The Breakfast Spread: Westbrook, Thunder Go Head-To-Head With Jazz
Paul George’s struggles continue, but the Oklahoma City Thunder win after Russell Westbrook has a verbal altercation with a fan. The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Chicago Bulls a day after calling up a G League player to help battle injuries. In college hoops, Wofford and Iona each win thier conference tournaments and earn NCAA Tournament bids. Here is a sports betting recap from Monday and a lookahead to Tuesday
George Struggles but Thunder Prevail
It wasn’t Paul George’s best performance on the court and it wasn’t Russell Westbrook’s best performance with opposing fans, but the Oklahoma City Thunder (-3.5) still managed a comfortable 98-89 victory on the road against the Utah Jazz.
George had one of his worst shooting nights of the season, going 2-for-8 from the field. Luckily for the Thunder, Westbrook and Dennis Schroder were feeling it.
Westbrook scored 23 points on 50% shooting, while Schroder added 24 points shooting 10-for-18. Steven Adams and Jerami Grant each scored 12 points of their own, helping to make up for George’s lack of production.
It’s not the only game that George has struggled in recently. In fact, George has scored 15 points or less in three of his last games. To put that into perspective, George had only scored less than 15 points once before last week and that was all the way back on Nov. 11.
Just yesterday it was reported that George might be playing with a minor tear in his rotator cuff, which could be an explanation for his uncharacteristic performances.
The Thunder might have covered the spread last night, but they’re only 2-8 ATS in their last 10. Going forward, it might be time to fade both the Thunder against the number and the Over on George’s points props.
Oklahoma City Returns to the hardwood Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Lakers Travel to Chicago (+1 DraftKings Sportsbook )
The Los Angeles Lakers will try to end a five-game losing streak as they take on the Chicago Bulls Tuesday.
Unfortunately for Lakers fans, it looks like the season will only get worse before it gets better. Now out of playoff contention, LeBron James is expected to see a reduction in his playing time. James averaged just 30 minutes in his last two games after averaging over 40 minutes in his previous three.
On top of less minutes for James, Brandon Ingram is likely to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
To help fill in, the Lakers have called up 33-year-old Andre Ingram from the G League. The name might be familiar. Last year, Ingram scored 19 points in his NBA debut.
The Bulls have injury problems of their own as the team’s leading scorer, Zach Lavine, will likely be sidelined with tendinitis in his knee.
It might be a little late to the party, but I’ll stick with the Lakers fade. I’m not sure a 33-year-old G League player is the answer for the Lakers, one of the worst teams to bet on in the NBA this season, to finally cover. Breakfast Pick: Bulls +1
Prop Shop: LeBron James Over/Under 26.5 Points (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Even with a minutes restriction, James scored 30 or more points in each of his last two games. Oddly enough, James took more shots than he did in the Lakers’ previous three games when they were still fighting to stay in the playoff race.
James’ points prop is down to 26.5 and there’s simply not as many scoring options on this Lakers team. If Kyle Kuzma is ruled out, I especially like the Overs. Breakfast Lean: LeBron James Over 26.5 points.
Temperature Meter: Hot in Houston
The Houston Rockets (-9.5) stay one of the hottest teams in the NBA, beating the Charlotte Hornets 118-106. The win makes it nine straight for the Rockets, and though Harden led Houston with 28 points, the MVP candidate continues to get help from teammates like Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and Kenneth Faried, all of whom added 15+ points Monday night. The cover makes the Rockets 4-1 against the number in their last five games.
Wofford, Iona Win Conference Tournaments
No. 20 Wofford (-7.5) defeated UNC Greensboro 70-58 but not before giving Greensboro backers a little bit of hope.
Greensboro lead Wofford 31-27 at halftime, and kept their lead with just five minutes left in the game.
Down 50-55, Wofford’s offense finally kicked into gear. With just over three minutes left to play, Wofford took the lead with a deep three-pointer. By the time the game was over, Wofford looked much more like the team that outscored UNC Greensboro by 59 points in two games during the regular season than like the team that trailed for the first 27 minutes of the game.
Wofford used 13 straight free throws to get a 70-58 win and cover the 7.5-point spread.
The only people watching this game more closely than bettors were Power 5 schools that are on the bubble. Win or lose, Wofford was going to get their 5th NCAA Tournament birth regardless. Thanks to the come-from-behind victory, a tournament bid won’t be taken by Greensboro.
Wofford wasn’t the only Mid-Major to earn a ticket to the big dance last night. Iona smashed the 4.5-point spread, beating Monmouth 81-60 to win the MAAC championship.
Heading into the tournament, Iona was one of three favorites at +350 to walk away with the tournament title and Monmouth was +1500 to do so.
The win makes it the school’s fourth straight MAAC Championship. They’ll likely be one of four 16 seeds to tip off the tournament in play-in games next Tuesday/Wednesday.
Stat of the Day:
One of the more interesting questions heading into Selection Sunday is where will Wofford be seeded. The NCAA introduced their new Net Rankings this season, which currently ranking Wofford No. 14. Wofford is second in the nation in three-point percentage, and their only four losses come to North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas and Mississippi State.
Looking for college hoops podcasts? Here’s your playlist for the big dance.
Thomas Casale looks at conference tournament odds and picks.
Which team will select Kyler Murray? Casale covers New Jersey draft odds here.
Jason Day’s WD leaves golf bettors scrambling for information.
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