With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesar's Sportsbook.
Let's get this out of the way: if you're picking a winner or against the spread, don't overcomplicate this. Take the Nets. If you exclude Sunday's blowout over Milwaukee's B-team, Cleveland is 2-10 in its last 12. The Nets are 36-19 in games Kevin Durant plays. Even the compromised Nets are a mismatch for Cleveland, but the books know that and the odds reflect it. There isn't much value here.
But this should be a very high-scoring game. The value here is limited as well. A point total line of 227 is certainly steep, but the over is still the wise choice here. Cleveland's defense is allowing 117.3 points per 100 possessions since Jarrett Allen went down, and even if Evan Mobley's absence explains part of that, it's worth noting they weren't much better with him in that span at 115.4 points per 100 possessions. Cleveland's defense relies on a few stellar players. Their backups all lean offense. Brooklyn's offense needs no introduction. Expect plenty of points in this one.
The pick: Over 227 (-110)
The Clippers and Timberwolves haven't played since January and D'Angelo Russell missed three of the four matchups. We can more or less throw out their head-to-head matchups here. Judging the Clippers on statistical merit feels a bit unfair as well. Paul George has played five games since Christmas. Norman Powell only just returned on Wednesday.
This is going to have to be a speculative pick based on the matchups, and on paper, Minnesota should have a major edge here. Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein have defended admirably this season, but Karl-Anthony Towns presents specific issues that are going to be difficult for them. There just aren't many big men comfortable defending him both on the block and on the perimeter. Jarred Vanderbilt is the only real non-threat on the perimeter the Clippers could sag off of in the name of doubling Towns, but even that is a dangerous game on a team with this many ball-handlers. Throw in home-court advantage and the Timberwolves are justifiably favored here.
The pick: Wolves -3 (-110)