NBA best bets and analysis for Monday, March 25th

Jonathan Von Tobel (106-97-3 | Units: +2.05) gives his daily NBA best bets and analysis for Monday, March 25th.

Mar 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) reacts after scoring past Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) in the first half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Best Bets for Monday, March 25th

Welcome to my daily column of NBA best bets! Here at VSiN we have a ton of NBA content daily, so make sure to keep tabs on Zach Cohen who is doing an excellent job handicapping the league on a daily basis.

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NBA Best Bets

Record: 106-97-3 | Units: +2.05 | ROI: 0.9%

Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets (-10, 215.5)

Houston improved to 10-1 SU and ATS in its last 11 games with a win and cover over Utah at home on Saturday. The underrated part of this run has been the improvement on offense for the Rockets, especially after losing Alperen Sengun to injury. 

Houston is second in the league in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (124.2) over this 11-game stretch. Not only is it scoring with more efficiency, but the team is running more as well. The Rockets pace has gone from 99.1 possessions per game prior to the All-Star break, to 101.47 since then. Their frequency in transition both overall and off live rebounds has increased too.

This has led to not only victories, but high totals as well. The over has hit in five straight Houston games, and it is 7-2 in the last nine contests. The Rockets have also been consistently surpassing their team totals, and that is where I am going tonight.

Portland is not only a subpar defensive team – 25th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency since the All-Star break – but it is also a poor defensive team in transition. The Trail Blazers are also one of the most turnover prone teams in the league. They have turned it over on 16.2% of their offensive possessions since the All-Star break, and rank 27th in that category on the season. Transition opportunities should be there for the Rockets today, and their improved offense should have success once again.

Best Bet: Rockets TT OV 118.5 (-120) – Playable to (-125)

*Indiana Pacers at *Los Angeles Clippers (-6, 237.5)

Los Angeles took another bad loss on Sunday when it fell to Philadelphia at home. The 76ers gouged the Clippers’ defense for 52 points in the paint, and they averaged 2.111 points per play in transition off live rebounds. These are two areas in which Los Angeles has struggled for some time now, and Indiana happens to thrive in both areas on offense.

For the season the Clippers rank 27th in overall transition defense (132.2). Opponents average 129.4 points per 100 plays off live rebounds. The Pacers have dipped in frequency of transition off live rebounds since Pascal Siakam joined the team, but they still play with pace and have averaged the fourth-most fastbreak points per game (18.3) since the All-Star break.

Los Angeles has also slipped to 20th in opponents points in the paint per game (50.5) since the All-Star break. Indiana leads the league in the same category on offense (60.0) over the same span, and for the season (57.9).

This swoon for the Clippers continues to grow, and their lead for homecourt advantage is down to just a half-game. Perhaps they come out with a renewed effort tonight, but defensively this has been the type of team to give Los Angeles trouble all season long. The Clippers could still win by margin here given how poor the Pacers’ defense has been, but Indiana should still be able to get its own offense going.

Best Bet: Pacers TT OV 113.5 (-115) – Playable to (-125)

NBA Best Bets

Rockets TT OV 118.5 (-120)

Pacers TT OV 113.5 (-115)

Remaining Games

*Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks (-17.5, 206)

New York’s team total was on the radar for me today as well, but the market moved quickly overnight. The opening number of 206 for the game seemed insane, and sure enough we are up to 211.5 this morning. However, this is going to be a risk for bettors just coming in now to bet this game over. The Knicks have been playing at a glacial pace recently. Since the beginning of February they are averaging 92.82 possessions per game. The next team in the league is averaging 95.07 per game! New York’s average closing total for a game has shrunk to 209.5 since the beginning of March! However, should Cade Cunningham and Jalen Duren play, the pace should pick up and the Pistons efficiency should improve. Hopefully a slow start gets me a better in-game opportunity to go over.

Charlotte Hornets at *Cleveland Cavaliers (-11, 205)

Cleveland was demolished by Miami last night in South Beach, but results like that do come with some positives. The Cavaliers’ starters played no more than 20 minutes due to the lopsided result. This is a back-to-back, but obviously one that is not as taxing considering the short workload for Cleveland’s starters. Still, the Cavaliers are playing their fourth game in six days with no rest. It would make sense that the Hornets are the side to back here, but the situation is not everything. Charlotte caught Atlanta in a terrible scheduling spot coming off of three days of rest, but was obliterated 41 points. The Hornets are 2-11 SU/4-8-1 ATS in their last 13 games and seemingly done playing competitive basketball. The spot says Charlotte, but recent history says the team is not trustworthy.

