NBA betting: Four picks for Monday's slate

DeMar DeRozan had nine games with 24 or more points last month and could have a good opportunity to bounce back on Monday night. Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

We've got a solid six games on the slate for Monday. The marquee contest is a Doc Rivers Special featuring one of his former teams, the Clippers, at his current team, the Bucks. The Bucks have been surging since the All-Star break, and this will be a major test of their level against one of the best teams in the league. There is plenty of other action on tap, as well, so as usual let's dig deeper into the matchups to find some angles and opportunities for players/teams outperforming expectations.

Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers under 225.5 points (-115).

There has been an NBA-wide trend of unders hitting since the All-Star break, and I see this game as a prime example of why. In the last stretch of the season, it seems that teams are gearing up for the playoffs and playing a more physical style of defense. The Bucks were atrocious on defense for most of the season, but since the break they have held their past five opponents to an average of 97.2 PPG. Milwaukee hasn't allowed a 100-point effort in four straight games. Meanwhile, the Clippers are on the second half of a back-to-back and just finished playing another of these physical, defensive-style matchups in an 89-88 win over the Timberwolves.

Jordan Poole over 15.5 points (-130).

Poole's production has been volatile all season, but since the All-Star break he has stabilized while playing with the second unit. Poole has averaged 22.0 PPG while scoring 15 or more points in five of his past six games off the bench. He faces a weak Jazz perimeter defense on Monday that has allowed the fifth-most points to opposing shooting guards this season.

DeMar DeRozan over 23.5 points (-105).

DeRozan got stifled by the Bucks' defense Friday, but before that he had torched the month of February with nine games of 24 or more points out of 10 opportunities and a 27.1 PPG average. He has a good opportunity to bounce back on Monday against a Kings defense that struggles against opposing forwards, allowing the fourth-most points to small forwards and the eighth-most points to power forwards.

Oklahoma City Thunder (+1.5) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-115).

While the Lakers are playing good basketball of late, and I do project they will find a way to make the playoffs, I can't agree with this line. This is the second straight game that Los Angeles has been favored over one of the elite teams in the West. The Lakers lost to the Nuggets on Saturday and while they match up better against the Thunder, Oklahoma City still deserves to be the favorites. The Thunder have won seven of their past eight games to move to the top of the Western Conference, and are playing some of the best ball in the league right now. According to the ESPN Analytics BPI Game Predictor, the Thunder have a 60.4% chance to win the game outright and, instead of getting points, should be favored by 3.1.

Projections and injury reports

Odds provided by ESPN BET. Basketball Power Index by ESPN Analytics. Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com.

Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets
7:30 p.m. ET, Barclays Center, New York

Records (Against the Spread)
Grizzlies: 20-41 (28-33-0)
Nets: 24-36 (27-30-3)

Line: Nets (-9.5) Total: 207.5
Money Line: Grizzlies (+340), Nets (-425)
BPI Projection: Nets by 8.3, straight up 77%, 219.1 total points.

Injury Report:
Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr., (GTD - Quadriceps); Derrick Rose, (OUT - Back); Ziaire Williams, (OUT - Back); Brandon Clarke, (OUT - Achilles); Scotty Pippen Jr., (OUT - Back); Desmond Bane, (OUT - Ankle); Marcus Smart, (OUT - Finger); Ja Morant, (OUT - Shoulder)
Nets: Ben Simmons, (GTD - Leg); Cam Thomas, (OUT - Ankle); Dariq Whitehead, (OUT - Lower Leg)

LA Clippers at Milwaukee Bucks
8 p.m. ET, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee

Records (Against the Spread)
Clippers: 39-20 (31-28-0)
Bucks: 40-21 (26-35-0)

Line: Bucks (-5.5) Total: 226.5
Money Line: Clippers (+180), Bucks (-210)
BPI Projection: Bucks by 1.7, straight up 56%, 237.8 total points.

Injury Report:
Clippers: Russell Westbrook, (OUT - Hand)
Bucks: Chris Livingston, (GTD - Groin); Giannis Antetokounmpo, (GTD - Achilles); MarJon Beauchamp, (GTD - Back); Khris Middleton, (OUT - Ankle)

Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. ET, Target Center, Minneapolis

Records (Against the Spread)
Blazers: 17-42 (27-32-0)
Timberwolves: 42-19 (30-28-3)

Line: Timberwolves (-14.5) Total: 210.5
Money Line: Blazers (+800), Timberwolves (-1400)
BPI Projection: Timberwolves by 16.1, straight up 92%, 223.0 total points.

Injury Report:
Blazers: Deandre Ayton, (GTD - Hand); Jerami Grant, (GTD - Quadriceps); Matisse Thybulle, (GTD - Hip); Scoot Henderson, (OUT - Thigh); Malcolm Brogdon, (OUT - Elbow); Shaedon Sharpe, (OUT - Abdomen); Robert Williams III, (OUT - Knee)
Timberwolves: Jaylen Clark, (OUT - Achilles)

Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz
9 p.m. ET, Delta Center, Salt Lake City

Records (Against the Spread)
Wizards: 9-51 (28-31-1)
Jazz: 27-34 (33-28-0)

Line: Jazz (-5.5) Total: 240.5

Money Line: Wizards (+180), Jazz (-210)
BPI Projection: Jazz by 6.9, straight up 72%, 239.4 total points.

Injury Report:
Wizards: Patrick Baldwin Jr., (GTD - Back); Isaiah Livers, (OUT - Hip)
Jazz: Lauri Markkanen, (OUT - Quadriceps); Otto Porter Jr., (OUT - Not Injury Related); Walker Kessler, (OUT - Foot)

Chicago Bulls at Sacramento Kings
10 p.m. ET, Golden 1 Center, Sacramento

Records (Against the Spread)
Bulls: 28-32 (31-28-1)
Kings: 34-25 (31-27-1)

Line: Kings (-6.5) Total: 227.5
Money Line: Bulls (+200), Kings (-240)
BPI Projection: Kings by 4, straight up 64%, 235.9 total points.

Injury Report:
Bulls: Alex Caruso, (GTD - Hamstring); Torrey Craig, (OUT - Knee); Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); Patrick Williams, (OUT - Foot); Zach LaVine, (OUT - Foot)
Kings: De'Aaron Fox, (GTD - Knee); Sasha Vezenkov, (OUT - Ankle)

Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers
10:30 p.m., Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles

Records (Against the Spread)
Thunder: 42-18 (38-21-1)
Lakers: 33-29 (27-35-0)

Line: Lakers (-1.5) Total: 238.5
Money Line: Thunder (+100), Lakers (-120)
BPI Projection: Thunder by 3.1, straight up 60%, 242.4 total points.

Injury Report:
Thunder: Jaylin Williams, (GTD - Knee)
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD - Achilles); Cam Reddish, (GTD - Ankle); LeBron James, (GTD - Ankle); Christian Wood, (OUT - Knee); Gabe Vincent, (OUT - Knee); Jarred Vanderbilt, (OUT - Foot); Colin Castleton, (OUT - Wrist)