NBA Predictions and Best Bets – March 22, 2021

| March 22, 2021 6:24 am PDT

It probably hasn’t hit anyone just yet, but life sans LeBron James truly begins on Monday.

Don’t worry, he and Anthony Davis will both be back at some point, but the Lakers star got hurt over the weekend, and for however long he’s out, The Association gets a taste of what life is like without him.

Newsflash: it probably isn’t great.

Still, there is a lot to like in the NBA if you’re betting on games. Just take a look at Monday’s eight-game schedule.

  • Sacramento Kings vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Charlotte Hornets vs. San Antonio Spurs
  • Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls
  • Toronto Raptors vs. Houston Rockets
  • Indiana Pacers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Boston Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Clippers

It looks like a fun schedule at first glance, and the Lakers don’t play, so L.A. nation can hope a little extra rest will put King James in a better place.

For the teams that are in action, let’s break things down in Monday’s NBA predictions and top betting picks.

Sacramento Kings vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions

  • Kings to beat Cavaliers
  • Predicted total: 225-230

The Kings continue to struggle defensively, as they’re 2-3 over their last five, and have allowqed 119+ points in four of those contests.

As bad as it’s been, they have a real shot at a win on Monday, when they visit the Cavs.

Cleveland could be tired after hosting the Raptors on Sunday, and Sacramento simply has the more explosive offense.

I don’t love trusting in either of these teams, of course, so I’d really just focus on the 225 total in this game.

The Over is 26-16 for in Kings games this year, and Cleveland has the size and guards to put up a lot of points in this spot. I like Sacramento to win, but I love the Over.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions

  • Timberwolves to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 220-225

This should be another fine spot to target some scoring. Minnesota is stacked with offensive talent, but they don’t defend.

Seriously, they rank 26th in defensive efficiency.

That could give bettors another easy spot to go after the Over, but the better play may be to simply bet on the Timberwolves to win.

Yes, they’re just 10-32 on the year, but they have a budding star in Anthony Edwards, who just erupted for a career-high 42 points.

OKC is just hanging around these days, as they’re severely banged up. I’ll follow the talent and go with the home team, and also hammer the Over.

Charlotte Hornets vs. San Antonio Spurs Predictions

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

As exciting as the Hornets have been this year, it appears the fun has come to an end. LaMelo Ball suffered a wrist injury over the weekend, and it looks like it’s ended his rookie season.

Charlotte still has enough depth and veteran experience to be competitive, but this absolutely crushes their offensive upside.

Devonte’ Graham should slide back into a starting role, and the team may ask more out of the likes of Malik Monk. Gordon Hayward will have to be more aggressive as a scorer, too.

For the moment, however, this is a gut punch that may cause the Hornets to stumble.

Charlotte is now tasked with ousting the Spurs on the road, and this is a deeper, better-coached team. I like the Spurs in this one.

Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls Predictions

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

The Bulls punished the Pistons on Sunday, displaying some solid defense in an easy win. That’s always good to see, while Chicago inch back into the Eastern Conference playoff mix at 19-22.

It’s possible the Bulls piece together some momentum – and they’re at home here – but hosting the Jazz seems like a death sentence.

Utah isn’t the same world-beater they were just a couple of weeks ago, as they’ve gone just 5-5 over their last 10 games.

They’re still 30-11 on the year and are perhaps the most balanced team in basketball, though. They rank 3rd in both offensive and defensive efficiency, so whichever way you lean, they have the clear edge here.

Chicago can’t beat them inside, and the Jazz have the ability to slow down Zach LaVine. I like Utah here, so long as this isn’t a random Mike Conley rest day (but probably still, regardless).

Toronto Raptors vs. Houston Rockets Predictions

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

The Raptors were disappointing last night, as they lost a winnable game in Cleveland. That was their eighth loss in a row, which is obviously unacceptable when you look at their talent.

Luckily for them, they face a team enduring an even worse losing streak, as the Rockets have lost an impossible 20 consecutive games.

Something has to break here, and I lean toward superior coaching, talent, and experience. Toronto can’t lose this one.

Indiana Pacers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Predictions

  • Bucks to beat Pacers
  • Predicted total: 225-230

This was supposed to be a big rivalry, but the Pacers have taken a significant step back this year. They’re on the outside looking in for the playoff race at 19-22, and their offense just isn’t reliable.

For what it’s worth, the Pacers have won their last two games, however, and they at least own the league’s 10th fastest pace.

That’s nothing to the Bucks, who rank 4th in that department, and are red hot with six straight wins, as well as a 9-1 mark over their last 10.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is obviously as dominant as ever, but the Bucks are clicking and finally pushing for the top seed in the east.

Milwaukee coasted (130-110) in the only meeting earlier this year, and something similar wouldn’t be shocking.

Boston Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies Predictions

  • Celtics to beat Grizzlies
  • Predicted total: 215-220

Boston is impossible to peg these days. They keep going through ups and downs, and right now are barely holding onto the 7th seed.

They did beat the Magic on Sunday, however, and they’re not 6-4 over their last 10 games. The Celtics have largely been solid lately, and they could get into a groove now that Marcus Smart is back with the team.

Monday should offer a chance to build a new winning streak, as Memphis is just 10-13 at home, and they don’t pose a major challenge offensively.

Boston will need to figure out a way to stop Jonas Valanciuns inside, but the rest of this matchup leans toward the Celtics.

History says that, too. Boston won the previous meeting this year pretty easily (126-107), and they’ve now won 10 in a row in this series.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Clippers Predictions

  • Clippers to beat Hawks
  • Predicted total: 220-225

The last game of the night takes the Hawks into Staples Center. It appears coaching and rash changes can work wonders, as Atlanta has not lost a game since firing head coach Lloyd Pierce.

The Hawks have ripped off eight wins in a row, so it’ll be awfully tough to bet against them on Monday.

L.A. hasn’t even looked that great lately, either. The Clippers remained loaded with talent, but they’re just 4-6 over their last 10 contests.

I still like the Clippers (14-6 at home) to win, but Atlanta is obviously on fire. The spread is thick enough to fall in love with the Hawks in this spot.

Best NBA Bets for Monday, March 22nd

Kings to Win-175
Kings vs. Cavaliers Over 225-110
Hawks (+6)-110

There are a good amount of games hitting the schedule on Monday, but the NBA bets above are the best options for you at the moment.

I really like the Kings to get the road win in Cleveland, and even if you’re not with me there, that game total feels criminally low. History says Sacramento’s pace and awful defense will allow for a high-scoring scene.

The Hawks also stand out with this 6-point spread. That feels a bit thick for a team that has simply been different lately, and are clearly playing more focused ball.

Taking out the Clippers on the road isn’t easy, but the Hawks have been doing this all year. They’re 7-5 against the spread as road dogs, and I think this line is fat enough to take advantage again.

Like these picks and want to get in on the action on Monday? Use the top NBA betting apps to place some bets.

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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