The Oklahoma City Thunder have the most road covers in the NBA. The Minnesota Timberwolves have the fewest home covers. Sometimes, the NBA odds are easy.
Occasionally, a game comes along where picking against the NBA odds couldn’t be any easier. Monday’s seven-game NBA schedule has one of those when the Oklahoma City Thunder head to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As of this writing, the Thunder are 2½-point favorites, according to information provided courtesy of The Action Network, to win in Minnesota and that is a line to jump head-first into.
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At 14-5 on the road against the spread, no NBA team has performed better against the NBA odds as a visiting team than OKC. At 5-11-1 ATS at home, no NBA team has been worse against the odds as a home team than the Timberwolves.
Seriously, this one feels like stealing.
The Thunder come in relatively healthy, with backup center Nerlens Noel, with a sprained ankle, the only rotational piece out of action due. The Timberwolves have been getting healthier of late, but on Saturday Karl-Anthony Towns missed his 13th consecutive game as he tries to come back from a sprained left knee.
In their first meeting of the season, the Thunder won and covered 3½ points with a 139-127 win at Oklahoma City.
The Timberwolves have won, and covered, each of their last three games at home, but the Thunder rarely falter on the road and have six consecutive covers as the visiting team. Sometimes the play that looks like the easiest to pick looks that way … because it is.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Thunder), Fox Sports North (Timberwolves)
Tickets: Target Center, 7 p.m. local (8 p.m. Eastern)
Records: Oklahoma City 22-17 (26-13 ATS, 14-5 road ATS), Minnesota 15-23 (16-20-2 ATS, 5-11-1 home ATS)
Availability report (as of 8:30 p.m. Eastern on Sunday)
Oklahoma City: OUT–Luguentz Dort (two-way, G League), Kevin Hervey (two-way, G League), Nerlens Noel (left ankle sprain), Andre Roberson (left knee injury recovery).
Minnesota: OUT–Jake Layman (left toe sprain), Kelan Martin (two-way, G League), Jordan McLaughlin (two-way, G League), Jaylen Nowell (G League); QUESTIONABLE–Karl-Anthony Towns (left knee sprain).
Here’s a quick look at the rest of Monday’s NBA schedule:
New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons
TV: Fox Sports New Orleans (Pelicans), Fox Sports Detroit (Pistons)
Tickets: Little Caesars Arena, 7 p.m. local (7 p.m. Eastern)
Records: New Orleans 14-26 (18-19-2 ATS, 8-10-2 road ATS), Detroit 14-26 (14-25-1 ATS, 8-12 home ATS)
New Orleans: OUT–Josh Gray (two-way, G League), Darius Miller (right Achilles surgery), Kenrich Williams (right lower back soreness), Zion Williamson (right knee scope); QUESTIONABLE–Derrick Favors (right hamstring strain), Jrue Holiday (left elbow tricep strain), J.J. Redick (left hamstring strain).
Detroit: OUT–Blake Griffin (left knee soreness), Reggie Jackson (stress reaction, left lumbar spine), Luke Kennard (bilateral patella tendinitis), Louis King (two-way, G League), Khyri Thomas (right foot surgery).
Notable: The Detroit Pistons are reeling a bit, having gone just 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games and covering at home has been an even bigger problem. Detroit is just 1-7 ATS in its last eight games at Little Caesars Arena. That includes losses to the lowly Cavaliers and Bulls in their last two games.
The New Orleans Pelicans are banged up, with rotation regulars Derrick Favors, Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick all questionable (a 50/50 chance of playing). While the Pelicans are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games, they come in off a blowout loss at Boston on Saturday without the three players listed above. This may be a game to steer clear of.
Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia (76ers), Fox Sports Indiana (Pacers)
Tickets: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 7 p.m. local (7 p.m. Eastern)
Records: Philadelphia 25-15 (18-21-1 ATS, 8-12 road ATS), Indiana 24-15 (20-16-3 ATS, 10-7-3 home ATS)
Philadelphia: OUT–Joel Embiid (left hand, torn radial collateral ligament), Marial Shayok (two-way, G League), Zhaire Smith (G League).
Indiana: OUT–Brian Bowen (two-way, G League), Naz Mitrou-Long (right ankle sprain), Victor Oladipo (right knee rehab); QUESTIONABLE–Malcolm Brogdon (strep throat), Domantas Sabonis (sore left knee).
Notable: The Philadelphia 76ers are without Joel Embiid and have gone just 1-4 ATS in their last five games. The last time they went to Indianapolis on Dec. 31, Embiid was out with a different ailment and the Indiana Pacers hammered the Sixers 115-97, covering as 3½-point favorites. Philadelphia, as of this writing is a 1½-point favorite.
This line may shift when the availability of Pacers’ starters Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis is determined. Sabonis has been huge for Indiana and while Myles Turner stepped up with a big-time performance on Friday against the Bulls, the Pacers have only one cover in their last four games at home.
Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics
TV: NBC Sports Chicago (Bulls), NBC Sports Boston (Celtics)
Tickets: TD Garden, 7:30 p.m. local (7:30 p.m. Eastern)
Records: Chicago 14-26 (19-20-1 ATS, 10-8-1 road ATS), Boston 26-11 (21-14-2 ATS, 10-7-1 home ATS)
Chicago: OUT–Wendell Carter Jr. (right ankle sprain), Otto Porter (left foot fracture), Max Strus (left knee, ACL surgery); PROBABLE–Ryan Arcidiacono (right elbow discomfort), Daniel Gafford (left ankle sprain), Chandler Hutchison (right shoulder soreness), Lauri Markkanen (left ankle sprain).
Boston: OUT–Tacko Fall (two-way, G League), Tremont Waters (two-way, G League), Robert Williams (left hip, bone edema); QUESTIONABLE–Vincent Poirier (right pinkie fracture), Daniel Theis (right knee soreness).
