Welcome to the Saturday, December 1, 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: 14-8 (.636)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 6-3 (.667)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
12/1/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Brooklyn Nets (8-15) at Washington Wizards (8-14)
Over/Under Total: 228.0
While the Nets and Wizards sport nearly identical (and underwhelming) records, they’re viewed through two distinctly different lenses. Brooklyn’s 8-15 mark, while unsightly, still speaks to an improvement over last season. The Nets were just 28-54 during the 2017-18 campaign. Even though they come into Saturday’s game as losers of five straight, Brooklyn has been a much more competitive team this season and a legitimate threat to record a victory any time they take the floor. They’ve proven as much by already recording wins over the likes of the Nuggets (on the road) and the 76ers. And, they gave the Warriors a battle before succumbing by a 116-110 score.
The Nets went toe to toe with another quality opponent in the Grizzlies on Friday night. Brooklyn was able to take Memphis to double overtime before Mike Conley did them in with six of the final seven points in the second extra period. The 131-125 loss could prove to be costly in more than just the loss column. It also undoubtedly sapped the energy of the Nets’ key players, who unsurprisingly logged very heavy minutes. D’Angelo Russell (45 minutes), Spencer Dinwiddie (43 minutes), Jarrett Allen (39 minutes), DeMarre Carroll (39 minutes) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (38 minutes) all put in some serious work. Plus, after that marathon concluded, they were rewarded with a late-night trip to the Nation’s Capital.
In turn, although the Wizards netted the same end result as the Nets on Friday night — a loss — their starting five hardly broke a sweat in comparison. Perhaps sensing a victory was a lost cause against the red-hot 76ers after Philly took a 68-46 halftime lead, Washington coach Scott Brooks limited his starters’ minutes. John Wall (25 minutes), Bradley Beal (19 minutes), Thomas Bryant (19 minutes), Kelly Oubre, Jr. (23 minutes) and Jeff Green (22 minutes), who formed the starting five Friday, weren’t overly taxed by any means. And, Otto Porter, Jr. missed the contest for personal reasons. He’s expected to be back for Saturday’s contest, providing the Wizards with key depth by pushing Green or Oubre back to the bench.
While the Wizards have undoubtedly been a disappointment in the wake of being a perennial playoff contender for much of this decade, they’ve actually shown flashes of their past on several occasions this season, often against solid opposition. Washington claims victories over the Trail Blazers, the Rockets, the Clippers, and the Pelicans already this season. Three of those have notably come on their home floor, where Saturday’s contest unfolds.
And, even though Saturday’s spread is somewhat elevated for a team with an 8-14 record, it’s also worth noting that Washington has proven capable of that margin of victory on multiple occasions this season — five of their eight wins have been by seven points or greater. All five came at Capital One Arena. Then, nine of the Nets’ 15 losses have been by more than Saturdays’ 6.5-point spread.
Washington’s key metrics are also appreciably better on their home court, even those pertaining to their admittedly poor defense. While the Wizards allow the most points (118.5) per game overall, they allow almost eight less per game at home than on the road (114.5, compared to 122.4). Plus, they score almost eight more points per contest at Capital One (116.1, compared to 108.3). That’s directly correlated to a 47.7 percent success rate from the field at home, compared to a 43.5 percent road figure.
By the Numbers
The Nets are 10-13 (43.5 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 6-8 mark (42.9 percent) versus the number after a loss. And, Brooklyn is 0-5 against the spread when playing on the second game of a back-to-back.
The Wizards are 6-5 (54.5 percent) against the spread at home this season. That includes a 5-4 mark (55.6 percent) versus the number as a home favorite. And, Washington is 2-0 versus the number on the second game of back-to-backs.
The Final Word
While this is a battle between two losing squads, there’ll be no shortage of talent on the floor. However, some of those players, namely those on the Nets, should be significantly more worn down in the wake of the aforementioned double-overtime battle Friday. That’s undoubtedly a pivotal factor in the elevated spread, as Brooklyn has actually been a solid team against the number on the road this season under normal circumstances. This is an unusual scenario, however, and I, therefore, see the Wizards having enough to cover the number on their home court due to the extenuating factors.
The Pick: Wizards -6.5, Wizards moneyline