Sunday’s NBA main slate features eight games. The action gets underway at 6 p.m. ET and the final game tips off at 9:30 p.m. ET. Let’s survey the slate and pick the best bets for Sunday night.
Timberwolves -12.5 (-110)
Games don’t mean that much right now for most teams. Games haven’t meant much for the Rockets since October. The Timberwolves may not benefit from climbing in the standings, but they can climb to the fifth seed and regain momentum heading into the playoffs. After winning 10 of 11 games, the Timberwolves have dropped four of five. The losses came in tough matchups, but that does not bode well for their hopes of advancing through the playoffs. Losing to Houston on Sunday night is not an option, and covering the spread is an indicator that this team is ready for the playoffs.
The Rockets enjoyed back-to-back games in Portland last weekend and a layup against Washington earlier that week. The rest of the Rockets’ last 12 games were all losses. Going back to the end of January, the Rockets are 6-26 straight up and 12-19-1 against the spread. They’re 4-7 ATS when double-digit dogs, and they failed to cover in each of their last five as massive underdogs and the average margin of victory in those contests was 18. Dennis Schroder, Eric Gordon and Christian Wood have all been shut down for the season as the Rockets go into full tank mode. The countdown has been canceled and the launchpad is closed. The Rockets are not blasting off. For the remainder of the season, these Rockets are collecting dust or imploding.
Kings +6.5 (-110)
The Jazz led the Warriors by double digits from the beginning of the second quarter until the seven-minute mark in the fourth quarter on Saturday night. The Warriors then miraculously erased a 13-point deficit and won by four. This is a classic let down spot. The sans Steph Warriors should be able to beat the Kings, but 6.5 points are a lot for a road team. A road team on a back-to-back that rallied in the fourth quarter to score an improbable upset.
The Kings have won four of their last five. Those four wins were against the worst teams in the NBA (Pacers, Magic and Rockets), but they were road wins and the Kings are 4-1-1 ATS over their last five games. On the season, the Kings rank 27th in defensive efficiency rating, but over the last six games they have improved to 11th. The Kings should have no trouble limiting a limited Warriors offense that ranks 27th in offensive efficiency over the same span.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Warriors SG Klay Thompson (injury management) and SF/PF Otto Porter (injury management) are listed as out for tonight’s game vs. the Kings.
Heat +3.5 (-110)
Are the Heat back? They’re healthy and putting the hurt on Eastern Conference contenders. They beat the Bulls by 18 at Chicago on Saturday night. On Wednesday, they beat the Celtics — possibly the best team in the NBA — by eight at Boston. In the words of John Wick, “Yeah, I think they’re back.”
The Raptors are a good team, but the Heat are hot. It’s a road back-to-back for the Heat, but they had Thursday and Friday off. Momentum is on the Heat’s side and they were able to limit minutes in a comfortable win on Saturday night. Over the last three games, the Heat rank No. 3 in defensive efficiency, but the Raptors are No. 1 over the last 13 games — winners of 11 of 13 and covers in 10. On paper, it seems like the Raptors should cover with ease, but the Heat are hot. Miami’s offense is suddenly coming back to life and it may be getting overlooked in this line. Over the last three games, Miami has the fifth-best offensive efficiency rating, fourth-best True Shooting Percentage and the best Net Rating (+16.4).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Heat SF/PF Jimmy Butler (toe), C Dewayne Dedmon (ankle) and PG Gabe Vincent (toe) are listed as out for tonight’s game vs. the Raptors.
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