Welcome to a Wednesday edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one game per night I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Pistons -5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Pistons -5.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Pistons -5.5
Over/Under Total: 212.0
The Nets were one of the league’s most defensively challenged squads last season, allowing the third-most points per game (110.3) in the league. In 2018-19, they return many of the culprits for that ineptitude. However, those players were also responsible for a solid 106.6 points scored per contest (on 44.1 percent shooting). The likes of D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen once again figure for important roles this season.
Yet several projected absences for the Nets have caused this line to move from a 3-to-3.5-point edge for the Pistons to the current 5-to-5.5-point spread. Crabbe and Carroll are already ruled out Wednesday with ankle injuries. Meanwhile, Hollis-Jefferson will be a game-time decision with a hip injury.
What that line movement doesn’t necessarily take into account is that Brooklyn may be one of the better-equipped teams in the NBA to handle absences to key first-unit players. Their bench is replete with starting experience. That includes Dinwiddie, LeVert, and Joe Harris. All three thrived with the first unit at various points last season. Allen also has the talent to become one of the league’s best young centers. He logged 31 starts in his rookie season. Plus, the Nets did some prudent offseason bargain shopping, bringing in bigs Ed Davis and Jared Dudley.
On the other side, the Pistons enter the new campaign trying to eradicate the memory of a disappointing season in their own right. Detroit does have a highly talented frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. However, remaining first-unit members Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, and Stanley Johnson shape up as a trio that is far from elite. Then, their second unit isn’t built to put teams away. The likes of Ish Smith, Luke Kennard, Jon Leuer, and Zaza Pachulia don’t exactly strike fear into opposing squads. Their lack of scoring upside should help the Nets keep matters close.
By the Numbers: The Nets were an NBA-best 28-12-1 (70.0 percent) against the number as a road team last season, including 25-10-1 as a road underdog. Brooklyn was also 30-22 (57.7 percent) versus the number in conference games. Then, the Pistons were a mediocre 19-21-1 (47.5 percent) versus the spread as a home team last season, a tally that included a 13-15-1 mark against the number as a favorite. Plus, they were 22-29-1 against the number in conference games.
The Final Word: The Nets have plenty of experienced and capable depth to make up for their various injuries. And their pace of play is capable of putting any team on its heels. Meanwhile, the Pistons were far from stellar against the number at home and in conference games last season. Finally, Brooklyn played Detroit close in two of their three losses to them last season and have enough to keep this game within a spread that’s grown over the last few hours due to their injury situation.
The Pick: Nets +5.5, also Nets moneyline at FanDuel Sportsbook with rebate offer.*
*FanDuel Sportsbook is refunding any moneyline bet on the Nets and Knicks in their season openers up to $100.