Welcome to the Tuesday, December 4, 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: 16-8 (.667)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 7-3 (.700)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
12/4/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Portland Trail Blazers (13-10) at Dallas Mavericks (11-10)
Over/Under Total: 220.0
The Trail Blazers and Mavericks have been traveling divergent paths for the majority of the season thus far. Tuesday, those paths cross for the first time. The first matchup of the campaign between the two Western Conference clubs comes in the midst of a particularly poor stretch of play for Portland, and an impressive string of performances on the part of Dallas. The Blazers have lost five of their last six contests. In turn, the Mavs come in with an 8-2 record over their last 10 games. That sample includes six home victories. Dallas has won seven consecutive games overall at American Airlines Center.
A significant portion of Portland’s struggles this season have come on the road. The Blazers sport just a 5-6 record outside of Moda Center. And, their last three road losses have been especially noteworthy. Portland most recently fell to the Spurs by 13 points at AT&T Center. Before that game, they saw the Stephen Curry-less Warriors wallop them by 28 and the Bucks blast them by 43. The defense has been an issue — the Blazers allowed an average of 133.3 points per game in those defeats. For the season, they’ve yielded an average of 115.6 points per game on the road. That’s a sizable bump over the 108.1 they’ve surrendered on their home floor. That disparity is naturally the byproduct of opponents shooting much better versus the Blazers in away contests (48.1 percent) than when facing them at Moda (43.7 percent).
In turn, the Mavericks boast appreciably better metrics on their home court. To begin with, Dallas has been stingier on the defensive end. The Mavs allowed the seventh-fewest points in the NBA at home (106.9). That’s a notable drop from the 111.0 per contest they’re allowing on the road. Then, Dallas is a virtual offensive juggernaut when on their home floor. The Mavs have put up an average of 115.5 points per game at AA Center, eighth most in the league, as compared to a much more modest 105.6 in away games. There’s certainly a shooting percentage correlation in that sizable gap — Dallas’ 48.3 percent success rate from the field at AA Center is not only a stark improvement over its 43.8 percent road figure, it’s also the fifth highest of any team on their home court.
There are some injury concerns at play Tuesday for both clubs, but more so on the home squad’s side. However, several of those are likely to be cleared by tipoff. Dallas’ point guard duo of Dennis Smith Jr. and J.J. Barea is dealing with mouth-related issues; however, both are expected to take the floor. Then, breakout rookie Luka Doncic is also expected to suit up after a one-game absence due to a hip strain. The backup forward duo of Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber are much iffier with knee injuries, but the Mavs have quality depth in the form of Dorian Finney-Smith to fill in if necessary. Meanwhile, on the Blazers’ side, valuable reserve Evan Turner is considered probable to return from his one-game absence due to an Achilles injury.
By the Numbers
The Trail Blazers are 11-12 (47.8 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 4-7 mark (36.4 percent) versus the number as a road team and a 2-5 record (28.6 percent) as a road underdog. Portland is also 4-5 (44.4 percent) against the spread after a loss.
The Mavericks are an NBA-best 14-7 (66.7 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes an NBA-best 9-2 mark (81.8 percent) against the number as a home team overall, where they’ve exceeded the number by an average of 8.6 points per contest. Dallas is 4-1 (80.0 percent) against the spread specifically as a home favorite as well, and 8-5 (61.5 percent) versus the number in conference games.
The Final Word
The Mavericks’ track record against the spread, particularly at home, is as good as it gets thus far this season. While Dallas is indeed dealing with some injuries to important players, it appears that the most pivotal ones will be cleared up in time for Tuesday’s contest. The Trail Blazers have been struggling of late. This is not the ideal matchup to the right the ship. While I expect a very close contest, I see the Mavs having just enough on their home floor to pull out the victory.
The Pick: Mavericks -1, Mavericks moneyline