It’s been a wild first few days of NBA bubble action. We’ve netted some nice wins so far and with Monday’s slate fast-approaching, there are a couple of plays worth your time and investment.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Monday, August 03, 2020 – 06:30 PM EDT
With two straight bubble losses, the Pelicans have almost removed themselves from the playoff picture, much to the chagrin of casual fanboys, the league, and pretty much anyone who loves storylines more than basketball itself.
However, they have a chance to right the ship on Monday against the Grizzlies, who have also lost their first two bubble games. Lonzo Ball said it’s a must-win game and he’s right. The Pels currently sit 3.5 games back of the 8th-seeded Grizzlies with only six games left. They are also trailing both the Spurs and Blazers now, which is going to be tough to overcome, especially if they lose this game to Memphis.
That being said, I do think the full game spread is off-limits. With Memphis potentially tired and after giving up two straight games in the fourth quarter, I don’t trust the Grizzlies to cover after four straight quarters.
That being said, they have some sneaky first half value here. Even though Memphis has not played well to start games during the bubble, they were a solid first half team before the season was suspended and could return to that kind of focus early in this must-win game.
Memphis ranks 10th-best in the league in first half defense if you include the games that happened before the bubble. The Pelicans on the other hand are giving up 113 points per 100 possessions over the course of the season, which is 24th in the NBA.
I do think New Orleans will win this one, but even coming off a game last night, I see Memphis coming out hot and aggressive and covering their first half number. That's why I'm adding Grizzlies +2.5 (-110) 1s Half to our NBA Picks.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Monday, August 03, 2020 - 08:00 PM EDT
Another game to watch out for some derivative value tonight is the Spurs and 76ers. Coming into the bubble everyone was excited to see if the Sixers had worked out their kinks, or if they would be faced with more problems now that they don’t have their big home court advantage.
However, after their first game where they lost to Indiana and couldn’t even finish the game before arguing with one another on the bench, I think it’s safe to say the Sixers are still pretenders and not contenders.
That being said, the Sixers are still priced as contenders, even in this game. The Spurs may not have the same firepower they did before the season was suspended, but they are also still a very talented team with some excellent guard play.
That is going to be tough for the Sixers to contend with early in this game. Philly has nice first quarter numbers this season, but if you take away their home games, their first quarter analytics drop considerably.
Also, if their first game was any indication, the Sixers are going to have trouble getting amped up for games playing on a court without any fans. In their game against Indiana, a traditionally slow-starting team, the Sixers allowed Indiana to drop 35 first quarter points.
It could be a bump in the road, or it could be a hint on what’s to come for this Philly team. Against a team like the Spurs, who have made me a ton of money this season betting on their first quarters as underdogs, I think it’s time once again to bet on the Spurs early.
San Antonio has put up nearly 140 points per 100 possessions in the first quarters of their first two bubble games. They have done this while allowing only 103.8 as well. I think the Spurs jump on Philly early and at +2.5, they are getting too many points for the first 12 minutes. If Philly undervalues them, it will be an easy one to win.
NBA Pick: Spurs +2.5 (-105) 1st Quarter