NBA Predictions and Top Picks – February 22, 2021

| February 22, 2021 7:54 am PDT

After a wonky weekend, the NBA hopefully gets back on track with a nice six-game schedule on Monday.

Despite the small slate size, this should be a fun one. Check out who is playing before gearing up for some bets on February 22nd.

  • Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets
  • Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks
  • Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns
  • Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Charlotte Hornets vs. Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers

It’s a small slate, but it’s actually loaded with star power, as well as some enticing bets. The fun gets started in Houston, where the Rockets hope to put an end to a nasty 7-game skid.

The night is capped off in L.A., where the slumping Lake Show look to avoid a three-game losing streak.

Sandwiched in the middle is a tense clash between the Blazers and Suns, while NBA fans also are graced with the return of Luka Doncic and the Mavs.

With plenty to think about before betting on the NBA on Monday, let’s dive right into my NBA predictions and top betting picks.

Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets Predictions

  • Bulls to beat Rockets
  • Predicted total: 220-225

The Rockets are getting desperate to end their current drought. They’re already down big man Christian Wood, but now the team is changing up their total approach.

Nobody will know for sure what that looks like until a healthy Wood returns, but part of their transformation includes the release of DeMarcus Cousins.

In the short-term, Houston takes a hit, and they’re just impossible to trust while engulfed in this seven-game losing streak.

Chicago, meanwhile, can be quite fun offensively, and top scorer Zach LaVine is fresh off a big 38-point scoring effort. The Bulls are just 13-16 overall and 7-7 on the road, but I like them more than this current rendition of the Rockets.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks Predictions

  • Mavericks to beat Grizzlies
  • Predicted total: 225-230

Luka Doncic and the Mavs are back in action on Monday, as they’ve been laid off recently due to schedule changes.

There is the classic bout between rust and fresh legs, so it’s up to you to make the call there. I’ll side with freshness and health, as the Mavs were starting to turn things around before their surprise break, and they also get a winnable game at home.

Dallas is just 6-8 at home, but they’ve looked better lately, and they’ll host a beaten up Grizzlies team. The Mavs and Grizz have yet to face this year, but Dallas has the upper hand with a 3-1 run over the last four meetings.

Date Score Result
3-6-2020 121-96 Mavericks Won
2-5-2020 121-107 Grizzlies Won
11-9-2019 138-122 Mavericks Won
4-7-2019 129-129 (OT) Mavericks Won

Dallas has been the aggressor in this series, and I don’t really expect that to change, especially when you note the lack of health for Memphis.

It’s also worth noting that these games have been pretty explosive. I love Dallas and the Over in this spot.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns Predictions

  • Suns to beat Blazers
  • Predicted total: 220-225

Another potential explosive outing resides in Phoenix, where the defensive-minded Suns will try to put the clamps down on a surging Portland squad.

The Blazers have been banged up for much of the year and continue to be without star scorer C.J. McCollum, but they’re 8-2 over their last 10 games.

A win here would push the Blazers ahead of Phoenix, who has been equally impressive with an 8-2 run of their own in that same span.

The nod goes to the Suns, though. They’re by far the more imposing defensive team, they’re a rock solid 10-5 at home, and Chris Paul has the ability to neutralize Portland’s most lethal weapon. 

This could be a sneaky spot for the Over, but I’d mostly just go after the Suns here.

Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions

  • Heat to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 210-215

For a while there, the Thunder were over-achieving and surprising a lot of people. They’re still pretty pesky, but they’re starting to fall apart.

OKC now owns the second worst record in the Western Conference, and they’ve lost three in a row (7 of their last 10). I don’t love their chances to take out the Heat – even at home.

Miami has battled back after a slow start, as Jimmy Butler has morphed into a triple-double machine. Just look at his last eight games.

Opponent Points Assists Rebounds
Lakers 24 5 8
Kings 13 13 10
Warriors 13 11 12
Clippers 30 10 10
Jazz 15 5 8
Rockets 27 10 10
Knicks 26 10 8
Knicks 17 9 10

Even when he isn’t notching actual triple-doubles (4!), he’s sure coming close.

Butler’s versatile game is having an understandable positive impact, with Miami winning their last two, as well as six of their last 10. The Heat are just 6-10 on the road this year, but this feels like a great spot to improve that mark.

Charlotte Hornets vs. Utah Jazz Predictions

  • Jazz to beat Hornets
  • Predicted total: 220-225

The Jazz are unmistakingly the best team in the NBA right now. Their record doesn’t lie, as they’re 24-6 and have won 9 of their last 10 games.

Mike Conley just returned, too, and while Utah just saw their latest winning streak snapped, they’re at full strength and on their home floor.

They also welcome a pretty pedestrian Hornets team, and are a staggering 13-2 at home this year.

Charlotte has gotten stellar play out of rookie point guard LaMelo Ball, who has simply been dazzling in his stint as starter.

Ball could use a bit more consistency, but he’s a huge reason why the Hornets are so exciting and competitive. Charlotte are now in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and are 6-4 over their last 10 games.

I still don’t trust them on the road in this spot, of course.

Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers Predictions

  • Lakers to beat Wizards
  • Predicted total: 225-230

The last game of the night could be a firefight, as the Lakers are not 100%, and Washington is red hot with four straight wins.

Most had given up on the Wizards long ago, but here they are, still fighting for a chance at a playoff spot. Their recent form suggests they could be a problem here, and L.A. missing The Brow won’t help matters.

The Lakers have also been playing down to the level of their competition lately, barely beating the Thunder twice, and losing three of their last four, overall.

I still tend to favor the Lakers here. They do have this guy named LeBron James, and after a two-game absence, they could have Dennis Schroder back.

That, and the Wizards have had one of the worst defenses in the league all year. Here’s how they rank in some pretty important defensive categories.

Stat NBA Ranking
Points Allowed Per Game 29th
Opponent 3PT% 24th
3PM Makes Allowed Per Game 23rd
Defensive Efficiency 26th

None of that looks great.

Kudos to the Wizards for battling back during this hot run, but the fun likely stops here. L.A. is still the better team, and the Wiz are a horrific 5-12 on the road.

I’d hammer the Lakers here, but I also really like the Over.

Best NBA Bets for Monday, February 22nd

  • Bulls (+1) -102
  • Mavericks (-4.5) -110
  • Blazers (+6.5) -110
  • Wizards vs. Lakers Over 226 (-110)

You can go with my NBA predictions above if you just want straight up picks, and the tight spread in that Bulls game shows you where I stand, too.

Moneylines aren’t out yet for Monday’s NBA games, but Chicago ATS or SU looks pretty good. They’re on the road, but Houston is an utter mess these days.

Dallas looks like a strong pick at home. They’re well-rested, and Memphis is battered with injuries at the moment.

Portland probably won’t win a tough road game in Phoenix, but they’ve been terrific. I think they at least keep it close, and their 16-13 ATS mark (8-4 as underdog) backs me up.

Lastly, that Wizards vs. Lakers game should be pretty explosive. The Lakers don’t have the same defensive potential with Anthony Davis still sidelined, and Washington has quietly won four straight.

Betting on the Wiz ATS (+6.5) is also very much in play, but their atrocious defense and fast pace should contribute to one of the higher scoring games of the night.

Like these picks, or want to bet against me? Just make sure you’re using the best sites for betting on the NBA.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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