With so many games on the schedule, surely we should be able to find some available total value on the NBA odds board, right? Our top two O/U picks are inside.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors
We don't expect to see much defense being played when the Raptors and Lakers do battle in Toronto tonight. Do you blame us?
At the moment, the NBA odds board shows the Raptors favored by a large margin, but how is the O/U shaping up? Right now the number is at 203, suggesting an up-tempo game is on the cards. Coming in, Toronto has been having a ton of success offensively, ranking fourth in the NBA in points scored per game, and now they get to take on one of the worst defensive teams in the entire NBA.
Indeed, the Lakers are allowing 104.7 points per contest, which puts them 28th in the league in that category. Coach Byron Scott has typically been known for instilling defense-centric philosophies, but we haven't seen much of that in sunny Los Angeles this season. The Lakers have been awful defensively, and that's not going to change here over the final stretch of the season.
It looks like Kyle Lowry will be out for tonight, which means Greivis Vasquez will be the likely starter at the point guard spot. What that means is DeMar DeRozan is going to have even more usage in the offense, while the surrounding parts are all going to have to step up too. For the Lakers, that backourt of Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson has been playing well and has been the most reliable and productive part of the team in recent weeks.
So, even with Lowry out, we think NBA Picks on the OVER has a great shot of hitting in Toronto this evening. Neither one of these teams have done anything defensively to impress, so let's be on the lookout for a high-scoring game. DeRozan should have his way with a Lakers backcourt that has been giving up tons of points to opposing guards, while Jonas Valuncinus and Amir Johnson (along with Patrick Patterson) should have a lot of success offensively too.
NBA Pick: OVER 203
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets
Here's another game that should feature plenty of offense, as Houston gets ready to host Minnesota in a battle between one of the best teams in the Western Conference and one of the worst. In fact, the Timberwolves have all but given up on the season and seem perfectly content with testing out their younger players as the season comes to a close.
When we look over the top sportsbooks, we see Houston favored by a whopping 13 points, while the NBA odds total is at 206.
Ahead of tonight, the Rockets are averaging 103.2 points per game (8th-best in the NBA), but they haven't been all that good defensively, surrendering just a shade over 100 points a contest too. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves have been horrific defensively, ranking 30th in scoring defense while playing at a high tempo all season long. Both teams like to push the pace here, and that's one of the main reasons we like the OVER.
Houston should face little resistance in scoring the basketball tonight, especially now that Dwight Howard is back in the mix. James Harden and company are going to put up at least 100 points here, so it's going to come down to whether or not the shorthanded Timberwolves can hold their own in what's going to be a likely blowout.
The Rockets have been playing at the second-fastest pace this season, while the Timberwolves are ranked ninth in PACE. Add it all up and we can see the OVER having a great chance of hitting. We'll be completing our sports picks by trying to beat the total.
NBA Pick: OVER 205.5 at Pinnacle