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NBA Betting

Welcome to the Saturday, March 9 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: 48-35-1 (.578)
Moneyline: 26-9 (.750)
Over/Under: 18-12-1 (.600)

3/9/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Brooklyn Nets (34-33) vs. Atlanta Hawks (22-44)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Nets -4.5 (o/u: 237.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Nets -3.5 (o/u: 237)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Nets -4.5 (o/u: 237.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Nets -3.5 (o/u: 236.5)

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The Breakdown

When the Hawks look across their State Farm Arena home floor Saturday, they’ll see what could well be a preview of themselves for 2019-20. With their considerably improved record this season — thanks largely to a talented young nucleus — the Nets are what Atlanta aspires to become. The similarities between the teams are already striking, what with their high-powered offenses and questionable defenses.

The Nets and Hawks each boast a thriving young point guard in D’Angelo Russell and Trae Young, respectively. Each also has a sharpshooting two-guard in place in Joe Harris (Brooklyn) and Kevin Huerter (Atlanta). They also each have solid, productive big men down low in Jarrett Allen and Dewayne Dedmon. And there’s quality, experienced depth on both benches in the form of Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, and DeMarre Carroll on the Nets’ side, and Kent Bazemore, DeAndre’ Bembry, and the ageless Vince Carter on Atlanta’s end.

Then, each club likes to push the pace but also has a hard time consistently stopping other teams from racking up points. The Hawks check into Saturday’s game scoring an impressive 113.7 points per home contest but yielding the most points per home game (119.3) in the NBA. Then, Brooklyn scores 111.9 points per contest while allowing 112.3. Meanwhile, no team plays at a faster pace than Atlanta (NBA-high 108.1 possessions per game, including 108.8 at home). The Nets aren’t far behind: they’re averaging 105.4 per game, 10th highest in the league.

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Saturday’s projected total is admittedly up there. But it’s certainly not insurmountable considering the firepower and body of work of these two teams. The Hawks have been involved in a couple of recent overtime games that have produced some absurd point totals. Plus, Atlanta has seen 24 of its non-overtime games go above Saturday’s total overall. One of those was a wild 144-127 loss in Brooklyn on Dec. 16.

The Nets have been a bit more formidable defensively but still often wade into shootouts. Brooklyn has seen 12 of its non-overtime games this season go over Saturday’s projected total. It’s also worth noting some of the Nets’ most important offensive pieces have enjoyed considerable success against Atlanta this season. Russell is averaging 27.5 points on stellar 61.5 percent shooting over two games against the Hawks. Harris is draining 52.5 percent, including 53.8 percent from three-point range, in his two cracks at Atlanta’s suspect defense. And Allen has offered solid complementary contributions. He’s averaged 11.0 points on spectacular 90.0 percent shooting.

Finally, the Hawks’ John Collins has been nothing if not spectacular himself in his two games against the Nets. He’s averaging 29.0 points (on 62.5 percent shooting) and 11.0 rebounds across 34.5 minutes per game versus Brooklyn. Notably, Collins leads Atlanta in both points (19.4) and rebounds (9.6).

By The Numbers

The Over is 35-32 (52.2 percent) in the Nets’ games this season. That includes a 16-15 mark (51.6 percent) in their away games. The Over is also 20-13 (NBA-high 60.6 percent) in games following a Nets win.

The Over is 37-29 (56.1 percent) in the Hawks’ games this season. That includes a 17-14 mark (54.8 percent) in their home games, including a 15-10 tally (60.0 percent) in games where Atlanta has been a home underdog. The Over is also 24-19 (55.8 percent) in the Hawks’ conference games and 27-16 (62.8 percent) in games following a Hawks loss.

Finally, one of the two prior games between the teams this season finished with a total of 271 points.

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The Final Word

Both teams come into Saturday’s contest relatively well rested after having last played Wednesday, and each has proven their ability to light up the scoreboard on multiple occasions this season. That includes in one of the two prior meetings they’ve had this season. The Hawks’ defense continues to be among the NBA’s most generous across the board. I, therefore, see a fast-paced contest that will at least slightly exceed an elevated but not impossible number.

The Pick: Over 236.5