Top NBA Picks and Predictions Today (Back Celtics as Favorites, Blazers as Dogs, Total in Warriors-Pelicans)

DeMar DeRozan and Jayson Tatum.
DeMar DeRozan and Jayson Tatum. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has 16 teams in action on Monday night, with several playoff contenders going head-to-head, especially in the Eastern Conference.

Yours truly has a preview for every NBA game on our picks and predictions page, but I'm here to share my favorite plays on the moneyline, spread or total on Monday night.

Betting on some of these major NBA slates can be a ton of fun, especially on a night like Monday where Monday Night Football is projected to be a blowout...

Here's how to bet in The Association on Monday:

Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls Odds, Prediction and Pick

Boston is an impressive 7-2 on the road so far this season, winning recent road games over the New Orleans Pelicans and Atlanta Hawks. 

This has been a weird season for the Bulls, who are 12th in defensive rating, 22nd in offensive rating and 22nd in net rating. Lonzo Ball’s absence has certainly hurt, but the Bulls have been relatively healthy compared to last season. 

Marcus Smart is off the injury report for Boston and expected to return tonight, a huge boost after he missed the team’s last two games. 

Boston is just 9-7 against the spread this season, but its average margin of victory is 7.2 points this season. Chicago comes into this just 4-6-1 ATS as an underdog, and I just don’t have confidence that the Bulls will be able to keep up with Boston’s shooting

The Celtics average 16.2 made 3-pointers per game, the most in the NBA. As for the Bulls? Well, they rank 28th with 10.1 made 3s per game. 

Boston can shoot Chicago right out of the gym tonight. 

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Odds, Prediction and Pick

Portland has gone 3-2 without Damian Lillard this season, with its only blowout loss coming to the Phoenix Suns, who are second in the West. Portland also beat Phoenix without Dame. 

This is an interesting battle based on these teams ATS records, as Portland is an impressive 9-2 ATS as an underdog and Milwaukee is 7-2 ATS at home this season.

The Bucks have not been nearly as dominant lately as they were to start the season, and Portland’s desire to play at a slow pace (27th in the NBA) could help it cover this double-digit spread. 

Both of these teams are top-10 in the NBA in defensive rating, so I wouldn’t be shocked if this game is a slowed down, defensive battle that doesn’t allow Milwaukee to pull away

Golden State Warriors v.s New Orleans Pelicans Odds, Prediction and Pick

The Warriors are playing much better on offense lately, moving to 10th in the league in offensive rating. 

That could make for a high-scoring matchup on Monday, as New Orleans (sixth in offensive rating) has a very dynamic attack when Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are both healthy. 

The Warriors play at the fastest pace in the NBA, and their defensive rating on the road is one of the worst in the league this season. 

A ton of possessions for two top offenses and one poor defense? The recipe for an OVER doesn’t come much easier than that. 

Golden State has cleared 232 points in three of its last five games, scoring at least 111 points in each matchup. With the injury report (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, etc.) still up in the air, I’ll lean OVER here. 

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.