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Luka Doncic

Welcome to the Monday, March 4 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 Leans/Picks: 47-32-1 (.595)
Moneyline: 26-9 (.743)
Over/Under: 17-12-1 (.586)

3/4/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Dallas Mavericks (27-35) vs. Brooklyn Nets (32-33)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Nets -5 (o/u: 224.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Nets -5 (o/u: 224)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Nets -5 (o/u: 224.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Nets -5 (o/u: 224.5)

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The Breakdown

Monday’s Mavericks-Nets interconference battle features two teams with dynamic point guards — Luka Donic and D’Angelo Russell — that have the talent to be eventually considered two of the best players of their generation. However, it also will feature two teams that have seriously spiraling fortunes at the moment, as both Dallas and Brooklyn will enter the contest mired in extended stretches of losing.

For their part, the visiting Mavericks six of their last seven games. While they’ve been generally competitive in most of those defeats, they suffered the indignity of a 30-point dismantling at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies in their most recent contest Saturday night. Then, the Nets have dropped three straight games coming into Monday, and nine of their last 13 overall. Two of the four wins they have managed during that stretch have been by Monday’s five-point spread or less. A third, a nine-point triple-overtime classic versus the Cavaliers just before the All-Star break, was within five points until under three minutes were left in the third overtime and also saw Cleveland lead for extended portions of regulation.

Brooklyn has built a respectable 18-16 record on their home floor of Barclays Center, where Monday’s game unfolds. However, a lot of those wins were compiled earlier in the season. The Nets have struggled on their home court since the calendar flipped to February. Brooklyn is 1-5 at Barclays since Feb. 4, and three of the losses have come to teams with losing records like the Mavericks — the Bulls, Wizards and Hornets. And of the Nets’ 18 home wins for the season, eight of have been by Monday’s projected spread or less.

When digging into Brooklyn’s home performances, it also bears mentioning the Nets continue to give up more points at Barclays than on the road. They’re yielding 113.4 per home tilt, compared to 112.0 when traveling. That weakness has only become more prevalent in recent games. The Nets have allowed over 120 points on their home floor in two straight home contests, and in four of their last six contests overall. Defense has actually been more and more of a problem lately regardless of location. Brooklyn has allowed 115 points or more in eight of its last 10 games.

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The Mavericks admittedly have an unsightly road record to say the least. Dallas has notched a win in only six of 30 road games, although a third of those wins have come within their last six away contests. The Mavs are actually scoring only two points fewer per road game than home tilt (107.2, compared to 109.2). However, defense has often betrayed the outside of their home floor, with the Mavs yielding 112.1 points per road game (compared to 106.5 at home).

The Mavs did arguably upgrade the overall upside of their backcourt in a blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks shortly before the deadline, however. While second-year guard Dennis Smith, Jr. did head to the Big Apple, Dallas got back Tim Hardaway, Jr., who’s averaging over five points more per game than Smith this season and is a better three-point shooter overall. Additionally, the jettisoning of Smith allowed Doncic to move into the primary ball-handling role at the point. Doncic already has a pair of triple-doubles as the starting PG and is making a formidable case for Rookie of the Year honors.

Finally, another underrated aspect of that multi-player deal with New York is the emergence of young big Dwight Powell. With DeAndre Jordan having exited the Lone Star State in the trade, Powell has stepped into extended minutes at center and mostly thrived. The 27-year-old has a pair of 20-point efforts since the trade, along with one double-double and 10 double-digit scoring efforts across 12 games.

By The Numbers

The Mavericks are 36-26 (58.1 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 12-12 mark (50.0 percent) as an away underdog. Dallas is also 21-13 (61.8 percent) versus the number in games following a loss, 17-7 (70.8 percent) against the spread in interconference games and 20-14 (58.8 percent) in games they’ve played on one day of rest.

The Nets are 16-18 (47.1 percent) against the spread as a home team this season, including 9-9 (50.0 percent) as a home favorite. Brooklyn is also 15-17 (46.9 percent) versus the number in games following a loss.

Finally, the Mavericks won the one prior meeting this season between the teams by a 119-113 score, a game in which they held Russell to 33.3 percent shooting.

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The Final Word

Both teams have proven successful against the spread in different circumstances this season, but Brooklyn is particularly struggling lately, especially at home. Dallas certainly hasn’t been the most reliable team in terms of wins and losses on the road, but their body of work versus the number is solid when traveling, and they’ve also been excellent against the spread in non-conference matchups. After an embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies on Saturday night, I see Dallas keeping it under the five-point number versus a Nets team playing on its third game in four nights.

The Pick: Mavericks +5

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