Saturday’s main slate features six games and gets underway at 7:00 PM ET with the final two games tipping off at 8:30pm. Last weekend, my best bets went 3-0 for the second time this season, raising my record to 6-3 on the year. Let’s survey the slate and pick the best bets for Saturday night.
Cleveland Cavaliers -6 (-110)
The Kings lost a heart breaker on Friday night, while the Cavs rested their players in a blowout win. None of this is new. The Kings are familiar with losing. Outside of games against the Clippers, the Kings are the same team under Alvin Gentry that they were with Luke Walton — literally the same players with the same game plan. Meanwhile, the Cavs keep smoking their opponents.
The Cavs lost five in a row against stiff competition while dealing with COVID injuries, but since then, have won six of the last eight games. All six of those wins were by double-digits and three were by more than 20 points. By the way, they have covered 10 in a row. Yes, I buried the lead.
Richaun Holmes missed Friday night’s game due to illness and that is very bad news for the Sacramento front court. The Kings have allowed the second-most fantasy points to centers, and that’s mainly due to their weakness on the boards. This front court has allowed the most rebounds to opposing centers, and their 74% defensive rebound percentage is the second-worst. That’s a problem against most teams, but that’s a nightmare against a team that starts three 7-footers.
Not only will Sacramento struggle to get rebounds down low, but points are going to be hard to come by. Sacramento has a 71% field goal percentage down low (shots 0 to 3 feet away). That’s good enough for seventh-best in the league and that play drives their offense, but those buckets are a tall order against the triumvirate of Jarret Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen — The Tall Order.
Utah Jazz -5 (-110)
The Wizards have covered twice in the last 10 games. Their only wins in the last six games have come against Minnesota (11-11) and Detroit (4-20). This is not a good team. They were a five point or larger underdog four times this season and failed to cover the spread in three of those contests — the one cover was an egregious +6.5 line vs. the Mavs.
The Jazz have won five in a row (129.2 offensive efficiency rating and a 17.2 net rating over that span) and 10 of 12 . Over that 12 game span, they did not cover five times but three times they were double-digit favorites, once an 8 point favorite and as a five point favorite on the road against the Cavs, which in retrospect seems egregious and disrespectful to the Cavs. No one doubts that the Jazz win this game, but is there any reason to doubt that they cover the spread when Utah’s offense has been the best in basketball over the last five games?
Memphis Grizzlies (-8) (-110)
This is a battle between two of the hottest teams in the NBA. Wait, what? Welcome to regular season NBA action. Both teams are 6-1 in their last seven games. Both teams have put together impressive win streaks without their star player. Are both teams for real or is this an illusion?
Eight is a lot, but would it have been two weeks ago? Houston is not for real. Memphis laying eight against a team that is starting Garrison Matthews does not seem crazy at all. It’s perfectly reasonable given that Matthews is chucking threes and not making them. The Rockets’ offense got hot without Jalen Green, but they also got hot at home. This team has one road win this season. They’re on the road Saturday night and on the back-end of a back-to-back following a loss that snapped their magical seven-game win streak.
The Memphis defense has been elite without Ja Morant. Their 93.9 defensive efficiency rating over the last seven games is the best in NBA. The next closest team is Golden State with a 99.0, and they’re pretty good. The Rockets offense has been hot, but they will cool off off tonight against a tough defense in Memphis.
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