Talks of defense being dead is greatly exaggerated in today’s NBA. Despite the ridiculous scoring numbers, defense still decides the outcome of many games. With eight NBA games this Tuesday, let’s look at three matchups where defense can cash a three-leg NBA parlay that pays almost 3-1 per the NBA odds.
Lakers and Raptors Get Ugly
The Los Angeles Lakers (31-19) face the Toronto Raptors (20-30) in Tampa Bay looking to snap an 11-game losing skid against them. I don’t see that happening with Toronto favored at -130. But I see this game being downright ugly and low-scoring ,as has been the case for most of L.A.’s road games.
The totals have gone under in 17 of the Lakers’ 23 road games. This team is ranked last in the NBA in offensive rating as the only team under 100 since LeBron James got hurt with an ankle injury. On the other end, 13 of the Raptors’ 23 games have gone under as well.
Toronto has struggled this season with both a middling offense and defense. While they exploded against the Warriors, that’s more of an aberration than a trend. Their two best offensive players, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet will be out with injuries.
Bet online for this game to go under the 210 points oddsmakers are calling for. Seven of the last ten meetings between these teams have gone under. Something about this matchup leads to castle-building with all the bricks. Add the under to the parlay.
Pick: Under 208½ -110
Clippers Neutralize Blazers
In a battle between two prolific offenses, bank on the Los Angeles Clippers (33-18) to take out the Portland Trail Blazers (30-19). This should be a high-scoring affair with plenty of threes being exchanged between both teams.
But the Clippers should outlast the Blazers thanks to a more functional defense. The Blazers’ defense ranks in the bottom-ten in most shooting categories. Despite the additions of Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr., it’s the same story for Portland.
The Clippers eviscerated them early in the season, scoring 76 points in the first-half. They dropped 18 threes in the game and won the turnover battle, recording 13 steals and forcing 17 turnovers.
Additionally, Damian Lillard has struggled against Kawhi Leonard’s recent teams. He’s lost his last four against them dating back to March 2019 and is shooting just 36.2% in this span. Kawhi locks up Dame and the Blazers again.
Pick: Los Angeles Clippers ML -235
Bucks Extend Warriors’ Misery
Steph Curry is healthy for the Golden State Warriors (23-27), which makes their recent slump more worrisome for fans. The Warriors have dropped seven of their last eight including a 53-point blowout loss against the struggling Raptors. Albeit, Curry sat out this game but being down 61 at one point is “humiliating” as Steve Kerr put it.
I don’t think the Milwaukee Bucks (32-17) will smash Golden State by 53 points. But I still see them as dominant victors here. Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) is likely playing as they look to follow up their 39-point rout of the Warriors from Christmas.
Milwaukee gives up a fairly large amount of threes as part of their defense, and Curry will be out for blood following Golden State’s recent losses. But the Bucks have better scoring overall and have limited Curry to just 37.5% shooting (26% from three) in their last three meetings.
It’s a desperate time for Golden State, but Milwaukee will roll with their punches and handily beat them here.