This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, the RotoWire team gets together and offers their favorite bet of the day.
Editors note: These picks were made before the news that Damian Lillard is out with back spasms. The line for Portland at New Orleans has moved to Pelicans +1 at a number of books.
James Anderson: Ja Morant Over 27.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists (-134) – DraftKings at 10:27 AM
I like this bet because it gives you a couple outs – I think Morant could still hit this even if he has an off shooting night. It should be some combination of G-League-caliber players guarding him (Alec Burks, Jordan Poole, Ky Bowman), and nobody will be able to stay in front of him with any consistency. Morant is averaging roughly 27.5 P+R+A (27.7) on the season and 31.3 P+R+A in three games against bottom-10 defenses (by net rating), and that includes a 9-4-3 clunker against the Spurs on a 2-for-12 shooting night. The Warriors are the worst defensive team in the league by net rating (115.6).
Ken Crites: Trail Blazers -3 (-112) over Pelicans – 11:40am ET
Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers were humiliated last night in Houston, 132-108. Now they limp to nearby New Orleans for the second of a back-to-back with the injury depleted Pelicans. I think this goes one of two ways: either Lillard and McCollum forcibly drag the Blazers to a bounce back win OR they continue downwards on a death spiral. I'm betting on Dame and CJ. The Pels are missing Zion (of course), Derek Favors and Josh Hart. But they also have Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Frank Jackson as "questionable". Sounds like at least one of those three are out, maybe all three. Expect the Blazers to show some pride.
Nick Whalen: Ja Morant OVER 27.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-134) – DK Sportsbook, 11am
First of all, I was hoping to find a Carmelo Anthony prop for tonight, but no luck there. I checked. So I'll pivot to Morant, who goes up against the league-worst Warriors' defense, which is still without a number of its regulars. Morant has been hit-or-miss over his last handful of games, but he's topped 27.5 points/rebounds/assists in six of 12 games thus far, and there's a case to be made that this version of the Warriors is his most appealing matchup, to date. Golden State was able to keep it close against New Orleans on Sunday, but the Pels' starting backcourt combined for 48 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Jrue Holiday, alone, accounted for 39 combined points/rebounds/assists. Whether we see Point Draymond again or not, I like Morant to take advantage of an overmatched and inexperienced Warriors' backcourt.
Alex Barutha: Trail Blazers at Pelicans +4 (-110) – FanDuel 12:22 PM CT
These teams have been nearly identical in both real record and against the spread record, with Portland 5-9 (5-6-1 ATS) and New Orleans 4-9 (5-7-0 ATS). What's surprising is that the Pelicans actually have a superior rating (-3.1) to the Blazers (-3.3) in Basketball-Reference's Simple Rating System. While the Pelicans' extensive injury report is a factor in putting the line where it is, the Pelicans have accomplished their rating in the face of injury. They aren't suddenly unhealthy. The three leaders in total minutes for the Pels are Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick and Kenrich Williams. I'll take four points for the Pelicans as the home team, especially with the Blazers traveling on the second half of a back-to-back.