Welcome to the Monday, Dec. 3, 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: 15-8 (.652)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 7-3 (.700)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
12/3/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers (4-18) at Brooklyn Nets (8-16)
Over/Under Total: 212.0
From a pure basketball perspective, the records aren’t pretty, likely making this the least aesthetically pleasing game of the night. However, it makes for an interesting betting scenario. To begin with, the Brooklyn Nets have been a better defensive team on the road than at Barclays Center. Brooklyn has allowed 116.7 points per game on their home floor, compared to 107.5 points per contest on the road. Then, they’ve yielded a 47.8 percent success rate from the floor at home. That’s a 2-point bump over the figure they’ve allowed in their away contests.
The Nets are also in the midst of a tailspin that coincides with the serious foot injury suffered by Caris LeVert on Nov. 12. Brooklyn has dropped eight of 10 games in the emerging wing’s absence. That sample includes six home defeats. The most recent was an especially taxing: The Nets dropped a double-overtime decision to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. The resulting sluggishness was evident the following evening when Brooklyn fell to the Washington Wizards by a 102-88 score. The Nets could still be feeling some after effects Monday, considering their date with the Cleveland Cavaliers is their third game in four nights overall.
Cleveland is also taking the floor for the third time since Friday, although they still figure to be the more rested team. Not only do the Cavs not have a double-overtime marathon on their ledger, but the second unit has also been seeing plenty of minutes in recent contests. That’s distributed the workload more evenly. It’s also worth noting Cleveland has shown notable improvement in some recent games, often against quality opponents. The Cavs recently scored victories over the 76ers and Rockets in back-to-back contests. They also lost to the Timberwolves by seven and the Lakers by four. And, they played the Raptors tough in their most game on Saturday night before dropping a 106-95 decision.
Brooklyn isn’t near the caliber of squad of any of those recent opponents, especially without LeVert in the lineup. The Cavaliers are also healthier now that they’ve gotten savvy veteran George Hill back from an extended absence due to a shoulder injury. He scored eight points over 19 minutes Saturday versus Toronto and should see a bump in minutes Monday. While his presence in the lineup was missed over the previous 11 games, his absence did have a silver lining. It allowed first-round pick Collin Sexton to gain valuable experience as a starter. That should make him more effective moving forward while providing the bench with some valuable scoring punch.
It’s also worth noting that Cleveland appears to have helped itself considerably with the recent trade of Kyle Korver to the Jazz. That transaction netted them Alec Burks, a considerably younger and just as effective 3-point shooter. The 27-year-old has contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively, in his first two games with the Cavs. His presence on the second unit gives Cleveland even more quality depth when the starters are off the floor.
By the Numbers
The Cavaliers are 6-5 (54.5 percent) against the spread as a road underdog this season. They’re also 8-7 (53.3 percent) versus the number in conference games and 9-8 (52.9 percent) against the spread after a loss.
The Nets are an NBA-worst 3-8 (27.3 percent) against the spread as a home team this season, including 0-2 versus the number as a home favorite. Brooklyn is also 6-9 (40.0 percent) against the spread after a loss.
The Final Word
Both teams share unsightly records that belie their overall talent to an extent. It’s difficult to trust either squad’s performance from night to night, but the trends are fairly clear in this instance. Plus, while both are playing their third game in four nights — the Nets played a double-overtime contest within that sample — which makes a notable difference. While Brooklyn could certainly have enough in the tank for a straight-up victory on their home floor, I see the Cavaliers managing to come in under the elevated spread.
The Pick: Cavaliers +6