This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
This Tuesday is a little busier than usual, with six games on the slate. The biggest news of the day is John Collins getting slapped with a 25-game ban for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. That's moved the line of Spurs at Hawks to -5.5 in favor of the Spurs from its open at -3.5.
Every team now has at least one win against the spread, but the Suns, Lakers and Heat remain undefeated ATS. Every team has also hit the under at least once, but the Jazz, Hawks and Magic have yet to hit the over.
Alex Barutha: Magic at Thunder (-2.5) – FD 10:34 AM CT
Both of these teams are 2-4, but the Thunder's +2.4 net rating suggests that they should actually be 4-2. Coincidentally, they're 4-2 against the spread this season. Also, Basketball-Reference's Simple Rating System (which takes into account net rating and strength of schedule) gives the Thunder a mark of 0.85, which is good for the 14th-best in the league. And this is despite Steven Adams – questionable for this contest – missing the past two games due to a knee injury. Meanwhile, the Magic have been healthy all season but have been underperforming. The Simple Rating System gives them a -4.19, which is five spots lower than the Thunder. Orlando is just 1-4-1 ATS. Finally, the referee crew for this game seems to favor the home squad, as they're a combined 121-78-2 ATS for the home team over the past two years. Though Orlando will probably pick things up soon, I'm not banking on it on the road against OKC's tough defense.
Ken Crites: Gordon Hayward Over 15.5 points (-118) – FanDuel (10:14am ET)
DraftKings is setting Hayward at 16.5 O/U, with the over at -120. I'll take the safer FanDuel option. The Cavs have given up 110+ points in four of six matches. Hayward has been a bit all over the map this season, but I like his chances versus Cedi Osman and Kevin Love. This is a Cavs team that just gave up 131 at home to the Mavs. Jaylen Brown is also still out (illness), so the C's need Hayward's pop.
Nick Whalen: Lakers to win (-305) vs. Bulls + UNDER 215.5 points – DK Sportsbook – 11AM
The Lakers have taken advantage of a soft-ish early schedule to race out to a 5-1 start, and they'll be in a great spot to move to 6-1 on Tuesday night. Chicago is one of the worst and least-efficient offenses in the league, and they've already banked losses against Cleveland, Charlotte and the Knicks – the Knicks! Meanwhile, Frank Vogel has the Lakers operating the NBA's best defense in the early going – they're surrendering just 96.5 points per 100 possessions. Offensively, the Lakers have been more efficient, but both teams rank in the bottom-half of the league in both points per game and offensive rating. Against all odds, a LeBron James-led team in the year of our lord 2019 is winning with defense. I think that continues Monday night.
James Anderson: Spurs moneyline (-240), Heat +4.5 (-110) = +170 on 2-team Parlay – FanDuel at 11:34 AM 11/5
The fully-rested/fully-healthy Spurs aren't losing to the John Collins-less Hawks. It's also worth noting that Dejounte Murray might be the best-equipped player in the league at slowing down Trae Young, but I'd still pick the Spurs to win if I knew Young was going to score 35 points. As for the Heat, Denver has not been as advertised this season and the Heat have been even better than I expected. This line reflects those two storylines to some extent, but in two home games Denver has beaten the Suns by one point in overtime and lost to the Mavericks by three points in regulation. The bet is that this will be a close game, which seems like a reasonable expectation as long as Justise Winslow (back) plays.