Notable: The Chicago Bulls did snap a cold streak against the spread with their win at Detroit on Saturday, but are still just 1-5-1 ATS over their last seven games. The Boston Celtics haven’t been paying off well either, going just 3-6 ATS in their last nine contests and have just one cover in their last five at home.
These teams played in Chicago a little more than a week ago — Jan. 4 to be precise — and the Celtics won and covered at one-point underdogs in that one, 111-104. Boston is also 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against the Bulls at TD Garden. There could be some interesting rotations among the bigs with Wendell Carter Jr. out for Chicago and Daniel Theis questionable for the Cs.
Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers
TV: Fox Sports Southeast-Charlotte (Hornets), NBC Sports Northwest (Trail Blazers)
Tickets: Moda Center, 7 p.m. local (10 p.m. Eastern)
Records: Charlotte 15-27 (20-21-1 ATS, 11-10-1 road ATS), Portland 16-24 (15-24-1 ATS, 6-11-1 home ATS)
Charlotte: Not required to submit report until 4 p.m. Eastern. In Sunday’s 100-92 loss at Phoenix, the Hornets did not have Robert Franks (two-way, G League), Caleb Martin (G League), Jalen McDaniels (G League) or Kobi Simmons (two-way, G League).
Portland: OUT–Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation), Rodney Hood (left Achilles tendon rupture), Skal Labissiere (left knee inflammation), Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture); QUESTIONABLE–Mario Hezonja (back contusion); PROBABLE–Hassan Whiteside (upper respiratory illness).
Notable: The Charlotte Hornets enter on a SEGABABA after losing at Phoenix Sunday night, 100-92. Charlotte shot poorly (41.9 percent overall, 22.9 percent 3-point), negating a strong performance from their defense. The Hornets are 4-2 ATS over their last six games, however, and face a Portland Trail Blazers club that has gone just 2-8 ATS over its last 10.
Portland has failed to cover in five straight games at home, going 0-4-1 ATS, and their 6-11-1 home ATS mark is the third-worst percentage in the NBA behind the Spurs (6-14) and Timberwolves (5-11-1). These teams have not met this season, but the Blazers should have Hassan Whiteside back after they were forced to start Anthony Tolliver at center on Saturday.
Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings
TV: Fox Sports Florida (Magic), NBC Sports California (Kings)
Tickets: Golden 1 Center, 7 p.m. local (10 p.m. Eastern)
Records: Orlando 18-21 (18-19-2 ATS, 9-8-1 road ATS), Sacramento 15-24 (20-19 ATS, 7-12 home ATS)
Orlando: OUT–Al-Farouq Aminu (right knee, torn meniscus), Melvin Frazier (G League), Jonathan Isaac (left knee, posterior lateral corner injury/medial bone contusion), Vic Law (two-way, G League); QUESTIONABLE–D.J. Augustin (left knee contusion), Michael Carter-Williams (left shoulder, AC joint sprain), Aaron Gordon (right calf tightness).
Sacramento: OUT–Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle soreness), Kyle Guy (two-way, G League), Richaun Holmes (right shoulder soreness), DaQuan Jeffries (two-way, G League); QUESTIONABLE–Marvin Bagley III (left foot sprain), Cory Joseph (illness); PROBABLE–Nemanja Bjelica (right ankle sprain).
Notable: The Sacramento Kings are slight favorites in this one despite their 2-9 ATS record in their last 11 games at home, while the Orlando Magic come in with a 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. Both teams are dealing with a number of injuries; the Magic won’t have Jonathan Isaac, while D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams (two of their three point guards) are questionable.
Sacramento is without Bogdan Bogdanovic and Richaun Holmes, with Marvin Bagley III and Cory Joseph questionable. If neither Holmes nor Bagley can play, they may opt to go small. The Kings played Trevor Ariza 32 minutes off the bench against the Bucks and shifted Nemanja Bjelica to the 5. Two things: 1) The Kings lost by 21 and 2) Bjelica against Nikola Vucevic could get ugly … fast.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Lakers
TV: Fox Sports Ohio (Cavaliers), Spectrum SportsNet (Lakers)
Tickets: Staples Center, 7:30 p.m. local (10:30 p.m. Eastern)
Records: Cleveland 12-27 (17-20-2 ATS, 9-9-1 road ATS), Los Angeles 32-7 (21-16-1 ATS, 10-8-1 home ATS)
Cleveland: OUT–Larry Nance Jr. (left knee soreness), Kevin Porter Jr. (left knee sprain), Dylan Windler (stress reaction, left lower leg); QUESTIONABLE–Dante Exum (illness).
Los Angeles: OUT–Kostas Antetokounmpo (two-way, G League), Devontae Cacok (two-way, G League), DeMarcus Cousins (right knee rehabilitation), Talen Horton-Tucker (G League), QUESTIONABLE–Anthony Davis (gluteus maximus contusion), Rajon Rondo (right ring finger strain); PROBABLE–Avery Bradley (flu-like symptoms), LeBron James (flu-like symptoms).
Notable: The Cleveland Cavaliers come in looking for an inexplicable third consecutive road win after getting victories at Detroit and Denver in their last two outings. Cleveland has been a pretty good road bet of late, going 4-1 ATS in its last five away from home. The Los Angeles Lakers have won eight in a row, but they’ve not been a lock at home, going 2-4-1 ATS in their last seven.
These teams split road victories last season, but the Lakers are a slightly different team this year with Anthony Davis and a host of new role players on board, so the head-to-head history is essentially irrelevant. Los Angeles got the win and cover at Oklahoma City on Saturday without Davis or LeBron James. Davis is questionable for Monday; James is probable.