The 2019-20 NBA season is back from the all-star break, and we have a great slate this Monday.
On every big slate this season, PlayPicks is providing our top bets against the spread and against point totals for all the NBA games.
Injuries can always play a factor into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in the NBA. Keep an eye on the status of star players with any sort of nagging injury or “load management” concerns as well.
In this column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NBA slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup.
Keep in mind that lines can often shift when players are announced out due to rest or injury.
NBA March 2 Best Bets
Atlanta Hawks (-2) vs Memphis Grizzlies
These teams are moving in opposite directions right now despite their vastly different records. Memphis has struggled mightily with Brandon Clarke (quad) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) both out recently, their surprising win over the Lakers notwithstanding. That outburst came out home, and the Grizzlies are 1-6 over their last 7 road games with an average -10.6 PPG differential. Memphis has been one of the best teams in the league at scoring down low, but without Clarke and JJJ they’re struggling with offensive efficiency.
Atlanta ranks third in offensive rating (118.7) with a 4-2 record and 3.1 net rating over its last 6 outings. Trae Young has been on fire all year, but it’s efficient play from rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish that has allowed the Hawks to take flight. John Collins is capable of winning against the Grizzlies back up bigs and the Hawks should keep rolling at home, where they’re 4-1-1 ATS as favorites and 19-11-1 ATS overall.
Milwaukee Bucks (-4) at Miami Heat
It may seem like Miami has fixed its issues after two close home wins. Yet those came against a Mavs team with Luka Doncic (thumb) clearly not at 100 percent and against a Nets team that has fumbled down the stretch of close games lately. The mighty Bucks have no such issues and are 23-14 ATS when facing ECF foes despite routinely being listed as double-digit favorites. Milwaukee is incredibly 7-1 ATS on the second half of B2B sets and recently found the energy to win by 11 in Toronto after going to OT the night prior. They should find similar motivation in a potential ECF playoffs preview at Miami tonight. The Bucks seem to be finding a pattern by resting to a degree against weaker teams, then blowing up against elite opponents, with their past 5 wins against playoff-bound opponents coming by double digits.
Despite Jimmy Butler (personal) returning to the lineup, Miami has still been one of the worst teams in closing time recently. The Heat has a -58.5 net rating and a putrid 73.5 offensive rating in “clutch time” since the ASB. Milwaukee owns a 26.5 net rating and 118.9 offensive rating on the road in clutch time. Miami is scoring a modest 46.5 PPG in the paint over its last 3 outings and the Bucks remain atop the NBA in PPG (38.6) allowed in the paint.
Houston Rockets (-10) at New York Knicks
This spread opened at 8.5 points and was quickly bet up to 10 points by sharps. The Rockets are in an unbelievable groove right now with a 6-game win streak in which only their last win (OT in Boston) came by single digits. That includes an 11-point win in Houston over these Knicks, a team that isn’t necessarily more dangerous at home. New York is 3-7 over its last 10 home games and 2-5 ATS over its last 7 overall. The Knicks are 4-22 against teams with winning records and struggle in particular against good perimeter teams. New York yields the third-most 3PTM (13.3) at the second-highest percentage (39.9%) this season.
Houston is built to blazer past bigger teams like the Knicks with Russell Westbrook able to get into the paint at will. Both Westbrook and James Harden have a history of putting up huge numbers at MSG, while the Knicks average just 105.2 PPG at home. Houston leads the NBA in offensive rating (119) and is second in net rating (14.2) over its last 6 outings and the Knicks are 23rd in offensive rating with a -6.7 net rating in that span.
NBA March 2 Picks Against The Spread
Cleveland Cavaliers (+8.5) vs Utah Jazz
The Cavs have been much more competitive since firing Jon Beilein and Utah has been far from dangerous on the road.
Dallas Mavericks (-4) at Chicago Bulls
Heavy money is coming in on the Mavs in the hopes Luka Doncic (thumb) returns tonight. Even if he doesn’t, Dallas could continue to cover on the road.
Indiana Pacers (-2) at San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are really banged up at center right now, so Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner should carry the Pacers to victory.
Portland Blazers (+7) at Orlando Magic
The Blazers are struggling without Damian Lillard (groin) but shouldn’t struggle so badly that they can’t keep pace with a low-scoring Magic squad.