Basketball and MNF Tips

Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs will be looking to upset the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

With just two weeks of Monday Night Football left on the schedule, you might have hoped for a barnburner of a matchup with serious playoff reverberations. Sadly, you’ve got the Jets and Titans, just another disappointment in a primetime NFL schedule that seems to have been full of passable fixtures this season. Alas.

Still, the NBA comes up smelling of roses tonight with some high-profile games that should get your betting juices flowing.


NFL: New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans

8:30 PM ET

A lot has been made this week of the fact that the Jets have clawed their way back into contention for a Wild Card berth. Whilst it’s true that Rex Ryan’s side is mathematically still alive in the race for the postseason, consider this; the Jets must first win out and then hope that Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati but loses to Cleveland and that the Bengals lose to the Ravens. Let’s put the Jets out of their misery now: at least one of those is not going to happen.

With all that in mind, tonight’s Monday Night Football fixture now seems fairly frivolous. Still, there’s money to be made.

Winners of two in a row (gasp!) New York (6-7, 3-3 road) travels to Nashville safe in the knowledge that the green side of NYC has won five of six games in the city, including the last two. Add to that a dire season for the Titans and the Jets are a shoe-in for a win, right?

This is the Jets we’re talking about. Tennessee (4-9, 2-4 home) has already defeated Buffalo and Miami from the AFC East, and a win over the Jets would be a small consolation in an otherwise disappointing season. Playing the role of spoiler has been known to propel some teams forward.

Odds: The Jets opened as one-point underdogs in this flip-a-coin matchup. The over/under is 42.

Take: NY Jets – The calamity Jets will hold on for another week but in very close conditions. Expect this to be decided by a field goal or less. Take the total to go under.

Bonus Tip: Skip out on this one and tune into some quality NBA action.


NBA: Houston Rockets @ New York Knicks

7:30 PM ET

Houston (11-12, 2-7 road) will look to make the push to .500 by beating a New York (18-5, 10-0 home) side unbeaten at home. Doing so would be a huge upset as the Knicks have been one of this season’s form sides. There also happens to be a small sideshow to this game.

Jeremy Lin will return to Manhattan for the first time since leading the Knicks through a wild spell last season. ‘Linsanity’ may have wound down, but the Houston point guard could provide some fireworks at the Garden tonight.

Meanwhile, the Knicks may be without Carmelo Anthony for a second straight game, after he sprained an ankle against the Lakers last week. The Knicks have fared well this season when spelling Anthony, and Raymond Felton’s matchup against Lin (or James Harden) really could be one to watch.

Odds: New York is favored by 10 points at Madison Square Garden. The over/under is 210½.

Take: The Knicks have barely buckled this season and Houston’s uneven side doesn’t look to have enough to handle the Knicks. That being said, the Rockets can score in bunches, so 10 points is a huge ask in terms of the spread. Take the Rockets to cover the spread. Likewise, 210½ points is a big ask, even though these sides can score, so take the under.

Bonus Tip: Expect the MSG crowd to give Lin a warm welcome. Yes he fled for more money but the fans still appreciate those magic moments last season. Now had the team been on a downer this year, that welcome might have been different.


NBA: San Antonio Spurs @ Oklahoma City Thunder

8:00 PM ET

Perennial Finals candidate, San Antonio (19-6, 11-4 road) travels to last year’s finalist, Oklahoma City (19-4, 13-2 home) on Monday night looking to take a second win of the season from the Thunder.

Having defeated the Thunder 86-84 on November 1, the Spurs will come up against a red hot Oklahoma City side sporting a 10-game winning streak and the best record in the entire league.

The Spurs are no slouches though. At one game back of the Thunder, the Spurs are topping the Southeast Division and looking every bit as dangerous as they have over the last decade or so. This game really could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals.

Odds: Oklahoma City is 5½-point favorites at home. The over/under is 204½.

Take: Oklahoma City – This game may simply come down to home court advantage. The Thunder have one of the best crowds in the league backing them, and with San Antonio having been on the road for 10 of the last 13,things may well get a little too hot for the Spurs. Take the Thunder to cover the spread with the total going under.


Remaining NBA Schedule (Favorite highlighted)

Minnesota @ Orlando | LA Clippers @ Detroit | Chicago @ Memphis | Sacramento @ Phoenix