This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Rockets at Pelicans, over 245.0 – FD, Monday, 12:47 PM CT
This is, by a 21.5-point margin, the highest over/under on the slate. It opened at 243.5, actually moved down to 242.5, and then the over got hit by sharp action. An astounding 94% of the money is on the over despite 60% of the bets leaning on the under. I'm actually not sure how sustainable this extreme of a number is. It might be best to hold off wagering on it until it, maybe, comes down.
I did some research trying to poke holes in the argument for the over, but I don't have one. This game is expected to be played at a pace of 109.1. The Pelicans have played four games at or above that pace, averaging 248 total points between both teams. The Rockets have three such games, averaging 264 total points. Both teams are bottom-seven in defense and are ranked first and second in pace.
Grizzlies (+11) at Spurs – FD, DK, Monday, 11:45 AM CT
It's easy to see how the spread for this game came about. Basketball-Reference's Simple Rating System gives the Spurs a -0.4 (13th), while the Grizzlies sit at -10.2 (29th). Both teams are also rested and healthy. San Antonio has obviously played better than Memphis, but both squads are 2-7 against the spread.
Unsurprisingly, the public is on the Spurs, with 56% of the tickets being written for the silver and black. However, sharps/big bettors are on the other side, as 82% of the money is on the Grizzlies. The line hasn't yet moved to reflect that, so there's still value to be had in betting Memphis here.
While the Spurs' SRS is much higher than the Grizzlies', the difference in net rating for the teams' starting fives is less dramatic. San Antonio's starting five is -2.5 points per 100 possessions, and Memphis' starting five is -8.0. The bench play for the Spurs has been excellent and is ultimately keeping them afloat, but I'm not ready to say that will be the case all season given our limited sample.