Welcome to the Monday, March 11 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 Leans/Picks: 48-35-1 (.578)
Moneyline: 26-9 (.750)
Over/Under: 19-13-1 (.594)
3/11/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Detroit Pistons (34-31) vs. Brooklyn Nets (35-33)
Monday’s Pistons-Nets showdown at Barclays Center embodies what makes late-season NBA worth watching. Detroit and Brooklyn currently slot into the sixth and seventh seeds in the Eastern Conference, respectively. However, neither can get complacent by any stretch. For starters, there’s still more than a month’s worth of games to play. Plus, each is only a handful of losses away from falling below the eighth and final seed.
As such, each game is critical for the two squads moving forward. A head-to-head matchup — their third and final one of the campaign — is an opportunity to definitely improve standing and knock the other team down a notch. If prior history is any indication, Monday’s game should be a hotly contested one, even for reasons beyond the postseason ramifications. The two prior meetings have been decided by a total of four points. The Pistons notched a season-opening 103-100 win on Oct. 17. Then, the Nets countered with a 120-119 overtime victory on Halloween. Like the first encounter, the latter contest saw regulation conclude under Monday’s projected 221.5-point total.
There are a couple of factors pertaining to Detroit that lend credence to the notion the Under could hit Monday. One is the fact the Pistons are a fatigued squad. They’ll be playing on the second game of a back-to-back set, their third game in four nights, and their fourth in six nights overall. The Pistons have had to travel a fair amount during that stretch as well. They had a road tilt in Chicago on Friday night and also flew in Sunday from Detroit after beating the Bulls in the second game of their home-and-home series.
Then, there is the Pistons’ solid defense. Detroit is allowing the eighth-fewest points per game (107.8) overall. That figure rises only modestly to 108.3 when the Pistons travel. Furthermore, of the Pistons’ 29 non-overtime road games this season, only six have exceeded Monday’s projected total. Additionally, one of those six exceeded the number by just half a point. And Detroit’s typically stingy defense isn’t the only reason for the trend toward lower-scoring games on the road. The Pistons also check in as the second-poorest shooting road team in the NBA. Their 43.7 percent overall success rate from the floor in away games surpasses only the Knicks’ league-worst 42.8 percent figure.
On the Nets’ side, they do indeed average a solid 114.3 points at home and also surrender 112.6 points per Barclays contest. However, the Nets shoot a relatively pedestrian 45.9 percent there, which actually ranks as the ninth-lowest home figure in the NBA. That number could be coaxed down even further by the Pistons’ strong defense. Then, there’s also the matter of Detroit’s incredibly slow pace. The Pistons are averaging just 102.4 possessions per game. That ranks as the eight-slowest in the league and checks in notably lower than the 105.9 Brooklyn averages on its home floor.
One final factor to consider when evaluating the possibility of Monday’s game falling short of its projected total is arguably the Nets’ most important offensive piece, D’Angelo Russell.
Russell has struggled as a shooter both at home and against Detroit this season. He shoots a pedestrian 42.9 percent at Barclays, including 34.9 percent from three-point range. Then, the Pistons have made life miserable for him in their pair of previous encounters. Russell is shooting just 25.0 percent against Detroit over two games, including an absurdly poor 10.0 percent from three-point range. The former figure ties for his lowest against any team, and the latter is his worst versus any squad this season. That futility has led to Russell averaging just 7.0 points across 25.0 minutes per Detroit contest.
By The Numbers
The Under is 32-31-2 (50.8 percent) in the Pistons’ games this season. That includes a 17-12-2 mark (58.6 percent) in Detroit’s road games and a 14-8-2 tally (63.6 percent) in its games as a road underdog. The Under is also 6-3 (66.7 percent) in the second game of the Pistons’ back-to-back sets.
The Under is 9-9 (50.0 percent) in the Nets’ games as home favorites and 23-21 (52.3 percent) in Brooklyn’s conference games.
Finally, both of the teams’ prior games this season, one of which went into overtime, came in under the total during regulation.
The Final Word
The Nets are a better offensive team at home, but the Pistons are a strong defensive squad, even when traveling. Granted, both teams having been involved in some high-scoring affairs recently. However, the two prior head-to-head games and the fact this is a key game in the battle for playoff positioning leads me to think that scoring will be at a bit more of a premium. Additionally, the Pistons’ weary legs could keep scoring down a bit. All things considered, I see this conference battle coming in under a fairly elevated number.
The Pick: Under 221.5