Start familiarizing yourself with benches if you want to make a profit this week. There is going to be a lot of strategic resting over the next few days. Some of it will be for seeding manipulation. Some of it will be for health purposes. Some of it will be to get one last look at reserves. But a good chunk of the games you're going to watch this week will include players you might not know very well.
That doesn't mean you have to avoid those games entirely. Benches mean different things to different teams. In some cases, the talent loss is more than made up for by a skewed line. Do your research. Take advantage of the market's lack of knowledge about some of the players who are going to get serious run this week. Here are Monday's best NBA bets.
Lines via William Hill Sportsbook and SportsLine
Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Suns -5
The thing that made the Oklahoma City Thunder special all season isn't available to them right now. Dennis Schroder's absence robbed the Thunder of their dominant three point guard lineups, and without them, they've been utterly ordinary in Orlando, posting a plus-0.3 net rating since Schroder left. The bubble Suns have decimated teams by 8.0 points per 100 possessions in Orlando. This line is based on ideas of who these teams were before arriving in Florida, not who they are now.
So who wins Thunder vs. Suns? And which side of the spread hits almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Suns vs. Thunders spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,700 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz: Over 228.5
The Mavericks are resting Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Dorian Finney-Smith on Monday, but their bench is ranked 12th in total points, seventh in field goal percentage and sixth in 3-point percentage. Lineups without Doncic or Porzingis have still scored a strong 112.6 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. Bench scoring is a staple of Rick Carlisle's success in Dallas, but without Porzingis and Finney-Smith, the already weak Dallas defense is going to be absolutely dreadful. Expect a high-scoring affair in this one.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Nuggets +5.5
At this point, it should be assumed that the Lakers aren't taking these games particularly seriously with the No. 1 seed wrapped up. Forget about their poor shooting; Frank Vogel is essentially using the entire bench as the postseason nears. There's no telling what his postseason rotation is going to be yet. Do you really want to give up 5.5 points in a game in which Vogel might throw J.R. Smith out there for 12 minutes for no good reason? You can treat the Lakers like a contender when they decide to start acting like one again.