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Luka Doncic

Welcome to the Wednesday, Jan. 30 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 SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook888 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.

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Season to Date:

ATS Picks: 20-16 (.555)
ATS Leans: 17-12-1 (.586)
Moneyline: 21-8 (.724)
Over/Under: 12-6 (.667)

1/30/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Dallas Mavericks (22-27) vs. New York Knicks (10-39)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Mavericks -6.5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Mavericks -6.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Mavericks -6.5
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Mavericks -6.5

Over/Under Total: 216.0


The Breakdown

The Mavericks are reaping the rewards of Luka Doncic‘s spectacular exploits: one of the best rookie seasons in recent memory. Yet their overall record still leaves plenty to be desired. That’s primarily due to an inordinate disparity in their home/road splits. Dallas sports an impressive 18-7 record on its home floor of American Airlines Center. That leaves them with an atrocious 4-20 road mark.

If there’s any glimmer of optimism to be gleaned from the Mavericks’ road woes, it’s that they’ve often lost close. Moreover, Dallas has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to play very competitively on the road against teams of a much higher caliber than tonight’s Knicks. For example, on the road, the Mavs have lost by a respectable 10 to the Bucks, by six to the 76ers, by three to the Trail Blazers in overtime, by four to the Warriors and Clippers, by eight to the Nuggets, by five to the Spurs in overtime, and by a sole point to a Lakers squad that had a healthy LeBron James. Then, they also scored a 20-point win over the Rockets and blasted the Hornets by 38 for two of those four away victories.


While the Mavericks unsurprisingly sport worse metrics on both ends of the floor when traveling, the Knicks aren’t exactly the best-suited team to take advantage. New York hasn’t even been able to crack the century mark on the scoreboard in three straight games. Then, while they’ve been respectable on defense in those contests (no more than 109 points allowed in any of the three), the fact remains they’ve surrendered over 120 points in three of their last nine games. Two of those have come on their home floor of Madison Square Garden. Overall, New York is allowing the second-most points of any team on its home floor (114.3), along with the fifth-highest shooting percentage (47.3).

Rest should also play a pivotal part Wednesday. The schedule-makers did New York no favors with this current stretch. The Knicks will be playing their fourth game in six nights Wednesday, and their fifth overall in the last eight. That should make for a tired squad, particularly in the second half, even when factoring in how young New York is overall. In contrast, the Mavericks last took the court Sunday. Then, a quartet of absences — three certain, one projected — weakens the Knicks further. They’ll definitely be without Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder), Frank Ntilikina (groin), and Luke Kornet (ankle) for Wednesday’s game. Coach David Fizdale also figures to keep Enes Kanter out of the rotation for a fifth straight contest. That robs the Knicks of fresh legs and some badly needed offensive punch.

One interesting sidebar to this game is that the Knicks notched one of their six road wins this season in Dallas back on Nov. 2. However, Mudiay, Ntilikina, and Kanter were all available for that contest. That game also unfolded quite early in the season, before the Mavs had truly established their home dominance and while key pieces like Doncic and DeAndre Jordan were still getting acclimated. Since that game, New York is 7-33. In contrast, the Mavericks are an even .500 (20-20).

By The Numbers

The Mavericks are 30-19 (NBA-best 61.2 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 12-12 mark (50.0 percent) versus the number on the road. Dallas is also 9-3 (75.0 percent) versus the number when playing on two or three days’ rest, 12-5 (NBA-best 70.6 percent) against the spread in non-conference games, and 17-9 (65.4 percent) against the spread following a loss.

The Knicks are 22-25-2 (46.8 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes an 8-12-1 mark (40.0 percent) versus the number as a home team and 6-8-1 (42.9 percent) as a home underdog. New York is also 12-12-2 (50.0 percent) against the spread when playing with one day’s rest and 15-22-1 (40.5 percent) versus the number in games following a loss.


The Final Word

Non-conference games always carry an element of unpredictability due to the relative unfamiliarity of each team with the other. However, I see this as a simple case of talent and rest prevailing. The strain of a fourth game in six nights should be enough to crack the will of the Knicks in the second half, just enough for a Mavericks cover of a deceptively difficult spread in an extremely rare road victory.

The Lean (assuming Kanter remains out of the rotation): Mavericks -6.5, Mavericks moneyline

(If Kanter is announced as in the starting lineup pregame, my lean becomes Knicks +6.5, Mavericks moneyline)

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