Welcome to the Wednesday, Feb. 6 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: 20-17 (.541)
ATS Leans: 19-12-1 (.613)
Moneyline: 23-8 (.742)
Over/Under: 13-8 (.619)
2/6/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Denver Nuggets (37-16) vs. Brooklyn Nets (28-27)
Over/Under Total: 226.0
The story of the Nets’ season seems to be equal parts overachievement and key injuries. Brooklyn already matched last season’s win total four games ago. However, they’ve gotten stuck there since. Brooklyn has dropped three straight and four of their last five overall. Their current skid has essentially coincided with the absence of yet another pivotal component of their attack. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was averaging a career-high 17.2 points on career-high 46.1 percent shooting across his first 49 games, succumbed to torn ligaments in his thumb and has missed six games following surgery.
Dinwiddie’s absence was preceded by extended injury-related sabbaticals on the parts of Caris LeVert (foot) and Allen Crabbe (knee). While LeVert remains out Wednesday, Crabbe is reportedly set to return after a 25-game absence. The young veteran will serve as valuable depth even if he doesn’t jump right back into a starting role. He offers an important long-range dimension to the offense. Considering Brooklyn has scored 104 points or fewer in three of its aforementioned four recent losses, Crabbe’s return is particularly welcome.
Although they stumbled against the Bucks in their most recent home contest, the Nets have been impressive on their home floor of Barclays Center more often than not this season. Prior to the loss versus Milwaukee, Brooklyn had won nine consecutive home contests and 13 of 14 at Barclays zooming out further. That impressive stretch included victories over the Kings, Celtics, and Raptors in terms of teams with winning records. The Nets have played quality teams from either conference close at home all season, as they’ve suffered just one double-digit loss (10 points) to a team with a winning record at Barclays. They’re averaging a robust 114.5 points per home contest while shooting a solid 45.6 percent there.
Then, the Nuggets have utilized the thin air of their hometown to forge an excellent record at Pepsi Center. But they’ve predictably been much more ordinary on the road. Denver is just 14-12 when traveling, compared to a stellar 23-4 mark at home. The Nuggets’ 106.7 points per game scored on the road is not only a bottom-half figure but also just a shade under 10 points per game fewer than the 116.5 they tally per Pepsi Center game.
Predictably, that disparity is largely the byproduct of a significant downturn in shooting efficiency. The Nuggets are draining just 44.8 percent of their road attempts, compared to 49.5 percent at home. There’s also a notable split on the defensive end: they’re allowing 108.7 points per road contest, compared to 104.5 at home. And the Nuggets are tied for the fifth-most points (119.0) allowed over their last three games.
Then, even in victory, the guys from the Mile High City have had trouble gaining separation on the road. Of Denver’s 14 away wins, 12 have been by single digits. And they’re just 5-6 away from Denver against teams with a current .500 or better records. Of those five wins, three have been by four points or less. Plus, the six losses have often been convincing. Four of them came by seven points or more, including two by double digits.
Finally, the Nuggets’ recent schedule and health both need to be considered when evaluating the chances of a Nets cover Wednesday. Denver is coming off a 129-103 walloping at the hands of the Detroit Pistons on Monday night. That was their third game in four nights. With just one day off since that contest, the Nuggets are still on the grind Wednesday with a fourth game in six nights. Moreover, Denver is likely to still be missing Jamal Murray (ankle) against the Nets despite his questionable designation. Paul Millsap (ankle) is also a 50/50 proposition after missing Monday’s contest.
By The Numbers
The Nuggets are 10-16 (38.5 percent) against the spread as a road team this season. That includes a 4-10 mark (28.6 percent) as a road favorite. Denver is also 6-9 (40.0 percent) versus the number in games following a loss, and they’re 17-16 (51.5 percent) against the spread when playing on one day of rest.
The Nets are 30-25 (54.5 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 14-14 mark (50.0 percent) versus the number at home and an 8-8 mark (50.0 percent) as a home underdog. Brooklyn is also 11-9 (55.0 percent) against the spread in non-conference games and 18-15 (54.5 percent) versus the number in games they’ve played on one day of rest.
Finally, the Nets already own a two-point victory over the Nuggets in their one prior meeting this season.
The Final Word
This is a trickier game to prognosticate than the win-loss records might imply. Denver has the mark of an elite team, but they’ve undeniably had a difficult time separating on the road. Then, the Nets are stuck in a funk at the moment, as the absence of Dinwiddie has clearly made an impact. However, the game is on Brooklyn’s home floor, and the Nuggets are playing their fourth game in six nights while also coming in short-handed themselves. Thus, I’m leaning toward the Nets covering in a very tight contest.
The Lean: Nets +3.5