NBA weekly betting preview: Don't bury Celtics after Hayward's injury
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The NBA got weird this past week. We saw 50-point games, big-man buzzer-beaters, a devastating injury to a resurgent star, and the "gummy" heard 'round the world.

Still, a few things carried on as normal: the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks are awesome, the Orlando Magic can't score, and the New York Knicks are apologetically bad ... literally.

Each week, we'll highlight some of the top betting angles and plays on the schedule. Here are some tips heading into this week's slate:

Note: Lines for Tuesday and beyond are released later in the week.


Mavericks at Celtics (-3.5, 218)

Gordon Hayward's injury on Saturday is highly unfortunate given how well the recovering superstar had played to start this season. But it doesn't mean bettors have to write off the Boston Celtics entirely.

Boston has the wing depth to absorb the loss. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown should find success with an increased workload against the Mavericks' below-average defense. Dallas has been a welcome surprise this year but is just 4-5 against the spread despite Luka Doncic's brilliance.

If Monday's game is as low-scoring as oddsmakers expect, it bodes well for Boston: the Celtics are 4-2-1 ATS when the total is 220 or lower, while the Mavs are 2-4 ATS in that spot.

Raptors at Clippers (-10.5, 223.5)

It's easy for bettors to get wrapped up in the storylines: Kawhi Leonard hosts the Raptors for the first time since leading them to their first NBA title in June. Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are out, leaving Toronto undermanned in its emotional trip to Los Angeles.

Yet those shorthanded Raptors emerged as nine-point winners against the Lakers on Sunday at Staples Center without Lowry or Ibaka, which came one game after Pascal Siakam dropped 44 points in New Orleans in a blowout victory. Toronto is surging and deserves better than +10.5 in this spot, even on short rest.

This year, double-digit favorites are 4-14 ATS; the four wins came against the Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Golden State Warriors. Expect the Raptors to put up a much bigger fight.


Pistons at Heat

The Pistons will travel to Miami on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Heat get three full days of rest. Since the start of 2015, unrested road teams are 26-16-1 ATS (60%) versus home teams with exactly three days' rest.

The Heat are 3-0 ATS at home this year and 3-0 when they have more rest than their opponent. Detroit will welcome back Blake Griffin on Monday, but he could struggle to find his legs in his first back-to-back of the year.

Lakers at Suns

If you're still late to the Suns' bandwagon, you either haven't been watching basketball or you haven't been reading these previews. And that's OK. Because the Lakers' allure will likely leave value on Phoenix once again.

Los Angeles star Anthony Davis continues to feel shoulder discomfort, which has contributed to the Lakers' 1-2 ATS run after a scintillating start. Meanwhile, the Suns' blazing 8-1 ATS start features only a blemish against the red-hot Heat, and they responded by clowning the Nets on Sunday.

If Phoenix is a short favorite here, lay the points with confidence. If the home team catches points, cue the eyes emoji.


Clippers at Rockets

The Rockets have been a major disappointment this year, opening the campaign with six straight ATS losses before beating up on three bad teams. The Clippers certainly don't qualify as such, though they've been pedestrian on the road.

Instead, the value here is on the under. The Rockets have seen an average closing total of 233.5 points and will see one north of 240 on Monday. Yet, under bettors fading those high totals have cashed in four of Houston's last five games, while L.A. is riding a 5-1 under run.

Warriors at Lakers

Remember earlier when we pointed out how poorly double-digit favorites have been this year? Rules need not apply here. While the rest of the NBA is 2-12 ATS as double-digit chalk, the Lakers are 2-0 in that spot with a pair of convincing wins.

LeBron James' teams have also covered six of their last seven when giving 10 points or more, and he should have no issue laying it on the hapless Warriors after losing to them three times in the Finals.


Nets at Nuggets

Last year, the Nuggets were cash cows as ATS bets at home, but they're a disappointing 1-3 ATS in Denver this year. The Nets are just as bad on the road (1-3 ATS), so it'll depend on whether oddsmakers give Brooklyn more than 5-6 points here.

If the line is too hefty, give the under a look. The Nuggets are 3-0-1 to the under at home this season, making it the better bet for the third straight year in that spot. The Nets' flashy offense could bolster this total, but altitude should drive the scoring down.

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

NBA weekly betting preview: Don't bury Celtics after Hayward's injury
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