We split our NBA best bets on Friday’s card 1-1 with the Portland Trail Blazers covering and upsetting the Phoenix Suns at home. But, the Toronto Raptors narrowly lost at the Brooklyn Nets 109-105 as 3-point favorites.
I got an NBA 3-pack of locks Friday and below, I’ll break down my favorite matchups in today’s NBA card and, ideally, give out a few of winners.
Detroit Pistons (-115) at Indiana Pacers
Long story short: I’m high on the Pistons, bet a couple of Detroit futures preseason and the Pistons need to win these kinds of games if they are going to meet or exceed the market’s expectations.
Detroit got leveled Friday by the New York Knicks 130-106. But, NY is a team I’m buying stock on and I still have the Pistons much higher in my power rankings than the Pacers.
Aside from the Knicks Friday, the Pistons are 7-3 straight up (SU) and 8-2 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 games vs. teams with a losing record.
Also, Detroit was 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS vs. Indianapolis last year. The Pacers’ three leading scorers in their only win last season against the Pistons were C Myles Turner, PF Domantas Sabonis, and SF Caris LeVert, none of which will be playing in this game.
The Pacers will be down two bigs including their 2nd-best starter, Turner, so the paint is going to be wide-open for Pistons guards Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
Indy allowed 6.7 more points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time last season when Turner was off the floor, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG). The Pacers were tied for the worst 3-point defense in the NBA last season as well.
NBA Best Bet #1: Pistons (-115) moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to -140
Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks -5.5 (-110)
The most important thing in basketball is possessions, which you gain more of by rebounding and not turning the ball over. Memphis’s key to success since the beginning of the last season is the Grizzlies typically win the battle of possessions.
The Grizzlies had the NBA’s highest rebounding rate in 2021-22 and were 5th in assist-to-turnover ratio. Furthermore, Memphis led the NBA in 2nd-chance points per game last season and was 4th in points off of turnovers per game.
However, the Grizzlies don’t have these edges to exploit in this matchup because the Mavs don’t turn the ball over and close out defensive possessions with rebounds. Dallas was 5th in offensive turnover rate last year and 9th in defensive rebounding rate, per CTG.
Most importantly, Luka is 5-1 SU vs. Ja. Doncic is outscoring (24.5-21.3 points per game) and outrebounding Morant (7.5-6.2 rebounds per game) in those meetings. Motivation will be high for both Luka and Ja since this is a matchup of the two best young point guards in the NBA.
Finally, the Mavs get a little motivational boost after blowing a 22-point lead in a 107-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns Wednesday in their 1st game. Since Luka’s rookie season (2018), Dallas is an NBA-best 94-58-2 ATS following a loss with a +3.8 ATS margin.
NBA Best Bet #2: Mavericks -5.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -6
Los Angeles Clippers -3 (-110) at Sacramento Kings
The Clippers are my No. 1 power-rated team and my pick to win the NBA championship. Whereas the Kings would be lucky to make the play-in, according to my numbers.
Clippers All-NBA wing Kawhi Leonard and PG John Wall are expected to miss this game due to load management (🤮). LA opened as 6-point favorites, per Covers.com, and dropped following the status updates of Kawhi and Wall.
But, the 3-point line move is too big because Clippers All-Star wing Paul George is still by far the best player on the floor.
Also, Sactown perennially plays terrible defense, and LA crushed bad defenses last year. Per CTG, the Kings were 25th in adjusted defensive rating in 2021-22. While the Clippers were 19-8 SU with a +3.2 ATS margin vs. teams with a bottom-10 defense.
Finally, I actually prefer the Clippers at a cheaper number without Kawhi than the contrary. Leonard is one of the 10 best basketball players on the planet. But, he’s coming off the bench to manage returning from injury and it’s weird.
NBA Best Bet #3: Clippers -3 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -4.5
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