Welcome to the Monday, Nov. 26 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: 11-7 (.611)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 5-3 (.625)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
11/26/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Indiana Pacers (11-8) at Utah Jazz (9-11)
Over/Under Total: 206.5
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The Jazz has been one of the more perplexing teams in the NBA over the first month-plus of the season. They seemingly have the talent to approximate last season’s 48-34 record, which led to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. After all, Utah returns the same starting five. Plus, they now have valued reserve (and occasional starter) Jae Crowder fully integrated into their system. Veteran sharpshooter Alec Burks is also healthy and shooting at career-best levels. However, Utah’s vaunted defense has surprisingly let them down on occasion. And in other instances, it’s been poor offensive showings that have been the culprit. A total of three absences by second-year guard Donovan Mitchell hasn’t helped matters either. He’s already ruled out for Monday’s game as well.
Utah did score an impressive 133-112 road win against the Kings on Sunday night. However, they’d dropped five of their prior six games. They uncharacteristically allowed between 113 and 121 points in four of those losses. Then, they scored a measly 83 points against the Lakers in their other defeat during that stretch. Utah has allowed 108.3 points per game. That’s a sharp spike from the 100.4 they allowed a season ago. Plus, they’ve been at their worst at home. They’ve yielded 112.3 points at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
In contrast, the Pacers have been among the stingiest teams in the NBA. Indiana has allowed the second-fewest points per contest (102.8). They’ve been at their best at home, but they’ve made up for a bit more vulnerability on the road with an outstanding offense of their own. The Pacers’ 49.8 percent success rate from the field outside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse is the top team road shooting percentage in the NBA. That’s led to a solid average of 107.0 points per game on the road, a notable improvement over their 104.3 home figure. And, they’ve averaged 110.0 points overall in their last three contests.
Indiana boasts an array of strong shooters up and down the roster. The Pacers have eight players with 44.0 percent or better shooting. They rank fourth as a team with a 47.9 percent success rate from the floor overall. And on the defensive end of the floor, they’ve been the toughest team to score on near the basket. They’ve allowed the fewest points in the paint per contest (39.6). That’s a particularly bad matchup for the Jazz, which relies a good amount on Rudy Gobert (75.5 percent of scoring in the paint) and Derrick Favors (68.3 percent of scoring in the paint) for offense.
Finally, both teams come in with key injuries to their star two-guards. Both Victor Oladipo (knee) and Mitchell (ribs) have both been confirmed as out for Monday’s game. Indiana is better equipped to handle his absence than the Jazz is to handle Mitchell’s. Tyreke Evans is a capable fill-in for Oladipo. He’s a versatile player and former starter capable of offering solid contributions across the stat sheet. In turn, the Jazz could have Royce O’Neale, who started Sunday’s game for Mitchell but scored just two points over 15 minutes, run with the first unit again if the latter can’t play. The second-year wing can’t come anywhere close to making up for the scoring void created when the latter is out of the lineup.
By the Numbers
The Pacers are 1-0 against the spread in the only other game they’ve played on at least two days’ rest this season. They’re also 4-2-1 (66.7 percent) versus the number after a loss. And, Indiana defeated the Jazz by 27 points three games ago.
The Jazz are 3-4 (42.9 percent) against the spread at home, failing to cover by an average of 8.8 points. That includes a 2-4 mark (33.3 percent) as a home favorite, a sample during which they’ve failed to cover by an average of 10.5 points. Utah is also 2-3 (40.0 percent) versus the number in non-conference games.
The Final Word
The Pacers come in the more rested team, having last played Friday. Utah has not only has played three games in four nights, but they also had to travel back from California late Sunday night. Indiana has also been a better road squad than Utah has been at home. Plus, Oladipo’s absence is essentially canceled out by that of Mitchell. And, both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, who were previously questionable with ankle injuries, are confirmed as available. Given the circumstances outlined, I look for the Pacers to come in under the number even if they can’t manage to win outright.
The Pick: Pacers +4.5