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NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Best Bets For 76ers vs. Pacers, Raptors vs. Nuggets

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It will be nearly impossible for Monday’s NBA games to match the excitement of what we saw from this past weekend, but we can all hope. Tonight’s schedule features six games, including two matchups on NBA TV: Hawks vs. Heat (7:30 p.m. ET) and Pelicans vs. Kings (10 p.m. ET).

Our Action staff is targeting two other games and have three best bets, including player props, totals and spreads. Check out their expert picks and predictions for Monday’s games below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers

Pick
Over 233.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Chris Baker: These two teams played back on Jan. 4 and combined for 155 despite both teams shooting relatively average for the game. Neither team exceeded the 60th percentile in Effective Field Goal Percentage in that game but it still managed to soar over the total due to how fast the game was played.

The 76ers dominated in the halfcourt with a 106.1 Offensive Rating (74th percentile), while the Pacers excelled in transition where they averaged 155.0 points per transition play. Twenty percent of the Pacers’ possessions were transition opportunities (84th percentile) and they certainly capitalized on them. The Sixers do not get hustle back in transition as they rank 26th in Transition Rate Allowed and 21st in Transition Defensive Rating, according to Cleaning the Glass.

Keep in mind, the Pacers found success against a 76ers defense that was missing Joel Embiid. One would assume the defense will get significantly better with Embiid. He should help their halfcourt rim-protection, but he will almost certainly hurt the 76ers transition defense.

Embiid has been dealing with lingering plantar-fasciitis and often chooses not to run back in transition. Combine that with Harden’s complete unwillingness to run back and you get some very bad transition defense.

With Embiid and Harden on the floor, the 76ers rank in the 14th percentile of transition defensive rating. With Embiid in the lineup, the 76ers are likely to play more drop-coverage, which is not a recipe for success when going up against this 3- point happy Pacers team. Expect Haliburton and Hield to get plenty of clean looks coming off of ball-screens tonight.

While the return of Embiid may hurt the 76ers defensively, it should only further boost their offensive efficiency in the halfcourt. This Pacers defense struggles with defending the rim — 27th in rim rate allowed and last in defensive rebound rate. I expect the Pacers to have issues defending Embiid on the block once he flops into Myles Turner a few times. Behind Turner, the Pacers have next to nothing in terms of capable big-defenders so it will be difficult to stop the Sixers’ perennial MVP candidate.

The 76ers defense is dramatically overrated after playing the third-easiest schedule of opposing offenses while the Pacers offense is likely underrated given that they have played the fourth-most difficult schedule of opposing defenses. All of these things line up to make this a strong over play at 233.5. Play this up to 235.5.


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Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Nuggets -6.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
9 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Jim Turvey: Denver is 29-4 (!) at home this season, and they’ve even been elite against the spread Ball Arena, with a 22-10-1 record for a +30.3 percent ROI that leads all of the NBA in 2022-23. The Raptors, on the other hand, have been poor away from home 12-20 overall and 13-19 against the spread.

Both teams are right around full health, and by Net Rating, the Nuggets are around four points better than the Raptors. That would leave only a two-point difference for home court (to get to that -6 number), despite plenty of evidence this season that the Nuggets thrive at home.

Nikola Jokic and Co. are also on an extra days rest compared to the Raptors, and Toronto also went to overtime in their last outing.

One of the Raptors’ biggest strengths is their ability to get second chance points, but Denver is an elite defensive rebounding team. The Nuggets are also the best team in the league in terms of 3-point field goal percentage, and that has been a susceptible area for Toronto this season, as they have allowed the second-highest percentage from deep.

I also like the Nuggets to get off to a quick start in this one, so keep an eye on Denver first quarter as well if you really like this play.


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Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Nuggets -6.5
Book
FanDuel

Matt Moore: The Raptors are 11-9 ATS as a road dog this season, but have only been a dog of more than six twice (1-1 ATS). Denver at home is 22-10-1 ATS and 17-6-1 since Dec. 7 when their season began to turn.

The Raptors rely heavily on points off turnovers and second chance points. But Denver is sixth in defensive rebound percentage, and while turnovers are a problem for them, at home Denver only gives up the 14th-most.

That’s not good, but it’s also not enough for the Raptors to hold up a pretty mediocre offense otherwise against one of the best offenses in the NBA.

Toronto’s lack of bench strength is another issue as that continues to be a Denver weak spot. The Raptors are not well built to take advantage of the limited number of weaknesses on Denver, while the Nuggets have been nearly unbeatable at home.


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Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Jamal Murray Over 2.5 3-Pointers (-154) | Over 4+ (+170)
Book
FanDuel

Joe Dellera: Since the Raptors have acquired Jakob Poeltl in the trade with the Spurs, they are allowing opponents to shoot 42.1% from 3-point range. It has affected their defense a bit as they need to play a bit more drop as opposed to switching everything.

One beneficiary of this is Jamal Murray and his 3-point prop is set at 2.5 and 4+ is juiced to +175. He’s exceeded the base line in eight of his last 10 and 4+ in five of his last 10.

I like Denver on the game, especially at home on extra rest which should give Murray some fresher legs as well. When Denver has played on two days rest, they have a Net Rating of +14 this season — if the offense is humming Murray will be a large part of that.


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