Welcome to the Friday, Nov. 16, edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight 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.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 8-7 (.533)
ATS Leans: 4-3 (.571)
Moneyline: 4-3 (.571)
Over/Under: 3-1 (.750)
11/16/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Brooklyn Nets (6-9) at Washington Wizards (5-9)
Over/Under Total: 223.0
The Nets opened the season looking like one of the NBA’s most improved teams. Their 6-6 mark through 12 games may not have been anything to write home about for many clubs. However, considering Brooklyn’s 28-54 mark in the 2017-18 campaign, the .500 record offered plenty of reason for optimism. Then, disaster struck, in the form of a gruesome foot injury to potential breakout star Caris LeVert last Monday against the Timberwolves. The third-year was averaging 18.4 points (on 47.5 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals as the starting small forward. The scoring and shooting percentage both still rank as team bests.
The Nets have had trouble when LeVert is limited or absent. That’s notable despite the fact there’s only a three-game sample that fits those circumstances thus far. The three consecutive losses Brooklyn comes into Friday’s game with transpired under the following conditions:
- LeVert exiting a Saturday night battle against the Warriors after 21 minutes with a knee-related scare. (Nets lose, 116-100)
- LeVert exiting the Monday night game against the T-Wolves after 17 minutes with his aforementioned foot dislocation. (Nets lose 120-113)
- LeVert missing the Wednesday night game against the Heat — the first of what’s slated to be a multiple-month absence. (Nets lose 120-107)
LeVert’s departure has coincided with veteran DeMarre Carroll‘s return to action. However, that hasn’t exactly been an even exchange. Carroll is still getting back up to speed after preseason ankle surgery that delayed his season debut until Nov. 9. He’s shot just 33.3 percent (including 26.7 percent from 3-point range) over his first four games. The Nets have already seen a slight downturn offensively over the aforementioned three-game stretch. That’s likely to persist with their best offensive player out of the lineup.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn runs the risk of being even more short-handed in Friday’s game. Talented young rim protector Jarrett Allen is questionable with the illness that already cost him Wednesday’s game. Then, starting power forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shares the same designation due to an ankle issue. Even if both take the court, they may be less than 100 percent.
On their end, the Wizards are heading in the opposite direction. Following a 2-9 start, Washington has managed three consecutive victories. Improved defense has been key. The Wizards have allowed an average of 104.6 points in wins over the Heat, Magic and Cavaliers. That represents a significant upgrade over the 116.9 points per game they’ve allowed on the season. The Wizards have also proven quite adept at taking away the ball from their opponents. They’re forcing the fourth-most turnovers (16.5) per contest.
Then, Washington has also been strong on the other end of the floor. They’ve scored between 116 and 119 points during their current three-game winning streak. They’ve won the last two games by margins of eight and 24 points. Washington boasts seven players with double-digit scoring averages overall. Unsurprisingly, the dynamic backcourt duo of Bradley Beal (22.3 PPG) and John Wall (21.1 PPG) lead the way. Then, Dwight Howard (12.6 points) has provided important supplemental offense and helped make up for some of the struggles of small forward Otto Porter, Jr. (10.6 PPG).
By the Numbers
The Nets are 7-8 (46.7 percent) versus the spread thus far this season. That includes a 3-5 mark (37.5 percent) versus the number after a loss and an identical record against the spread in conference games. Brooklyn has also lost three consecutive games and has done so by an average of 12 points.
The Wizards are 4-3 (.571) against the number in conference games this season. Washington’s three home wins have come by an average of 15 points.
The Final Word
These are two teams trending in opposite directions at present. The Wizards come into the contest riding the wave of their improved play and are at full health. Moreover, they’ve had a chance to settle in on their homestand after traveling heavily to open the season. Conversely, in addition to potentially being down three starters (including LeVert) Friday, the Nets could be a bit road-weary — although their most recent game was at home, the prior four came in a Western Conference road swing over a seven-day period. My lean is toward the hotter, healthier team on its home floor, despite the elevated spread.
The Lean: Wizards -7