 contests. With how well the Jazz are playing, they've earned this type of respect from oddsmakers.

Pick: Jazz -13.5

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

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.

NBA Monday betting preview: Trust Bulls as short road chalk
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