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NBA betting: Three picks for Sunday’s slate

On Super Bowl Sunday, there is a very light schedule of NBA games on tap. The Celtics are at the Heat at 2 p.m. ET, and the Kings are at the Thunder at 3 p.m. ET.

Both matchups are between conference rivals, teams that would be in either the playoffs or the play-in were the season to end today. The competition should be strong, which means there are opportunities for us to identify angles for players or teams to potentially outperform expectations.

Let’s do some digging.

Boston Celtics and Miami Heat UNDER 226.5 points (-115).

I don’t typically love playing unders, but this game seems to warrant consideration. The Heat have been more of a low-scoring, defensive-minded team since trading for Terry Rozier. They are operating on a streak of seven straight games where they have combined with their opponents to score 223 or fewer points, well below the 226.5 point line. The Celtics are excellent on both offense and defense and will often play to the pace/scoring proclivities of their opponents. According to the ESPN Analytics game predictor, the total for this game is estimated to be 222.3 PPG, below the line.

Sacramento Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder OVER 239.5 points (-105).

These are two perimeter-based, high-scoring offenses that tend to play smaller shooters at power forward and even get play-making and shooting from their center slot. They’ve played twice this season. Their first game, back in early November with De’Aaron Fox sitting and Chet Holmgren was still playing like a rookie, was a low-scoring affair. But their last matchup, in December, totaled 251 points. According to the ESPN Analytics game predictor, the total for Sunday’s game is estimated to be 243.8 points, above the line.

Domantas Sabonis to record a triple-double (+160).

Sabonis is tied with Nikola Jokic for the most triple-doubles in the NBA this season with 16, including three in his last four games four in his last six. Since the end of November, Sabonis has points-rebounds double-doubles in every game except one, and in that game he had a points-assists double-double. His Sunday opponents, the Thunder, are bottom-six in the NBA in both rebounds (15.5 RPG) and assists (4.5 APG) allowed to opposing centers. Sabonis already has one triple-double in his two games against the Thunder this season, and overall is averaging a triple-double in those two games (17.5 PPG, 14.5 RPG, 10.0 APG).

Projections and injury reports

Odds provided by ESPN BET. Basketball Power Index by ESPN Analytics Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com.

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
2 p.m. ET Kaseya Center, Miami

Records (Against the Spread)
Celtics: 40-12 (25-25-2)
Heat: 28-24 (23-28-1)

Line: Celtics (-5.5) Total: 226.5
Money Line: Celtics (-220), Heat (+190)
BPI Projection: Celtics by 5.5, straight up 70%, 222.4 total points.

Injury Report:
Celtics: Jaden Springer, (OUT – Ankle); Xavier Tillman, (OUT – Knee)
Heat: Jimmy Butler, (GTD – Personal); Dru Smith, (OUT – Knee)

Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder
3 p.m. ET Paycom Center, Oklahoma City

Records (Against the Spread)
Kings: 30-21 (28-22-1)
Thunder: 35-17 (31-20-1)

Line: Thunder (-3.5) Total: 239.5
Money Line: Kings (+130), Thunder (-150)
BPI Projection: Thunder by 4.2, straight up 64%, 243.8 total points.

Injury Report:
Kings: Chris Duarte, (OUT – Ankle)
Thunder: Gordon Hayward, (OUT – Calf)