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Inside the Paint - Monday
Now that the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournaments have concluded, the NBA will step in slowly and take over the national attention on the hardwood once again.

Bettors finishing or starting their weeks on Sunday watched the favorites go 6-2 straight up and 5-3 against the spread while the ‘over’ produced a 7-1 record.

Monday’s slate has seven games on tap, which includes a nationally televised double-header and that’s where we begin.

Game of the Night – Golden State at Oklahoma City (TNT, 8:05 p.m. ET)

The Warriors (55-14 SU, 31-36-2 ATS) and Thunder (40-29 SU, 39-29-1 ATS) will meet for fourth and final time this season on Monday from the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The last meeting at this venue didn’t turn out so well for the Oklahoma City, who were blasted 130-114 by Golden State on Feb. 11.

Including that win, the Warriors have and covered all three games this season versus the Thunder by an average of 21 points per game.

The big difference for this matchup is the status of Golden State forward Kevin Durant, who is still ‘out’ with a knee injury. In the three games against his former team this season, the All-Star posted 37.7 PPG and 9.3 rebounds while connecting on 63 percent of his shots from 3-point land.

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You can make a case that Golden State is still solid with the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green but it's obvious that it's nowhere close to the level with KD in the lineup.

Oddsmakers opened Golden State as a two-point road favorite for Monday and the Warriors have gone 26-10 as visitors this season but are just 14-21-1 versus the number.

The Thunder have been a great bet at home (26-9 SU, 24-10-1 ATS) this season and they’ve won and covered six of the last seven in front of its fans. OKC has won its last two games as a home underdog and is 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS overall on the season.

Billy Donovan’s team has been a very streaky this season and they enter this matchup with momentum, winners in their last five games. The defense has been outstanding during this span, holding opponents to 99 PPG. Keeping Golden State and the league’s best offense (116.2 PPG) in check will be a much stiffer test but the Warriors haven’t been as prolific on the road (112.9 PPG).

The Warriors come into this game with some defensive swagger as well, holding its last two opponents to 92 points apiece. Albeit the wins and covers came versus the Magic and Bucks, Golden State needed a couple shots of confidence after roasting bettors with a 1-10 ATS drought (6-5 SU).

Monday’s total opened 221 and a couple shops moved to 222 ½ and that seems a little strange based on the form from the Warriors. Golden State has watched the ‘under’ cash in six straight and 11 of their last 12 games.

Plus, they’ve been the best ‘under’ bet in the NBA on the road this season (25-11, 69%).

Golden State holds a two-game lead for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoff race over San Antonio but it’s future odds to win the NBA Finals have been dropped to even money (Bet $100 to win $100).

We Meet Again

Denver (33-36 SU, 37-31 ATS) and Houston (48-22 SU, 40-30 ATS) will complete their home-and-home matchup on Monday night from the Toyota Center.

The pair met Saturday and the Rockets stopped the Nuggets 109-105 as 2 ½-point road favorites at the Pepsi Center. Denver did play with a short-handed squad as forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari both sat out. Chandler is possible to return for the rematch but Gallinari remains 'doubtful' with a knee injury.

Houston didn’t shoot well from the field, going 5-of-24 (21%) from 3-point land and Saturday’s win was the first this season when making less than 10 triples. The Rockets made up for the poor shooting with a solid 28-of-35 performance from the free throw line.

Including this win, Houston is now 2-0 versus Denver this season and both wins came on the road. Prior to those outcomes, the Nuggets had won and covered three straight in this series.

Despite the loss, Denver has gone 8-4 both SU and ATS since the All-Star break. Also, the Nuggets haven’t dropped two straight games during this span and they’ve gone 3-1 on the road.

Houston doesn’t lose often at home (25-9 SU) but it’s certainly not a great team to back at the betting counter (16-18 ATS) either.

The Nuggets are currently holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and will likely see an early exit in the postseason because they haven’t proven themselves versus quality opponents. Against wining clubs, Denver has gone 9-22 this season while Houston has produced an eye opening 34-6 mark against clubs below .500.

For what it’s worth, Houston has gone 9-4 versus the Northwest Division this season while Denver has struggled with a 3-9 mark against the Southwest.

Saturday’s total closed as high as 241 and the game never had a shot to get there. Denver is tied for the best ‘over’ mark in the league with a 43-25 record to the high side. Houston leans to the ‘over’ (36-33-1) and that includes a 19-15 mark at home.

Houston opned as a nine-point favorite on Monday and the total is hovering between 236 and 237 at most shops.  

H2H Trends to Watch

The Hornets and Hawks have seen the ‘under’ cash in their last seven encounters. Tonight’s total opened 203 and jumped up to 204 as of Monday morning.

Utah has won and covered three in a row against Indiana, including a 109-100 win on Jan. 21 as a seven-point home favorite. The Jazz are listed as a three-point road favorite over the Pacers.

In the last seven meetings, the winner of the Boston-Washington matchup has scored 111 points or more. The Wizards have won two of three this season while posting 123 and 118 in its victories.

The Clippers have won nine straight against the Knicks, which includes a 119-115 comeback win on Feb. 8 as one-point road favorites. Los Angeles has gone 7-1-1 ATS during this winning streak and the ‘under’ is 7-2.

Back-to-Back Notes

There are three teams that will be playing with no rest on Monday.

Listed below are their SU and ATS records, plus any notable trends that are in play. 

Philadelphia (5-11 SU, 9-7 ATS) – The 76ers have been a great look on no rest recently, especially versus the number. The club is 6-1 ATS in its last seven and they’ve won four of those games. Philadelphia has seen the ‘over’ go 11-5 and that includes a 6-2 run to the high side in its last eight B2B matchups.

Monday’s Opponent – at Orlando (+5)

Indiana (4-11 SU, 4-11 ATS) – The Pacers have struggled all season on zero days rest but they did win their last back-to-back spot, a 98-77 victory on Mar. 15 over Charlotte as three-point favorites. Indiana has had trouble scoring of late, averaging just 97.3 PPG in its last six. Not surprising, the ‘under’ has gone 5-1 in those games.

Monday’s Opponent – vs. Utah (+2.5)

Boston (9-6 SU, 8-7 ATS) – After winning six straight and nine of 10 on no rest, Boston has surrendered three consecutive losses when facing back-to-back situations. The defense gave up 116, 114 and 104 points in those losses.

Monday’s Opponent – vs. Washington (-3)

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com

  
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