Welcome to the Friday, Feb. 8 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/Leans: 40-29-1 (.580)
Moneyline: 23-8 (.742)
Over/Under: 14-8 (.636)
2/8/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Chicago Bulls (12-42) vs. Brooklyn Nets (29-27)
Over/Under Total: 224.0
The Bulls and Nets will enter their third encounter of the season with potential offensive infusion on both sides. However, not all of it is due to Thursday’s trade deadline. First, Brooklyn saw the return of Allen Crabbe to the lineup Wednesday night versus the Nuggets following a 25-game absence due to knee problems. The sixth-year wing put up five points, three assists, and one steal over 13 minutes and is likely due for a playing time boost Friday. Then, the Nets are set to welcome Caris LeVert back into the fold Friday for the first time since Nov. 12. On that date, the 2016 first-round pick suffered a dislocated foot against the Timberwolves.
At the time, LeVert looked to be an early candidate for team MVP and Most Improved Player. He was averaging career highs in points (18.4), rebounds (4.3), and shooting percentage (47.5), while also equaling a career high in steals (1.2). In his extended absence, D’Angelo Russell has taken the reins of the offense while registering his own new highs in points (19.8), assists (6.5), made threes (2.7), shooting percentage (43.7), free-throw percentage (82.0), and three-point percentage (38.0).
Then, the Bulls counter with the recent acquisition of Otto Porter, Jr. from the Washington Wizards. The talented wing is eventually expected to slide into the starting small forward role although that may not yet be the case Friday. After joining his new teammates in New York on Thursday, Porter has a good chance to at least make his debut and play solid minutes. Given his offensive talent, Porter will take some defensive attention from Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Kris Dunn. In the process, he’ll bring even more firepower to a team that’s scored 117 points or more in three of their past four games but also struggled with its offensive efficiency for extended stretches.
While the Bulls’ shooting has been consistently inconsistent this season, their defense has suffered from no such issue. They’ve been steadfastly generous to the opposition. Chicago has allowed 117 points or more in 19 games, including two contests versus the Nets. That sample includes five tallies of over 130. And they’ve been especially vulnerable of late. Nearly half (eight) of those instances have unfolded since Jan. 9, a span of 14 games.
As alluded to earlier, the Nets have the talent to exploit those weaknesses and light up the scoreboard. To begin with, they’ve been a notably more explosive squad on their home floor of Barclays Center. Brooklyn is averaging a robust 115.2 points per home game, compared to 107.6 on the road. The Nets are also shooting a solid 45.8 percent at home (including 36.6 percent from three-point range), an improvement over their respective 44.2 percent and 34.4 percent road success rates in those categories. Since the calendar flipped to 2019, the Nets have scored over 120 points in four of nine home games and a solid 116 in another contest during that stretch. That sample includes a 122-point haul against Chicago on Jan. 29.
However, it’s also worth noting Brooklyn has been a more susceptible defensive squad on their home floor. The Nets are now allowing over three more points per home game than on the road (113.3, compared to 110.1). Fittingly, they’re also yielding a higher shooting percentage there (46.6 percent, compared to 45.9 percent). And in that aforementioned Jan. 29 contest versus the Bulls, Brooklyn allowed 117 points and 50.0 percent shooting to Chicago.
Finally, neither of the two teams’ top healthy offensive pieces has found individual success hard to come by in tonight’s matchup:
- Russell, BKN: 23.7 points (on 47.3 percent shooting) and 5.0 assists across 33.3 minutes in three games vs. Bulls.
- Jarrett Allen, BKN: 14.0 points (on 62.5 percent shooting) across 28.0 minutes in three games vs. Bulls.
- LaVine, CHI: 26.5 points (on 59.5 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent from three-point range) across 35.5 minutes in two games vs. Nets.
- Dunn, CHI: 18.3 points (on 54.3 percent shooting, including 37.5 percent from three-point range), 4.3 assists across 33.3 minutes in three games vs. Nets.
By The Numbers
The Over is 13-13 (50.0 percent) in the 26 games in which the Bulls have road underdogs this season. Three of Chicago’s last four games overall have gone over Friday’s projected total.
The Over is 29-27 (51.8 percent) in the Nets’ 56 games this season. It’s also 16-13 (55.2 percent) in Brooklyn’s home games and 6-6 (50.0 percent) in their 12 games as a home favorite. The Over is also 18-10 (NBA-high 64.3 percent) in games following a Nets win and 20-14 (58.8 percent) in games that Brooklyn has played with one day of rest.
Finally, the combined totals for the most recent two meetings between these teams were 227 and 239.
The Final Word
Both teams have shown a propensity for getting into shootouts this season. The Nets are healthier than they’ve been in a long time now that both LeVert and Crabbe are back, giving a notable boost to their depth and offensive firepower. Then, Brooklyn has been at its most vulnerable defensively at home, and each team’s stars have thrived against the opposition this season. The possibility that Porter also takes the floor for the Bulls in an abbreviated role at minimum also ups their chances of racking up some points. Given all of these factors and a manageable total, I’m looking for the over to prevail in this game.
The Pick: Over 224.0