Welcome to the Saturday, Nov. 24, 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: 10-7 (.588)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 5-3 (.625)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
11/24/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Boston Celtics (10-9) at Dallas Mavericks (8-9)
Over/Under Total: 212.5
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The Celtics have flirted with the label of most disappointing team in the NBA throughout their first 19 games. Sure, their 10-9 record is far from the ugliest in the league. However, relative to preseason expectations, Boston has undoubtedly underwhelmed by a significant margin. What’s more, they’ve done so while enjoying relatively good health. Both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, key pieces that were missing for all (Hayward) or key portions (Irving) of last season, have suited up for all but one game.
The Celts do come into Saturday’s contest with one key name on the injury report: Al Horford. The big man sat out Friday’s win over the Hawks with left knee soreness. He’ll be a game-time decision for Saturday’s clash. It’s also worth noting Boston will be the less rested team Saturday. The Celtics will be playing their third game in four nights and their fourth in the last six overall. They flew in late Friday night from Atlanta where they notched a 114-96 win over the lowly Hawks. Coach Brad Stevens did have the luxury of keeping all of his starters’ minutes to 24 or less in the comfortable victory.
One of the Celtics’ principal problems thus far this season has been offense, or a lack thereof. Boston is shooting a pedestrian 43.4 percent on the road. The Celts rank in the bottom 10 of the league with 106.4 points per game. They’ve scored under 100 points in a trio of contests. Jayson Tatum (43.1 percent shooting), Jaylen Brown (38.1 percent shooting), and Hayward (40.0 percent shooting) have all taken steps back as offensive players thus far.
In contrast, the Mavericks have arguably been exceeding expectations after a 24-58 finish last season. Dallas got off on the wrong foot with an Opening Night loss to the Suns. But they’ve rebounded to .500 since. Then, the Mavs are averaging a solid 109.9 points per game, including a stellar 116.0 per home tilt. Both numbers, especially the latter, are dramatic improvements over last season’s average of 102.3 PPG. That boost is naturally a byproduct of improved shooting. Dallas is draining 46.0 percent of their attempts. That includes a 48.8 percent success rate at American Airlines Center.
Dallas will come into Saturday’s game with serious momentum as well. They’ve won five of their last six, including over the Thunder, Jazz, and Warriors. All three wins came on the Mavs’ home floor. Dallas has been getting it done with balance on the offensive end. First-round pick Luka Doncic has made an immediate impact and is averaging a team-high 19.3 points. After getting a late start to the season with an injury, Harrison Barnes is now up to 16.8 points per game, second behind Doncic.
Wesley Matthews, currently hampered by a hamstring injury that could keep him out Saturday, is playing his best basketball since his Portland heyday (16.2 PPG). Promising second-year point guard Dennis Smith, Jr. (14.1 PPG) and veteran offseason acquisition DeAndre Jordan (11.2 PPG, 13.6 RPG) round out a rock-solid first unit. J.J. Barea (10.3 PPG) spearheads a strong bench that also includes capable pieces such as Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Devin Harris.
By the Numbers
The Celtics are 7-12 (36.8 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 3-8 mark (27.3 percent) versus the number in road games and a 2-4 tally (33.3 percent) as a road favorite. Then, the Celtics are 0-3 against the spread on the second game of back-to-backs. Boston is also an NBA-worst 1-5 (16.7 percent) against the number in non-conference games. They’re also just 5-6 as far as their overall road record.
The Mavericks are 11-6 (64.7 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 7-2 mark (77.8 percent) versus the number at home — where they’ve exceeded it by an average of 8.4 points — and a 3-1 tally (75.0 percent) as a home underdog. Dallas is also 5-2 (71.4 percent) versus the number in non-conference games. The Mavericks also sport a 7-2 home record.
The Final Word
The Mavericks have excelled on their home floor while the Celtics have scuffled on the road. In addition to all the numbers just cited that point in Dallas’ favor, rest will be a factor. As detailed previously, Boston has played plenty of basketball over the last six days. Meanwhile, the Mavs come in refreshed with two full days of rest and haven’t had to travel. Anything can happen with respect to a straight-up winner as both clubs are pretty close in talent overall. However, I see enough for a Dallas cover at minimum.
The Pick: Mavericks +3.5