It was a small four-game card Monday night in the NBA, but it packed a punch. Two of the four games were decided by one possession and the others were decided by six points or less.
Kicking off the action were the New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, who produced a barnstormer. The Cavaliers looked to have the game in hand, but the Knicks tied the game late. However, a clutch three-pointer from Darius Garland was enough to seal the deal for the 29-19 Cavaliers.
However, it wasn’t enough for bettors to cover the NBA spread. The Cavaliers were the -5 favorites, so although they won the game, bettors who took the Knicks +5 were the ones smiling after the 95-93 loss. It was a typical low-scoring Eastern Conference game, which saw the 202½ total go under by 14½ points. The over never looked like cashing with the Knicks scoring only 19 points in the third quarter.
There was more offense in the second game involving the Indiana Pacers and the New Orleans Pelicans. The 218 total soared over by 12 points and it never looked in doubt after a 63-point first quarter. NBA betting markets had the Pelicans as -4 favorites, so the 117-113 final resulted in a push.
There was little between them throughout the contest as the Pelicans pulled ahead in the third quarter by four points and that margin stayed steady. It was their 18th win overall and 11th at home, and it handed the Pacers their 19th road loss in 24 games.
The most exciting game on the Monday NBA card was the Chicago Bulls vs. Oklahoma City Thunder. Early money was with the Thunder, but a late rally for the Bulls looked set to pay off. The Bulls had a 12-point lead after the third quarter, but a spirited finish from the Thunder saw the +1 betting online spread push.
It was a shocking result for Bulls’ backers, especially because they were doing it without many of their superstars.
“Two of our primary ball handlers in Lonzo (Ball) and Alex (Caruso) are not here, and when you get into these situations in the fourth quarter where teams turn up the defensive pressure and pick up full court, you’ve got to be able to handle it,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan told ESPN.
A lapse in the fourth quarter hurt bettors and it was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander putting in work for the Thunder. He had 31 points and 10 assists, which also helped the over 217½ narrowly cover by 3½ points.
There was also a strong betting move in the Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns. The Suns are the hottest team in the NBA and it showed as the line closed at -12½ points, which was too high. The Suns won the game 115-109 on the back of a 30-22 fourth-quarter performance, so they did well to win the game. They are the best fourth-quarter team — and it’s not even close — but the spread was in danger at halftime.
Phoenix held a 10-point first-quarter lead, but it was quickly cut to a two-point deficit in the third. The sportsbook had the total at 220, which wasn’t enough as it went over by four points.