He’s ba-ack! After two and a half years away from the court, Klay Thompson will make his return to the Golden State Warriors tonight. What should you expect? I’ve got my eye on one key prop for that game, and I’ve identified a pair of other plays elsewhere in the association that should net you a positive return.
Here are my top NBA betting picks for Sunday’s action.
Written Picks YTD: 68-68-0 (+11.4u)
Model ATS Picks YTD: 70-56-2 (+7.7u)*
Model ML Picks YTD: 9-14 (+4.0u)*
*Follow me @is_sirois for the model’s picks.
1. Warriors 1H u57.5 | -106 at FD Sportsbook
I don’t know who woke up at FanDuel Sportsbook and decided to hand out free money today, but hey — thank you. Sure, the Golden State Warriors will get Klay Thompson back for this game. But the now 31-year-old hasn’t played since 2019, and the books have his points prop set at just 12.5. As such, he shouldn’t single-handedly propel the Warriors over this number.
Also, Golden State has stayed Under their full-game totals 66.7% of the time this year. Their opponents, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have stayed Under in a similar 60.5% of their games. Both squads boast defenses that rank top three in efficiency.
But we’re not targeting the full-game total here. Instead, we’re playing Golden State’s first half under because of another key trend — first half production. The Warriors score just 54.6 points per first half, which ranks 18th in the NBA. Most of Golden State’s offense has come in the second half of games this season. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers surrender just 51 points per first half, the association’s lowest such number.
That said, FanDuel has loaded this first-half number up with more than half of Golden State’s full-game total (112.5). They’re also giving us friendly juice here to boot. Let’s not look this gift horse in the mouth.
2. Timberwolves 1Q -2.5 | -105 at FD Sportsbook
I expect the Timberwolves to cover a seven-point spread tonight, but you will find a little bit more value on this line instead of the full-game spread. The Wolves usually escape their first quarters with a lead, as they rank seventh in first-quarter margin (+1.8). In contrast, the Rockets typically find a way to start their games in a hole, as they rank 26th in first-quarter margin (-2.6).
Recent games have only made these trends more apparent. In their last three outings, Minnesota has gotten out to an average lead of 9.7 points after the first quarter, while Houston has started out with an average deficit of 7 points.
The Houston Rockets have a number of issues to work out as a team. Drama broke out last week when assistant coach John Lucas tried to call out Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood for a lack of effort early against the Denver Nuggets. The Rockets are just 1-9 over their last 10 games, and they allowed the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks to build a 20-point lead in their last first quarter — and on their home floor, no less. The Minnesota Timberwolves should capitalize against their reeling opponents.
3. Mo Bamba Double-Double | +200 (.25u) at FD Sportsbook
Let’s wrap things up with a low-stakes longshot. Tonight’s NBA card is full of questionable players, which makes identifying true value somewhat difficult, and the matchup between the Wizards and Magic is no exception. Two key big men, Montrezl Harrell of the Wizards and Wendell Carter Jr. of the Magic, have received questionable tags heading into this one. If either of them miss time or are limited, Mo Bamba should capitalize, and that’s part of why we’re targeting this prop.
However, Bamba recorded a double-double with both Harrell and Carter active the last time he faced the Wizards. He totaled 14 points and 17 rebounds in the win. Bamba’s rebound rate in that game (33.7%) stands far above his season average (16%) as he truly dominated Washington’s smaller centers, Harrell (15% rebound rate) and starter Daniel Gafford (7.9%).
Bamba should also do some damage on offense here, too. Through their last seven games, the Wizards have permitted the third-most points per game to centers (28.4) and the fifth-most made threes (1.75). Bamba may average only 10.1 points per game, but he has a real shot to get his tenth double-double of the year in just his 32nd start.
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