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This is a step in the right direction for the NBA after last Sunday’s slate was an abomination. At least there are a few interesting matchups, three of which I have best bets on.
Below, I’ll give a betting break down and picks for the Pacers-Clippers, Mavericks-Bucks, and Warriors-Timberwolves meetings. (The games are handicapped in the order of my favorite to least favorite bets).
Indiana Pacers (11-7) at Los Angeles Clippers (11-9)
You gotta take my word for it because I don’t have LA’s against-the-spread (ATS) records past this season and cannot pull them without some manual labor. But, the Clippers are terrible in day games.
They are 0-2 ATS in day games this year. One of my best friends is a Clippers supporter and I worked for the Clippers the year they acquired Chris Paul (2012) and this is just something I know.
Maybe this explains …
‘Sharp line movement’ toward Indiana
The Pacers have gone from slight road ‘dogs to slight road favorites despite more than 80% of the action in the consensus market being on the Clippers, per Pregame.com.
DraftKings Sportsbook is reporting via VSIN, that the bets are nearly split between the two sides but nearly 90% of the money is on the Pacers at the time of writing.
Pinnacle Sportsbook — one of the sharpest oddsmakers in the world, known for booking the largest sports bets — makes Indiana’s spread pricier. All this adds up to the Pacers clearly being the sharp side.
Also, the …
Clippers are missing their two best players
Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have already been ruled out and as has SG Luke Kennard. These are three of the Clippers’ top four players by non-garbage time on/off net rating (nRTG), per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
LA scores 26.0 more points per 100 possessions when Kawhi is on the floor, 14.8 more points per 100 possessions with PG in the game, and 7.4 more points per 100 possessions when Kennard plays.
Finally, this is a …
Better spot for Indiana
The Pacers have covered five straight road games, the Clippers are 4-7 ATS at home this season with a -4.6 ATS margin, and 1-3 ATS as short favorites (-1 to -2.5).
NBA Best Bet #1: Pacers -125 ML at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to Indiana -2.5 if the ML goes north of -135
Dallas Mavericks (9-9) at Milwaukee Bucks (13-5)
The Mavs are looking to stop a three-game losing skid (0-3 ATS). Dallas has only covered once in the last 10 games. Milwaukee is 3-3 straight up (SU) and 2-4 ATS over the last six games. Most recently, the Bucks clobbered the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-102.
These teams split the regular season series last year 1-1 SU. But, the Mavericks are 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings with the Bucks. Sunday is the first Mavericks-Bucks meeting this season.
Generally, Dallas is a tough team after losing but Milwaukee is the play for me because the …
Bucks play better vs. tough defenses
Milwaukee has the best non-garbage time defensive rating in the league, per CTG, and Dallas ranks ninth in defensive rating.
This season, the Bucks are 4-2 SU with a +7.7 adjusted nRTG (ranked first) vs. top-10 defenses and a +3.3 ATS margin (third). The Mavs are 1-3 SU vs. top-10 defenses with a -1.3 adjusted nRTG (15th) and a -6.0 ATS margin (28th).
The Bucks have three sick on-ball defenders to throw at Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic, including: Milwaukee All-Defensive PG Jrue Holiday, SG Jevon Carter aka mini-Jrue Holiday, and perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Dallas runs a ton of isolation sets through Luka and has one of the more predictable offenses in the league. Not only that but the essence of NBA basketball nowadays is dunks and 3s.
Finally, the Bucks are first in shot quality allowed according to CTG because they allow the second-best volume of field goal attempts at the rim and the fifth-best 3-point attempt rate.
NBA Best Bet #2: Bucks -6.5 (-110) DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -7.5
Golden State Warriors (10-10) at Minnesota Timberwolves (10-9)
This is a simple handicap: Gimme Golden State under 3 points vs. Minnesota any day of the week. Sure, the Warriors are off to a slow start but if you don’t think a healthy Golden State team gets it together by Christmas you’re crazy.
The Warriors have the Splash Brothers while the T-Wolves have PG D’Angelo Russell who’s has about the lowest basketball IQ of any starting PG in the NBA.
Golden State’s defense has been bad thus far but I have hope it’ll turn around shortly. Per CTG, the Warriors are second in shot quality allowed. Golden State’s defense allows the fewest field goal attempts at the rim in the league.
Furthermore, the Timberwolves are 21st in shot quality allowed and 23rd in 3PAr allowed. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are going to make it rain in Minnesota Sunday. Minnesota ranks 22nd in defensive 3-point shooting percentage as well.
Steph is averaging 32.4 points per game (PPG) on 54.6% shooting (47.5% from behind the arc) with 8.8 assists and 6.4 rebounds over his last five games. Klay is scoring 23.6 PPG on 48.8% shooting (51.0% from three) in his last five games.
NBA Best Bet #3: Warriors -130 ML at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to Golden State -2.5 if the ML goes north of -135
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