Welcome to the Wednesday, Dec. 5, 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: 17-8 (.680)
ATS Leans: 4-4 (.500)
Moneyline: 8-3 (.727)
Over/Under: 4-2 (.667)
12/5/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Oklahoma City Thunder (15-7) at Brooklyn Nets (8-17)
Over/Under Total: 217.5
The Nets have been cast in the lead role for this year’s production of A Tale of Two Seasons. Brooklyn looked like one of the more improved teams in the NBA before emerging wing Caris LeVert — he of the 18.4 points (on 47.5 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals per contest— went down with a serious foot injury against the Timberwolves on Nov. 12. The Nets have gone into a tailspin in his absence, dropping nine of their subsequent 11 games, including seven straight.
The Thunder’s tale is largely the opposite. OKC began the 2018-19 campaign without Russell Westbrook, who’d undergone a preseason knee scope. They dropped the first four games of the season before righting the ship by rattling off seven straight victories. Three additional multigame-win streaks have followed, including the three-game run they enter Wednesday’s contest with. The Thunder hasn’t been affording its opponents much mercy recently, either — they’ve walloped the Warriors by 28, the Cavaliers by 17, the Hawks by 15, and, most recently, the Pistons by 17 in a particularly impressive road win Monday night.
The sizable margins are at least partly the reflection of a rested, refreshed squad —Wednesday’s contest will only mark the Thunder’s fourth game over 11 days. They’ve had instances of both a three-day and two-day break between games dating back to Nov. 24. In comparison, the Nets will be taking the floor Wednesday for the sixth time over that same span.
The two teams are also a study in contrasts in terms of their track record under their respective home/road designations for Wednesday. OKC checks in with a solid 6-4 record away from Chesapeake Energy Arena. That includes a 3-1 mark over their last four road tilts. Two of those are the aforementioned triumphs over the Warriors and Pistons. Then, the Nets sport an unsightly 3-9 record on their home floor. Brooklyn has been defeated at Barclays Center in each of their last seven games there.
Given their poor home court track record, it’s no surprise some of the Nets’ metrics are appreciably worse at Barclays than on the road. On the defensive end of the floor, Brooklyn is allowing the sixth-highest shooting percentage in the NBA at home (47.4 percent). And, they’ve yielded an even more generous 48.3 percent over their last three games. Two of those contests have come at home. Such elevated success rates from the field naturally breed more scoring. Accordingly, the Nets’ 114.8 points per game allowed at Barclays is the third highest for any team on their home floor. It’s also over seven additional points per contest than the 107.5 they yield on the road.
In turn, the Thunder have been able to mostly keep up, and in some cases improve, their quality of play when traveling. For example, OKC checks in with the stingiest road defense in the NBA in terms of points allowed — they’ve surrendered just 102.6 per away game, as opposed to a still-impressive 104.4 at home. Incidentally, no team has been stingier overall in the past three games. The Thunder is allowing a miserly 91.7 points per contest over that span. Then, OKC also claims a league-best figure in terms of shooting percentage allowed for the season on the road (43.5 percent).
By the Numbers
The Thunder is 14-8 (63.6 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 7-3 mark (70 percent) versus the number as a road team. Specifically, they’ve generated a 4-1 tally (80 percent) as a road favorite, a circumstance in which they’ve exceeded the spread by an average of 10 points. OKC also sports a 7-2 record (77.8 percent) against the spread in nonconference games.
The Nets are 10-15 (40 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes an NBA worst 3-9 (25 percent) mark versus the number as a home team and a 3-6 tally (33.3 percent) as a home underdog. Brooklyn is also 4-8 (33.3 percent) against the spread in nonconference games and 6-10 (37.5 percent) versus the number following a loss.
The Final Word
The two teams have some markedly different trends in terms of their performances against the spread, and the talent level tilts in favor of OKC, especially with LeVert out. I do expect the Nets to put up a solid fight for much of this contest in an attempt to curb both their home and overall losing streaks. However, the differences in both personnel and rest will become evident toward the latter portion of the contest, where I see the Thunder pulling away sufficiently to secure the cover.
The Pick: Thunder -7, Thunder moneyline