Welcome to the Thursday, March 28 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: 50-38-1 (.568)
Moneyline: 30-9 (.769)
Over/Under: 29-15-1 (.659)
3/28/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Brooklyn Nets (38-37) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (47-27)
While the primary focus of the sports world is on baseball’s Opening Day, the hardwood brings us a late-season treat as well. The Nets and 76ers face off for the fourth and final time this regular season at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. There are postseason implications here, mostly for Brooklyn. The Nets currently hold the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, only one game separates them from the No. 8 seed Magic, and a mere 1.5 games currently shield Brooklyn from being out of the postseason altogether.
Though their situation is less urgent, the 76ers need to keep stacking wins as well. Philadelphia currently slots into the No. 3 seed in the East. They hold a 2.5-game lead over the No. 4 seed Pacers. Moreover, they’re 4.5 games behind the Raptors at No. 2, and Toronto doesn’t figure to encounter much opposition in a Thursday battle against the Knicks. Therefore, the odds are largely in favor of the 76ers not budging from their current slot.
That disparity could well give the visiting Nets the edge in motivation Thursday. And Brooklyn should also come into the game with a healthy dose of confidence anyhow. After all, they’ve proven a bad matchup for the 76ers on multiple occasions this season.
Brooklyn kicked things off against their division rivals with a 122-97 win at Barclays Center on Nov. 4. They then gave Philly all it could handle in a Big Apple rematch later that month before dropping a 127-125 decision. The Nets notably blew a 13-point lead over the final 5:38 of that game. They then avenged their meltdown with a 127-124 victory Dec. 12 in Philadelphia and actually held a 10-point lead going into the final period.
Unsurprising, given that track record, some of the Nets’ most important pieces have enjoyed success versus the Sixers this season:
- D’Angelo Russell: 23.7 PPG (on 52.5 percent shooting), 7.0 APG and 3.3 RPG across 27.3 minutes (three games)
- Spencer Dinwiddie: 27.3 PPG (on 60.5 percent shooting, including 76.9 percent from three-point range), 6.0 APG, 2.0 RPG across 27.0 minutes (three games)
- Jarrett Allen: 13.3 PPG (on 68.2 percent shooting), 8.3 RPG across 26.3 minutes (three games)
- Joe Harris: 52.0 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent from three-point range (three games)
Granted, the 76ers have proven to be an excellent home team overall. That much is evidenced by their 29-9 record at WF Center. Philadelphia is also scoring the third-most points per home game (117.8). However, while the Sixers have won plenty at home, they haven’t cruised very often. That’s notable given Thursday’s surprisingly large spread.
Of the Sixers’ 29 home wins, 12 have been by less than Thursday’s 7.5-point spread. Two others just missed that mark, with Philly owning a pair of eight-point home wins. Then, the Nets have tightened up their play recently as the stakes have grown higher.
They come into Thursday’s game with a recent history of close games. Brooklyn has gone just 2-2 over their last four (all road contests), but the two losses have come by a combined seven points. One of them was Monday’s double-overtime slugfest against the Trail Blazers. In all, they’re 4-0 against Thursday’s spread in those games and 25-12-1 (67.6 percent) against the 7.5-point number in their road games this season.
By The Numbers
The Nets are 41-34 (54.7 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 23-15 mark (60.5 percent) as an away team and an 18-14 tally (56.2 percent) as an away underdog. Brooklyn is also 12-3 (80.0 percent) versus the number on two or three days of rest and 9-4 (69.2 percent) against the spread in division games.
Then, the 76ers are 34-40 (46.0 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes an 18-19 mark (48.6 percent) versus the number as a home favorite. Philadelphia is also 9-10 (47.4 percent) versus the number with two or three days of rest and 4-11 (26.7 percent) against the spread in division games.
Finally, the 2018-19 season series has given us a pair of Nets wins and a two-point Nets loss.
The Final Word
The numbers just cited largely tell the story in this key divisional matchup. The Nets have been strong against the spread all season and have given the 76ers fits on three previous occasions already. Both teams come in with equal rest, and Brooklyn is arguably the healthier of the two squads considering Philly has key second-unit members Mike Scott and James Ennis listed as questionable. Given the circumstances and a surprisingly large number, I’m picking the Nets to slide under it.
The Pick: Nets +7.5