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Luka Doncic

Welcome to the Thursday, March 21 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: 48-38-1 (.558)
Moneyline: 28-9 (.757)
Over/Under: 25-14-1 (.641)

3/21/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Dallas Mavericks (28-43) vs. Sacramento Kings (34-36)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Kings -9 (o/u: 229)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Kings -9 (o/u: 229.5)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Kings -9 (o/u: 229.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Kings -9 (o/u: 229.5)

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The Breakdown

The Kings saw their slim playoff chances get even narrower in their most recent contest. Sacramento incredibly blew a 25-point fourth-quarter lead to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, a team that’s essentially been an Eastern Conference version of the Kings. Like Brooklyn, Sacramento has made significant strides this season, but unlike the Nets, the Kings are headed in the wrong direction. They’ve dropped five of their last seven. Sacramento technically remains in contention for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but they’re now seven games behind the Thunder with 12 games to play.

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After Tuesday’s disaster, the Kings should certainly have an enhanced level of motivation Wednesday. The good news for them is the Mavericks come in to Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center as a worn-out squad. To begin with, Dallas just played in Portland last night, dropping a 126-118 decision that was more lopsided than the final score shows. Naturally, they then had to make a late-night flight into California. But additionally, Thursday’s game will be the Mavs’ third in four nights and their fourth in six. It hasn’t been an easy road, either. There’s an overtime loss to the Pelicans in that sample, as well a five-point defeat to the Cavaliers.

Then, despite their epic collapse versus the Nets, the Kings have enjoyed plenty of success on their home floor. Sacramento has scored 114.8 points per home contest on the strength of 46.3 percent shooting. The Kings own a 21-15 mark overall at Golden 1. Eight of those wins have come by more than Thursday’s nine-point spread. And notably, Sacramento also owns a seven-point win against the Mavericks in their one prior meeting this season, Dec. 16 in Dallas.

Meanwhile, the road has been the Mavericks’ undoing this season. Dallas sports an abysmal 6-29 mark outside of American Airlines Center. The Mavs have lost eight consecutive away contests as well. Granted, Dallas has been more competitive in those defeats recently. However, the effects of the aforementioned rough stretch of schedule are likely to sink in Thursday, especially at this point of the season. Plus, of Dallas’ 35 road defeats this season, close to half (16) have been by Thursday’s nine-point spread or more.

Finally, the disparity between the Mavs’ road and home defense bears noting when evaluating the chances of a Kings cover. Dallas is yielding 113.1 points per road game, a sharp spike from the 107.2 they allow at home. The Mavs have surrendered 120 points or more in five of their last seven road tilts. And they’ve given up over that amount in three straight games overall. Their tired state Thursday could well facilitate more of the same.

By The Numbers

The Mavericks are 18-17 (51.4 percent) against the spread as a road team, including 15-14 (51.7 percent) as a road underdog. Dallas is also 5-7 (41.7 percent) versus the number on the second game of back-to-back sets and 22-21 (51.2 percent) against the spread in conference games.

The Kings are 41-27-2 (60.3 percent) against the spread this season. That includes a 23-11-2 mark (NBA-best 67.7 percent) as a home team and a 9-4 tally (NBA-best 69.2 percent) as a home favorite specifically. Sacramento is also 23-11-1 (67.7 percent) versus the number after a loss, 26-11-1 (NBA-best 70.3 percent) against the spread on games they’ve played with one day of rest and 22-19 (53.7 percent) versus the number in conference games.

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The Final Word

Their chances are admittedly remote, but the Kings still technically have a shot at the No. 8 seed. They also have to be chomping at the bit to take the awful taste of blowing a 28-point second-half lead out of their mouths. Dallas is undoubtedly a fatigued team, and their mark versus the number on the second game of back-to-backs is poor. Given all of these factors, I see a Kings cover and win.

The Lean: Kings -9

The Pick: Kings moneyline