Welcome to the Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 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: 13-7 (.650)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 6-3 (.667)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
11/28/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Dallas Mavericks (9-9) at Houston Rockets (9-10)
Over/Under Total: 217.0
The Rockets’ season thus far has been fraught with fits and starts. Houston opened up the campaign mired by poor play, suspensions, and key injuries. And that was just over the first six games. Houston then seemingly righted the ship by going 8-2 over the subsequent 10 contests. However, things are now on a downswing again. The Rockets come into Wednesday’s game having lost three straight. Their most recent defeat was an exhausting one too. Houston chased the Wizards up and down the court for five quarters in D.C. and dropped a 135-131 decision in overtime.
A leg injury to Chris Paul that’s already cost him two games certainly hasn’t helped. He’s questionable for Wednesday’s game. Then, the Rockets’ defense has betrayed them recently, with Paul’s absence undoubtedly playing a part. Houston is allowing the third-most points (122.7) per game over the last three contests. That represents a significant jump from their 109.3 seasonal figure. In addition to the aforementioned 135 points they allowed Washington, the Rockets gave up 117, 116 and 124 points, respectively, in matchups against the Cavaliers and back-to-back tilts versus the Pistons over the prior three contests.
It’s also worth noting that Houston’s defense has been appreciably more vulnerable at home. The Rockets are allowing four more points per contest at Toyota Center (111.6, compared to 107.6 on the road). Houston is also yielding the second-highest three-point percentage on their home floor (38.5). And they’re yielding a robust 47.5 percent success rate overall there as well.
Now, the Mavericks got their season off to a similarly miserable start — 2-7 after nine games. They’ve subsequently generated a 7-2 record. The Mavs’ victims during that span include the Thunder, Jazz, Warriors, and Celtics. Granted, all but one of Dallas’ wins have come at home. They’ve often played competitively in tough road matchups. Four of their seven losses away from American Airlines Center have come by a margin narrower than Wednesday’s spread.
Dallas has gotten it done with strong play on both ends of the floor. The Mavs are averaging a solid 110.1 points per game on the offensive side. Then, they’re yielding the seventh-fewest per contest (108.6). That includes the sixth-fewest (105.0) over the last three contests. The Mavs have been particularly tough near the basket. They’re allowing the fourth-fewest points in the paint per game (43.3), including the third-fewest on the road (42.8).
Dallas boasts a deep roster well equipped to handle absences in the starting five. That much was evident in their 113-104 victory over the Celtics last Saturday. Dennis Smith, Jr. missed the game with a wrist injury, but capable veteran J.J. Barea stepped in to provide 20 points, eight assists, and three rebounds. The Mavs handled a recent three-game absence by starting two-guard Wesley Matthews in a similarly effective fashion. Dallas boasts six players with double-digit scoring averages and with shooting percentages of 44.0 or better.
Finally, the difference in rest between these two Texas teams is worth noting. The Rockets are coming off the aforementioned grueling overtime road loss on Monday night. Meanwhile, Dallas hasn’t taken the court since last Saturday night’s win against Boston. They’ve been especially effective versus the number when playing on at least two days of rest this season, as noted below. And while Paul remains firmly questionable for Wednesday’s game, the extra rest time afforded to Smith has him trending toward probable for tonight’s contest (UPDATE: Smith is stating that he will play in tonight’s contest). Luka Doncic is also dealing with an illness, but there aren’t yet indications his status for Wednesday is in serious jeopardy (UPDATE: Doncic is now confirmed as available for tonight’s game).
By the Numbers
The Mavericks are 12-6 (66.7 percent) versus the spread this season. That includes a 3-2 mark (60.0 percent) mark as road underdogs. They’re also 5-3 (62.5 percent) against the number after a win and 5-0 versus the number when playing on two days or more of rest.
The Rockets are 7-12 (36.8 percent) versus the spread this season. That includes a 3-5 mark (37.5 percent) as the home favorites. Houston is also 3-6 (33.3 percent) against the number after a loss and 0-2 versus the spread in division games.
The Final Word
These two teams come in pretty closely matched when at full health. Dallas has the better shot of achieving that status Wednesday, as Paul could be headed for a third-straight absence. Irrespective of whether he plays, we’re dealing with an inflated spread here that projects a sizable margin of victory for a Houston team that’s currently in a funk and has the worse season record overall. Dallas’ poor road record likely plays into that, but the Mavs appear to have made serious strides recently. I’m calling a cover at a minimum for a well-rested Dallas team.
The Pick: Mavericks +7.5