Welcome to the Saturday, March 16 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: 48-36-1 (.571)
Moneyline: 27-9 (.750)
Over/Under: 23-13-1 (.639)
3/16/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Brooklyn Nets (36-34) vs. Utah Jazz (39-29)
It seems that regardless of personnel, the Jazz have held the mantle of one of the NBA’s top defensive teams for years. That certainly holds true again this season. Utah is tied with the Magic for fourth-fewest points per game allowed (106.5). That includes an even stingier 105.1 per home game. The Jazz allow only 44.3 percent of shot attempts to find the net on their home floor. That’s the fifth-lowest home figure in the league. Utah also ranks in the top half of the NBA in turnovers forced per game (13.6).
The Jazz have been even sharper defensively of late as they march toward a Western Conference playoff spot. Utah has allowed 104 points or fewer in four of their last five games. Two of those contests have come on their home floor. Overall, the Jazz have limited 12 of 34 home opponents under 100 points. Then, they’ve yielded between 100 and 105 to another eight, including the Warriors (103). And it’s worth noting Utah also limited the same Brooklyn squad they’ll face Saturday to a modest 91 points in a road matchup on Nov. 28. In doing so, they frustrated the Nets’ most important offensive piece, D’Angelo Russell, into 6-for-25 shooting.
Utah gets it done with a starting five in which every player is above league average defensively. Three first-unit members — Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and Ricky Rubio — are averaging 1.3 steals per game or higher. Then, big men Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert tally 1.4 and 2.3 blocks per contest, respectively. That often results in an uphill battle for the opposition from the moment they take possession of the ball.
The Nets are certainly stocked with plenty of offensive talent and are one of the NBA’s most improved teams this season. Yet there’s still a significant disparity between their home and road performances. While Brooklyn averages an impressive 114.0 points per game on their Barclays Center home floor, they’re logging just 108.9 per road contest. The Nets consistently have trouble finding the net when traveling: their 44.0 percent success rate from the floor in away games ranks as the fifth-lowest road figure in the NBA.
Moreover, Brooklyn is in a bit of an offensive slump recently. To begin with, the Nets are averaging just 104.3 points per game over their last three. That’s a sharp drop from their 111.6 seasonal figure. They’ve also scored under 100 points in two of their last three road games, with the one exception coming against the sieve-like Hawks. Overall, Brooklyn has scored 105 points or fewer in 15 of their non-overtime road games on the season.
By The Numbers
The Under is 35-35 (50.0 percent) in Nets games this season. That includes a 17-16 mark (51.5 percent) in Brooklyn’s away games. The Under is also 7-5 (58.3 percent) in the games the Nets have played with two or three days of rest and 18-15 (54.5 percent) in games following a Nets loss.
The Under is 35-32-1 (52.2 percent) in Jazz games this season. That includes an 18-16 mark (52.9 percent) in Utah’s home games and a 17-15 tally (53.1 percent) in their games as home favorites. The Under is also 21-18 (53.8 percent) in games the Jazz have played with one day of rest and 20-18 (52.6 percent) in games following a Utah win.
Finally, the one prior meeting between the teams this season finished with a combined total of 192.
The Final Word
This is an elevated total for a game in Utah, especially because the Nets are considerably less potent on offense when traveling. The Jazz have an excellent track resume at home defensively and have already stymied Brooklyn once this season, doing so on the Nets’ home court, no less. Given the factors at play, including the track record of both squads under current conditions, I see the Under hitting in this spot.
The Pick: Under 219.5