Thunder vs. Celtics, Spurs vs. Warriors

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We hit on two of our three NBA bets last Friday, cashing on the favored Grizzlies and Kings but, predictably, falling victim to a Stephen Curry 3-point avalanche in the Cavaliers’ loss to the Warriors on Friday.

We’re back at it for this Monday slate, which is chock full of plucky teams at compelling prices – including two worth betting against last year’s NBA Finalists.

Here’s how we’re betting this week’s early games at BetMGM:

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NBA Monday predictions, picks (via BetMGM)

  • Magic -1.5 vs. Hornets
  • Thunder +11.5 @ Celtics
  • Spurs +7.5 @ Warriors

Magic vs. Hornets prediction and analysis

So much for LaMelo Ball’s return saving these lowly Hornets, who have now lost eight straight after Saturday’s 17-point loss to the Heat.

As evidenced in that one, this team hasn’t been particularly competitive in that eight-game stretch. Charlotte has gone 2-6 against the spread in that run with the NBA’s worst net rating (-13.0) and least-efficient offense (100.6 points per 100 possessions). Ball’s presence certainly helps the latter, in theory, but his team allowed its second-most points all season (132) in his lone appearance on the court.

The Magic, meanwhile, have won two straight and are a nightly threat behind breakout star Paolo Banchero, who ranks in the top 20 in scoring (23.5 PPG) and could potentially crash this year’s All-Star game as a rookie. If he’s the best player on the floor on Monday, Orlando should be in position to pull this one out.

Magic vs. Hornets pick: Magic -1.5 (BetMGM)

Josh Giddey
Josh Giddey
NBAE via Getty Images

Celtics vs. Thunder prediction and analysis

Oklahoma City was supposed to be at the forefront of teams tanking this season for 2023 super prospect Victor Wembanyama. There’s only one problem: nobody told that to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The fifth-year guard has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Thunder, averaging 31.1 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds to carry OKC to the sixth-best ATS record (8-5) in the league. His 37 points on Sunday helped this team earn its sixth win in its last 10 games, and it’s lost just three games all year by double digits (10, 12, 14).

It’s simply hard to blow this team out, and I don’t expect anything different against the Celtics, who have won six straight but are short-handed with guard Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) still sidelined. He would have helped corral the Thunder’s surging star; assuming SGA can stay hot on Monday, this will be a close one.

Celtics vs. Thunder pick: Thunder +11.5 (BetMGM)

Betting on the NBA?

Tre Jones
Tre Jones
NBAE via Getty Images

Warriors vs. Spurs prediction and analysis

Golden State has played 13 games so far this season. They have won by six or more points just twice in that span. So why do oddsmakers have such confidence in a blowout win here?

Curry bailed out this inconsistent offense with a 40-spot in Friday’s win over the Cavaliers, marking this team’s second win in its previous seven games. Then the reigning Finals MVP came down to earth (27 points) on Sunday, and the Kings easily waltzed past this group behind a 51.6% shooting display of its own.

The Spurs’ overall record (6-7) doesn’t inspire much more confidence than Golden State’s (5-8), yet its 8-5 ATS mark ranks sixth in the league and has been fueled by a strong season from fourth-year breakout star Keldon Johnson (23.6 PPG). San Antonio has played as good as, if not better than, the defending champions and deserves more respect than this line suggests.

Warriors vs. Spurs pick: Spurs +7.5 (BetMGM)

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