Boston Celtics (-11, 226) at Atlanta Hawks

Boston is in the midst of a six-game road trip due to TD Garden being used in the NCAA Tournament. It is also playing its sixth game in nine days after a day off, so it isn’t the best spot in the world for the Celtics. Especially once you consider the Hawks’ situation. Atlanta is also coming in after a day off, but is playing just its fourth game in eight days. Despite the injuries for the Hawks it would make sense to back them here, and the market has, as this number is down to 10.5 consensus. Unlike other bad teams as well, Atlanta has something to play for. While the Hawks are solidly in the Eastern Conference play-in, they are 2.5 games behind the Bulls for homecourt in the second play-in game. At the very least Atlanta should put forth a solid effort, unlike some of these eliminated teams which seemingly wave the white flag early in blowout losses.

Brooklyn Nets (-5.5, 216.5) at Toronto Raptors

Brooklyn is 4-8 ATS in its last 12 games. Toronto is 4-10 AS in its last 14 games. Something has to give in a meeting between two teams with nothing to play for. The Raptors still do not have either RJ Barrett or Immanuel Quickley back from the absences for personal reasons, and that has destroyed this team’s offense. They lack a true point guard and since Quickley’s departure they have averaged just 99.0 points per 100 possessions. The market jumped on this rapidly and pushed it up to 6.5 consensus overnight. Despite the absences of both Cameron Johnson and Dennis Smith Jr. for Brooklyn it is the most logical side. 

Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls (-9, 226)

This contest fits the parameters of the blowouts we have seen in recent weeks in the NBA. Chicago must maintain its spot in the standings in order to avoid a road game in Atlanta in the Eastern Conference play-in. Washington is eliminated and riddled with injuries. Tyus Jones and Kyle Kuzma are out, and Jordan Poole is questionable to play. This could be an ugly affair with the Wizards – 4-8 SU/3-9 ATS in March – getting run out of the building. But, the Bulls are not a team that one would consider capable of blowing out an opponent. They are 16-19-1 ATS at home this season, 14-15-1 ATS as a favorite and 9-12 ATS as a home favorite. Alex Caruso is questionable as well, and his defense will be needed to win by margin here. The market seems not to care as this is up to 12.5 consensus, but those getting in now are buying at the most expensive point.

Phoenix Suns (-11, 232.5) at San Antonio Spurs

Another game in which the massive favorite was bet up. Phoenix blew out San Antonio on Saturday by 25 points on Saturday as 10-point favorites. Today, the number is up in part due to the questionable status of Victor Wembanyama as well. Wembanyama did not play the entire fourth quarter on Saturday and logged only 21 minutes. It would be surprising to see him miss this game, but it is the time of year in which eliminated teams manage the minutes of their players. Should Wembanyama not play this number could close as high as 14.5 for the Suns which come into this game 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games.

Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets (-11, 215)

Brandon Clarke could be making his return from an Achilles injury soon, but it would seem that it is not tonight. Clarke joins a litany of Grizzlies whose status is in question tonight. Desmond Bane, John Konchar, Jake LaRavia, Lamar Stevens and Vince Williams are all some form of questionable or doubtful tonight. So too, are both Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Both took the night off in Portland on Saturday, so it is certainly likely one or both play tonight against Memphis. Still, it is paramount to make sure what their status will be before laying a number which is up to 15.5 consensus this morning.

Dallas Mavericks (-7.5, 234.5) at Utah Jazz

Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen are questionable to play for Utah tonight. Their status will be paramount to shaping this final number, so it would be wise to wait until their designation is official. Clarkson has missed seven consecutive games with a groin injury, but the questionable designation would indicate he is close to a return. Markkanen sat out on Saturday with what was considered injury maintenance. If that is the case it is likely he plays tonight. Still, the Jazz are the worst defensive team in the league by a wide margin (124.7) since the trade deadline. Regardless of Clarkson and Markkanen’s status, the Mavericks should be able to find success on the offensive end against this team.