NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Pacers vs. Wizards, Cavaliers vs. Jazz, More (Monday, March 29)

Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz.

Monday’s NBA schedule brings us a massive slate of games, including two huge games on the NBA TV front: Pelicans vs. Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Bucks vs. Clippers (10 p.m. ET).

Our analysts walk you through their favorite bets for Monday featuring two favorites against struggling teams, an under in one of Monday’s late games.

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NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Pacers vs. Wizards 7 p.m. ET
Raptors vs. Pistons 8 p.m. ET
Cavaliers vs. Jazz 9 p.m. ET

Indiana Pacers vs. Washington Wizards

Pick Pacers -1.5 1H (BetMGM)
Tipoff 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: The Indiana Pacers got Caris LeVert back in their lineup a little more than two weeks ago and then proceeded to play: the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat (twice), Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and the Dallas Mavericks. Six of those teams are currently in contention for the postseason, and even still, they have led at half in six of those eight games.

The Pacers are 7-3 against the spread in their past 10 first halves (per Bet Labs), while their opponent on Monday night, the Washington Wizards, have trailed at half in eight of their past 11 games as a dog. Indiana is also 14-5 straight up against teams under .500 and has ranks 10th in Net Rating in the first halves over their past 10 matchups.

BetMGM has the best line (-1.5 1H) and I like the Pacers to cover the first half spread here up to -2.5.


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Toronto Raptors vs. Detroit Pistons

Pick Raptors -3 (PointsBet)
Tipoff 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: It’s pretty wild that the Toronto Raptors (12-33) and Detroit Pistons (18-28) are separated by just six wins in the standings. To put it another way, the Raptors are closer to the Pistons at the bottom of the East than they are to the New York Knicks who are sitting fourth in the conference.

Life comes at you fast.

The Raptors have just one win in the month of March. Luckily, the Raps may have met their match tonight, since the Pistons have also lost eight of their past 10 and don’t have any real incentive to change their losing ways.

The Pistons jettisoned Delon Wright and Blake Griffin and gone into full-on tank mode as the Pistons play their youth, and the team is especially depleted at guard, so much so that little-known Saben Lee is the starting point guard right now.

The Raptors are losing but often getting snake bit in the final minutes. They’ve lost six games by seven points or fewer of this 11-game stretch, and things could easily have bounced their way in the final two minutes of a few of those games.

It’s fair to point out that one of those losses came against the Pistons, and that it occurred when Toronto had Norman Powell and Kyle Lowry in its lineup. Powell has been traded since, and Lowry is a question mark tonight with an injury. But Detroit got a career game from rookie Saddiq Bey, with six 3-pointers, and the Raptors nearly won that game anyway.

Looking at these two rosters, the coaching and the motivations, one team has so much more to gain here. When the line is this close, I have to trust the team I believe in, and that’s Toronto.

The Raptors played Sunday, and they’re tired with their backs against the wall, but their upcoming schedule has some winnable games (Thunder, Warriors, Wizards, Lakers, Bull and Cavs). It’s now or never for Toronto, and this looks like a great place to start a season-saving winning streak.

I’ll trust what’s left of their championship core, even at its nadir, and play to -5.


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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Utah Jazz

Pick Under 220 (Bet Rivers)
Tipoff 9 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Raheem Palmer: To say the Cleveland Cavaliers struggle to score would be an understatement. They rank 30th in Offensive Rating scoring just 105.4 points per 100 possessions this season and they’ll be up against Rudy Gobert and a strong Utah Jazz defense that ranks third in Defensive Rating, holding teams to just 108.4 points per 100 possessions.

The Cavs rank in the bottom third of the league in shooting percentages in every area of the floor: 30th at field goal percentage at the rim (58.8%), 23rd in the mid range (40.3%) and 28th from behind the arc (34.7%). We simply can’t expect efficient offense from Cleveland in this game as the Jazz rank in the top 10 at defending every area of the floor.

If there’s one bright spot for the Cavaliers, it’s their defense, which is allowing 111.3 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks. Larry Nance has been a big part of that as the Cavs are +5.9 points better defensively with him on the floor.

While the Jazz shouldn’t have too many problems scoring — they’re second in Offensive Rating (119.1) — but the Cavs rank first in field goal percentage allowed at the rim (60.2%) and an improved defense with Nance back in the lineup could reduce their offensive output slightly.

These are two very fast paced teams — Jazz rank 16th in Pace (99.64) and the Cavs are 25th (98.11) — but I’m not expecting a shootout here. The Cavs mustered just 98 points against a Kings defense that is dead last in Defensive Rating, allowing (119.2) points per 100 possessions.

This feels like a game in which the Jazz win by double digits with the Cavs struggling to score. I played the under at 222, but I see value as low as 219 in this matchup.

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