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All we got is hoops Tuesday and the NBA is kind of letting us down. The Association only scheduled three games but we’ll hit both games for the NBA on TNT doubleheader. Below are my looks in the Lakers-Cavaliers and Mavericks-Nuggets games along with a player prop.
Los Angeles Lakers (10-12) at Cleveland Cavaliers (15-9)
This is a buy-low spot for Cleveland and/or a sell-high spot for LA. When these teams met for the first time Nov. 6, the Cavs covered as 5.5-point favorites on the road vs. a Lakers team at full strength in a 114-110 win.
But, Cleveland got waxed 92-81 Sunday at the New York Knicks as 2.5-point road favorites. LA has won and covered in five of its last six games including three straight. More importantly, Lakers’ big Anthony Davis is playing at an MVP level.
Since the first Lakers-Cavs meeting earlier this season, AD is averaging 32.7 points per game (PPG) on 62.6% shooting with 13.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
That said …
Cleveland has the frontcourt to slow Davis down
Cavs All-Star big Jarrett Allen could return from a five-game injury hiatus. CLE scores 6.5 more points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when Allen is on the floor, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG). Cleveland’s defensive rebounding rate drops by 7.3% when Allen is off the floor.
Furthermore, Cavs PF Evan Mobley is one of the few players in the NBA with the body type and athleticism to match AD. Thanks in large part to Allen and Mobley, Cleveland allows the second-fewest paint PPG.
Allen and Mobley locking down the paint allow the Cavaliers to extend their perimeter defense. Cleveland is third in defensive effective field goal shooting. The Lakers are just 26th in 3-point shooting so the Cavs’ ‘bigs don’t have to leave the paint often.
This a better spot for the Cavs
The Lakers are 2-9 ATS as underdogs of +3 or greater in 2022 while CLE is 3-0 ATS as a 5-to-7-point favorite. Cleveland is 8-1-2 ATS at home this season with a +7.0 ATS margin and LA is 2-6 ATS as a road underdog with a +1.9 ATS margin.
Finally, the Lakers are public ‘dogs and there’s reverse line movement in the betting market. Per VSIN, more than 70% of the action at DraftKings is on LA at the time of writing. But, the Cavs have gone from -4 on the opener up to the current number (-5.5).
This is suspicious, to say the least, and leads me to …
NBA Best Bet #1: Cavaliers -5.5 (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Dallas Mavericks (12-11) at Denver Nuggets (14-9)
These teams are tied in their season series 1-1 both SU and ATS. Denver’s victory came as 10-point ‘dogs when reigning two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic was sidelined in health and safety protocols.
That said, the Mavs are in a tough travel spot on this second of a back-to-back. Dallas beat the crap out of the Phoenix Suns Monday 130-111.
But, the Mavs have to turn around and play at altitude in the Mile High City. Dallas was 4-point underdogs in a similar situation last year when visiting Denver and got crushed 106-75.
The Nuggets got smacked 121-106 at the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday and usually bounce back from blowouts. Denver is 5-0 ATS in its last five games following a SU loss of 10 or more points.
On top of that, the Mavs are 0-4 ATS on the road vs. teams with a winning record, 0-3-1 ATS when playing on no rest with a -8.0 ATS margin, and 0-2 ATS as 5-to-7-point underdogs.
Lastly, Dallas goes as Luka Doncic goes and Luka struggles on no rest. Doncic’s PPG, true shooting rate, and offensive rating all dip when he’s playing the second of a back-to-back.
NBA Best Bet #2: Nuggets -5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -5.5
PS player prop: Nuggets SG Bruce Brown OVER 12.5 points (-120)
Denver wing Michael Porter Jr. has already been ruled out for Tuesday’s game and SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (KCP) is listed as “questionable” on the injury report.
With Porter definitely out of the lineup, Brown is in line to start. If KCP misses Tuesday as well then that’s gravy. Between Jokic and PG Jamal Murray, Brown won’t command a lot of attention from Dallas’s defense.
As a starter, Brown averages 13.6 PPG on 62.6% true shooting (.522/.465/.909) with a 118 offensive rating (106 offensive rating off the bench). Brown has scored at least 13 points in six of his 12 games in the starting 5 this season.
He only scored 12 points in Denver’s 98-97 win in Dallas on Nov. 20. But, Brown had plus-expected value matchups drawing below-average defenders in Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Also, Brown will most likely get easier looks this time around since Jokic and Murray missed the game mentioned above and are both in the projected starting 5.
NBA Best Bet #3: Bruce Brown OVER 12.5 points (-120) at DraftKings Sportsbook
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