With Week 17 of the NFL wrapped up, it’s truly time to dive into the NBA and not look back. The empty arenas have caused the scoring differential in the NBA to be wider than ever this season, which has caused Vegas to react as such. It’s our job to take advantage of this, as we know things will normalize as the season goes on.
Below are my three favorite early bets to lock in for Monday’s NBA slate. Keep in mind that lines will shift.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+8) at Miami Heat (-110, PointsBet)
Sure, the Thunder are not going to be a playoff team, but they’ve proven that they have the ability to hang around for four quarters, as evident by them not only covering a 7-plus point spread against the Magic last game, but winning the game. On top of that, including games that Jimmy Butler has been active, the Heat are only averaging 0.8 more points per game than the Thunder. I would bet this up until +6.5.
New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks over 222.5 total points (-105, PointsBet)
Don’t look now, but the Knicks have reason for optimism this season, as they’ve beaten the Bucks by 20-plus and have avoided being blown out in most games this season. The Hawks, on the other hand, have even more reason to be optimistic. With both offenses playing well and very little defense being played, the 222.5 total will surely rise, as the Hawks are running at one of the top paces in the league and are averaging 120 points on their own.
Boston Celtics (+3) at Toronto Raptors (-110, William Hill)
Both of these teams have been struggling in individual facets this season, so the 3-point spread feels accurate, but I think that the Celtics are the better team. Not only are the Celtics averaging over five more points per game than the Raptors, but they’re also top-12 in the NBA in offensive efficiency, while the Raptors sit at 27th. Even on the second half of a back-to-back, I’m all over Boston.