One thing can be said for sure these last two weeks, do not bet the NBA if you’re not looking for a challenge. Today has one of the longest injuries reports I have seen in my last 12 years of handicapping the NBA. That being said, it doesn’t mean we can’t find the winners. After looking at the NBA odds, I found the winning Banker and 2-team parlay.
Chicago Bulls vs Toronto Raptors
For those who are becoming familiar with my columns and writings here, you know that I’m not fond of laying double digits. However tonight I will do something that I’m not fond of and look to the Chicago Bulls. The Toronto Raptors injury report is overwhelming with Scottie Barnes, Fred Van Vleet, Gary Trent Jr, and Pascal Siakam all sitting for the Raptors. The Bulls have been hit by covid too, but they still have most of their top players. Although Zach LaVine is doubtful, the
Bulls will still be able to start DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Lonzo Ball. With these three active, it will definitely be enough to take on a wounded Raptors team that will only be playing one of their normal five starters, OG Anunoby. Although the Raptors are known for their hard-nosed playing style and depth, this will be too much to overcome for a team that has been rocked by the covid protocols.
This has been an unprecedented situation in the NBA with the league creating hardship exceptions on the fly so that players from the G League can join rosters without affecting the team salary cap. Some of these players will use their big chance to shine, but for a lot of them, we will see why they were in the G League. Contrast this with the Chicago Bulls team that is starting most of their best players and have been one of the best teams in the league. I do not think the Bulls will “play with their food” tonight. The Bulls will get it done and in convincing, dominating fashion. Tonight’s Banker is the Chicago Bulls – 9.5.
Houston Rockets vs Milwaukee Bucks
So here is a different situation than the Bulls game above. While Toronto missing their starters and moving to G League players represents a significant drop off, the Houston Rockets have already committed themselves to a developmental year. Therefore, the drop-off between the Rockets young players and the G league players is not as severe as the Raptors drop off. The Bucks will have their 2 of their best players in the lineup with Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. Yet They are missing the star and leader of their team Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as Bobby Portis.
The Rockets still have talented players in Christian Wood, Jesean Tate, Alperen Sengun, and Eric Gordon. I believe this Rockets young team will fight to keep themselves close in this game and not allow themselves to get blown out here in Milwaukee. The G league players will not represent the typical drop off, so the Rockets should still perform fairly close to the metrics that we have been valuing them at all season. The first half of the two-team parlay is the Houston Rockets +9.5.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics
The Cleveland Cavaliers have definitely been hit with covid protocols. With Jarett Allen and Evan Mobley out, the team does not have the same powerful frontcourt that they have been using to win plenty of games and cover plenty of spreads. However, they still have Darius Garland, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, and Lauri Markkanen to field a strong team against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have not necessarily been hit that hard, but this game would be close to a pick em with everyone in. I’m not sure if the line move here is warranted as I believe the Cavaliers can absorb these absences and still put up a competitive fight. The second half of tonight’s two-team parlay is the Cleveland Cavaliers +6.