NBA (1 Unit) Charlotte Hornets/Cleveland Cavaliers Over 225 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on Bally Sports OH
If their first games were any indication, these teams should be playing fast-paced and high-scoring games all season.
It was no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers were still going to struggle on the defensive end this year, and that bore out by surrendering 132 points to open the season. But they do have the ability to score behind guard duo Collin Sexton and Darius Garland who are excellent at pushing the pace, and that should continue tonight.
It looks like the Charlotte Hornets are going to turn LaMelo Ball loose this season, and that means track meets are coming. They already showed it against another team with defensive issues by hanging 123 points on the Pacers, and I see them keeping their foot on the gas tonight.
This kind of moderate early-season total reflects the tendency of teams needing some time to get the offense clicking. That doesn’t appear to be a problem for these squads, and some lackluster defense should cause the points to come easily tonight.
NBA (0.5 Unit) Brooklyn Nets -3 @ Philadelphia 76ers (-110): 6:30 PM CT on ESPN
I’m following the line move to the edge of my comfort zone with this game, but do think the Brooklyn Nets will end up being the correct side.
This game opened with the Nets laying just a point, but with bad news continuing to hit the Philadelphia 76ers it’s risen to here. This move suggests that the questionable tag applied to Joel Embiid is significant and that he’s likely to rest his sore knee tonight. Without him and Ben Simmons, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to handle a motivated Nets squad. Brooklyn looked awful in a 23-point loss on Tuesday and should be out to atone for that performance. Positive regression is bound to come for such a talented offensive team, especially with the Sixers missing two excellent defenders.
I’ll be watching closely to see if Embiid’s status changes, but the line move is telling us something and I’ll follow that here.
NBA (0.5 Unit) Phoenix Suns/LA Lakers Over 221 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on ESPN
Much can be made about these teams fighting some low-scoring battles last season, particularly in the playoffs, but something is different about this Lakers squad.
I wondered if the Lakers allowing 118.5 PPG in the preseason was a sign of things to come or just a mirage. Then they gave up 121 points to open the season against the Golden State Warriors, telling me that this is going to be a higher-paced Lakers team this season with a weaker defense. It makes sense with the addition of Russell Westbrook and his high-octane volatility, which inevitably leads to more possessions and scoring chances.
As for the Suns, I’m anticipating a bounce-back offensively after a poor shooting night on Wednesday. They have too many good shooters not to, especially against this leaky Lakers defense. Only one of the nine meetings between these teams went over this number last season and postseason. The fact that it’s this high of a total tells me plenty of points are expected, and that’s what I see as well.
MLB (0.5 Unit) Boston Red Sox/Houston Astros Over 9 (-110): 7:08 PM CT on FS1
Regardless of this being an elimination scenario where games get managed much differently, I have to look at this game being another over.
It’s just been too easy this series, with all five games going over and averaging 11.8 runs per game in the process. Even the games that were low-scoring into the late innings managed to clear the total, owing mostly to a questionable Boston bullpen. I see this one being a little easier, especially with the Astros starting Luis Garcia, who has surrendered 10 runs himself in this series while recording only 11 outs. The Red Sox know they need to jump on Garcia early and I think they will.
Boston is giving the start to Nathan Eovaldi, his second of this series, and after also using him in relief on Tuesday. We’ve already seen multiple examples this postseason of that strategy backfiring, so Eovaldi could easily get touched up here by this hot Houston lineup. With this total actually coming down from the past couple of games, I’ll count on a sixth straight over from these teams.
No degenerates today.
Tiny Nick is 413-312 ATS (+93.4 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.