Resting of players is something you need to prepare for in NBA betting
November 07, 2018 3:01 AM
by Tony Mejia
It was a good week last week as our picks on the Denver Nuggets over the Cavaliers in Cleveland and the Toronto Raptors to drop the Lakers at Staples Center came in by a combined margin of victory of 33 points.
Kawhi Leonard ended up not playing in Toronto’s win, deciding about an hour before tip-off that it wasn’t worth the risk of aggravating a sore foot to go out there and chase LeBron James around for 30-plus minutes, so LA ended up favored. The Lakers trailed 42-17 after a quarter.
Resting key players due to any minor ailment is an issue you have to work around when betting the NBA this time of year. Teams are consistently going to be cautious since we’re less than 10 games in.
Toronto’s Leonard, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Phoenix’s Devin Booker have joined reigning MVP James Harden in already missing games. Each is their team’s primary catalyst. On Monday, Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook suffered an ankle sprain that should knock him out for the foreseeable future.
Here are a couple of games to look at this week:
Rockets at Thunder (Thursday): The Thunder acquired talented 25-year-old German Dennis Schröder from Atlanta this past offseason specifically to help take pressure off Westbrook and will hand him the reins until the 2016-17 NBA MVP returns. With Paul George also in tow, OKC has a great chance to extend its five-game winning streak in Cleveland on Wednesday but must then return home to host Houston the following night.
The Rockets got Harden back from a hamstring injury over the weekend and bring a three-game winning streak into Oklahoma City. Expect them to be a road favorite of roughly 6-8 points in this TNT-televised high-profile game since they’ll be fresher due to Westbrook’s absence and the Thunder is playing its third game in four nights. OKC’s tired legs will be a factor, but so will the fact the Rockets just re-hired defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik after he retired in mid-September. They’ve already started turning things around following significant early regression, holding the Bulls and Pacers well under 100 points in their most recent wins.
That they’ll have one of basketball’s most respected minds on that side of the ball lending his expertise again is a major development. In the midst of a season-long five-game road trip culminates in San Antonio on Friday and has already yielded three wins, Houston has regained its superstar, its focus and a veteran presence it was scrambling to replace with little success. ROCKETS
Timberwolves at Kings (Friday): In Minnesota, there’s a different type of absence influencing matters. Standout wing Jimmy Butler is randomly sitting out games to ensure he remains healthy as a ploy to get himself traded since he’s livid that the Timberwolves haven’t secured his long-term future, valuing younger core players Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins instead. He’ll get his ticket out of town sooner than later since this has become a major distraction that has compounded guards Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose being out of the lineup with legitimate injuries.
While Butler may play and even star in Wednesday’s huge nationally-televised clash against a Lakers team he’s already helped take down once, I’d expect him to opt out of playing in Friday’s stop in Sacramento. The much-improved Kings will likely be favored by a few points if he sits and make an excellent choice to hold serve given all the dysfunction currently engulfing the Timberwolves. Even if Butler suits up, Sacramento has better chemistry and will continue to be the NBA’s biggest surprise. KINGS
Last week: 2-0