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Injuries have weakened what could’ve been an awesome NBA Tuesday seven-game slate. That said, I do have a few gambling looks in the Cavaliers-Jazz, Magic-Trail Blazers, and Mavericks-Clippers.
You can listen to the audio versions of these handicaps on my recently launched NBA Hoops At Lunch show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed.
(Buyer beware: It’s the “load management” era in the NBA and players are sitting out more games. It would behoove you to wait until the final injury reports before betting.)
Cleveland Cavaliers (26-15) at Utah Jazz (20-23)
The Cavaliers are 4-1 in their last five games and smoked the Suns 112-98 Sunday in the third of their current five-game road swing. The Jazz have lost seven of the last eight games including back-to-back (B2B) at the Bulls and Grizzlies.
Cleveland waxed Utah 122-99 last month, out-scoring the Jazz in all four quarters and the Cavs sunk 57.7% of their 3-pointers (15-of-26).
Hand up: Imma sucker for a good revenge game in the NBA. We all know the players don’t really care about regular-season games. They don’t even hide it really. When there’s a motivation-spot in NBA regular-season action, I like to bet it.
That’s what we have here in Cavaliers-Jazz. Former Utah All-Star, and now Cleveland SG, Donovan Mitchell returns to Salt Lake City for the first time as a Cavalier. Perhaps nerves get to Mitchell and he puts up a stinker.
But, we can guarantee he’ll try in Utah Tuesday. Plus Mitchell is having a fantastic first season in Cleveland. He is averaging career bests in points per game (28.8 PPG) and true shooting, spanning field-goal, 3-point, and free-throw percentages.
NBA Best Bet #1: Cavaliers -2.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -3.5
Orlando Magic (15-26) at Portland Trail Blazers (19-20)
This is the third of Orlando’s five-game road trip. The Magic split the first two both outright and ATS with the most recent being a 136-111 beatdown at the Kings Tuesday.
The Trail Blazers have lost three of their last four games including three consecutive (1-4 ATS over that span), all on the road. They have a -8.3 ATS margin in that three-game losing skid.
But, the first thing that jumps out when looking at Magic-Trail Blazers is …
This is a suspicious line
Portland is -7.5 is a big number for a Trail Blazers team whose only wins over the last 10 games are vs. terrible teams including the Pistons, Hornets, and Rockets. The Magic swept the Celtics in a B2B a couple of weeks ago.
There was sharp line movement toward Portland immediately after the Magic-Trail Blazers spread opened. Portland opened as 6.5-point favorites and got up to -7.5 by 5 a.m. ET. Average Joes aren’t betting this game early Tuesday morning.
Trail Blazers-friendly trends
Portland is 4-0 against the spread (ATS) in the last four games as -5 or greater with a +7.0 ATS margin. The Trail Blazers are 6-0 ATS in the last six home games and 4-0 ATS in the last four vs. teams with a 40% winning rate or lower.
Portland crushes bad defenses
Orlando is 25th in non-garbage time defensive rating, per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG). The Trail Blazers are 11-4 vs. bottom-10 defenses. They have a +7.0 non-garbage time net rating (ranked seventh) and a +5.7 ATS margin.
The Trail Blazers have the rest edge
The Magic is on the second of a road B2B while the Trail Blazers last played Sunday. Orlando is 4-5 ATS when playing at a rest disadvantage and Portland is 5-3 ATS with an edge in rest.
Per CTG, the Trail Blazers have a +22.3 non-garbage time net rating (nRTG) at home vs. teams on the second of a B2B. They have a +20.5 spread differential as well.
Orlando gives up good looks
The Magic’s second-ranked 3-point defense is mostly luck. We discussed this Monday on the NBA Hoops At Lunch show for the OutKick Bets Podcast.
Orlando gives up the second-most wide-open 3-point attempts in the NBA. “Wide-open 3s” are defined by the 3-point shooter having at least six feet of distance from the nearest defender.
If the Magic aren’t contesting Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons’ 3s then Orlando is gonna get rolled. Portland is fifth in 3-point shooting and the Kings went 50% from three (23-of-46) vs. the Magic Monday.
NBA Best Bet #2: Trail Blazers -7.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -8.5
Dallas Mavericks (23-18) at Los Angeles Clippers (21-21)
First of all, the Clippers are 3-17 O/U at home this season with a -10.8 O/U margin. LAC’s average score of home games in 2022-23 is 105.3-105.2 (210.5) in favor of the visitor actually.
Since 2020, two of the last eight regular-season Mavericks-Clippers meetings have gone Under the total. Mavericks-Clippers has a 105.4-97.1 (202.5) average final score in their last eight meetings, in favor of Dallas.
However, the average Mavericks-Clippers total over that span has been set at 217.9. Four of those six Unders went Under by at least 17 points or toward the Under.
Also, Mavs All-Star Luka Doncic is “questionable” to play with ankle soreness. My guess is Luka plays but if he doesn’t this total is coming down and …
Two important offensive players are out for LAC
Clippers All-Star Paul George and SG Luke Kennard are ruled out. Per CTG, the Clippers score 9.8 more points per 100 possession when PG is on the floor. Kennard has a +9.1 non-garbage time on/off nRTG.
When Kennard is on the floor, the Clippers’ effective field goal shooting (eFG%) climbs by 4.5%. LAC’s eFG% rises by 7.5% when George is in the game. PG’s on/off eFG% is the highest in the NBA for his position (wing).
Furthermore, LAC’s backcourt situation is weak and George acts as their point guard for stretches. No one else really creates shots for teammates on the Clippers.
Kennard is the ultimate floor-spacing two-guard. If you aren’t attached to Kennard he’s going to wet 3s. This opens up driving lanes and helps PG and Kawhi Leonard in iso-sets.
‘Styles make fights’
The Mavs play at the second-slowest pace in the NBA and the Clippers are 22nd in pace. LAC is fourth in defensive FT/FGA, offsetting Dallas’s NBA-high offensive free-throw attempt rate.
Dallas has the highest 3-point attempt rate in the NBA but the Clippers are fourth in defensive 3-point shooting. LAC shoots fewer 3s when PG and Kennard are off the floor.
The Mavericks are third in offensive turnover rate (TOV%) and LAC is 27th in defensive TOV%. So while the Clippers don’t force a lot of turnovers, they are good at staying in front of ball handlers.
NBA Best Bet #3: UNDER 221.5 in Mavericks-Clippers (-110) at DraftKings
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