This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Tuesday's eight-game slate brings some interesting matchups, including two double-digit point spreads (Atlanta at Denver; Cleveland at Philadelphia). But we're focused on two different games: Portland at Sacramento, and New York at Chicago.
James Anderson: Bogdan Bogdanovic OVER 16.5 points (-106) – FanDuel, 9:45 AM
The Kings entered the season with three starting-caliber guards but with De'Aaron Fox out for a month, Bogdanovic should be able to show off his on-ball potential in the short term. Cory Joseph may get the start, but we all know exactly what Joseph is and isn't capable of. He's a good caretaker of a second unit, but Bogdanovic showed in the FIBA World Cup that he is more than capable of being the lead guard on a dynamic offense (29.4 points, 5.6 assists per-36). Additionally, Buddy Hield is great at what he does, but he's not a primary ball handler. The best offense the Kings will generate while Fox is out will involve Bogdanovic being an offensive hub. He scored 20-plus points in each of the two games before Fox's injury, and should average at least 20 per game over the next month. Only adding to the appeal is the fact the Blazers' guards are subpar defenders.
Nick Whalen: Knicks at Bulls UNDER 212.5 points – FanDuel, 10:30 AM
This is easily the headliner for me on a bigger-than-usual, eight-game Tuesday night slate. Battles will be waged all over the court. David Fizdale vs. Jim Boylen. Bobby Portis vs. his old team. Julius Randle vs. the shot clock.
From a betting perspective, I'm not confident that Chicago can cover the 6.0-point spread, even at home, but I like this game to go under 212.5. Both of these teams have worked their way into the middle of the pick defensively, and, more importantly, they remain in the bottom-five on the offensive end. Entering Tuesday, the Knicks own the NBA's worst offensive rating at 100.3 points per 100 possessions. That's very bad.
In a season where teams are averaging just over 110 points per game, the Knicks have topped that number just once – in an opening night loss to the Spurs. Since then, they've failed to even reach 100 points four times and failed to reach 90 points twice. Meanwhile, Chicago owns the fifth-worst offense in the league and ranks 28th in True Shooting (one spot ahead of New York). The Bulls have shown flashes of offensive competency – most recently, an explosive first half against the league-best Lakers defense – but they're coming off of a 94-point effort against a terrible Rockets' defense on Saturday.
Alex Barutha: Trail Blazers -1.5 (-110) at Kings – FanDuel, 11:31 AM
The Trail Blazers actually started as two-point underdogs prior to the news of De'Aaron Fox (ankle) being out until December. I would have still liked the bet then. Sacramento is 1-3 against the spread at home, while Portland is 4-2 ATS on the road. Basketball-Reference's Simple Rating system suggests the Blazers are around four points better than the Kings, and that's with Fox available. Sacramento has actually fared well in non-Fox minutes, with their two most frequent non-Fox lineups having net ratings of -4.2 and +11.0, respectively. However, I'm not sure how well that will translate across an entire game against opposing starters. The Blazers' two most frequent non-Zach Collins lineups have net ratings of -7.1 and +32.8. Overall, I believe the Blazers are in a good spot to take advantage of a struggling Kings team in a tough situation.
Eric Neuman: Knicks (+6) at Bulls – DraftKings, 9:35 AM
Rumblings about Knicks' head coach David Fizdale being on the hot seat began shortly before their 108-87 beat-down at the hands of a surprisingly-competent-thus-far Cavaliers' team on Sunday, which subsequently led to gasoline being thrown on the fire. Those flames have no doubt led to the Bulls laying an ambitious six points at home for this contest.
I anticipate this Knicks' squad bouncing back a la "win one for the gipper," rather than submitting a consecutive embarrassing defeat. Led by Bobby Portis' 31 points and 11 rebounds, New York has already handled Chicago once this season, giving them a 105-98 loss on Oct. 28. The former Bulls' big man has averaged 18.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in four games against his former squad – well above his averages against any other team – and should be in line for relatively healthy minutes with Mitchell Robinson (concussion) sidelined (attention, DFS players).
The Bulls are 1-3 at home and 2-2 ATS, while the Knicks are 1-5 on the road but 4-2 ATS. Basically, I'm about as comfortable trusting a Jim Boylen led Bulls' team covering a six-point spread as coach Fizdale is in trusting analytics. Give me the points in a game that should be as close as it is ugly.