Sunday, 6 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: Indiana ATS
Best Line Offered: Bovada
Charlotte and Indiana got big wins Saturday night and will look to continue their respective winning streaks in a matchup Sunday evening. The Hornets romped the Phoenix Suns 135-115, running their winning streak to three games. While Charlotte was led by Kemba Walker’s steady presence, it was the 56 bench points that propelled the Hornets to victory at home against the lowly Suns.
The Pacers beat the Dallas Mavericks 111-99 Saturday night and pretty much cruised to victory after never allowing the Mavericks within eight points in the second half, taking advantage of budding star Luka Doncic’s first career ejection. Although the Pacers are only going for just their second win in a row, they have won 17 of their last 22 games and became just the sixth team in the NBA to reach 30 wins on the season.
Indiana has excelled this season because they are not as reliant on Victor Oladipo to save them on a nightly basis and are having a more balanced attack from their bench. The main player who contributes to the Pacers’ stellar bench play has been Domantas Sabonis, one of the most elite bench players this season. Sabonis has emerged as one of the best low-post scorers in the NBA, shooting an absurd 78% from the field on shots within three feet of the basket. It’s almost as if Sabonis is playing one on zero, similarly to an NBA draft workout, rather than against the best competition in the world. Sabonis will keep Charlotte’s Willy Hernangomez on his toes in the battle of big men off the bench.
The Hornets will look to win the season series, as the teams have only three meetings this season, with Charlotte already taking the first game, 127-109. That game was in Charlotte, and look for the Pacers to take advantage of their stellar 16-6 home record.
Here are some trends to note:
- Indiana is 12-10 ATS at home
- Charlotte is 9-12 ATS on the road
- Indiana is 5-2 ATS on the second half of back-to-backs
Sunday, 7 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: Phoenix ATS
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
Phoenix is reeling with three straight losses to start their six-game road trip and will now have to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back. At least the Suns got star player Devin Booker back in the lineup; he scored 32 points in the losing effort against the Hornets after missing several games last week with a back injury. The Suns struggled mightily in his absence, although one can argue that the Suns have struggled just as badly when he has been in the lineup.
Phoenix has won just 11 games this season and amassed the second-worst record in the NBA. A lot of Phoenix’s struggles stem from the fact the team is effectively playing the season without a starting point guard. The Suns rely on De’Anthony Melton as the team’s floor general even though Booker largely serves as the team’s primary ball-handler.
Minnesota opened this game as 10.5-point favorites on the NBA odds board. The number has risen to 12, which may be just too much considering the fact that the Timberwolves are far from an elite team themselves. Minnesota has been up and down this season in terms of covering games spreads, with a 23-22 ATS record.
The Timberwolves have had a roller-coaster season, after starting the year with a full-blown mutiny lead by Jimmy Butler, whose sole purpose was to sabotage the team’s season in an attempt to get traded. Butler got his wish, ultimately being moved to the Philadelphia 76ers, but the damage was already done in Minnesota. The whole fiasco cost Tom Thibodeau his job, which has paved the way for Ryan Saunders to be the youngest coach in the NBA at 32. Saunders is maybe in a little over his head as the lead man for the Timberwolves and the on-court product will suffer while he coaches through his growing pains as a leader of men. Look for Phoenix to put forth a great effort and cover this large spread against Minnesota.
Trends to watch:
- Phoenix 4-3 ATS on the second game of back-to-back
- Minnesota 9-12 ATS as home favorites
- Minnesota is 13-15 against Western Conference teams