NBA Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for Saturday, Including the Underdog Mavericks (Feb. 27)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic
- Saturday's NBA slate features one standout game -- Nets vs. Mavericks -- and we're betting the dog.
- We're also attacking the T'Wolves vs. Wizards total, as Minnesota is under new leadership and playing at an even faster pace.
- Get our three favorite NBA bets for Saturday below.
We often target the worst NBA games on the slate because the money counts the same no matter who is playing.
NBA Odds & Picks
T’Wolves vs. Wizards
Brandon Anderson: Call it the Chris Finch effect. The Minnesota Timberwolves have played two games since Finch took over the reins, and it’s clear already that he is having a huge impact on this team.
Finch is known as a brilliant offensive mind, and it’s clear that the team will be doing things different under his leadership. The Wolves are playing faster and the ball is jumping around. Karl-Anthony Towns has immediately seen more of the ball as the offense flows through him, and the scoring is up.
It’s not like Minnesota was slow under Ryan Saunders. The Wolves ranked top 10 in pace at 101.2 possessions per game. They’re up to 103.8 under Finch, which would rank second in the NBA over a full season. That pace is helping the ball zip around the offense and creating higher quality looks for Minnesota.
It’s also hurt the defense at times, as it sometimes leads to quick shots going up and a quick defensive run out on the other end if that shot isn’t so good and doesn’t go in. There’s a learning curve here, after all. In 31 games with Saunders, Minnesota failed to hit 100 points nine times this season, averaging 107.5 points per game.
The Wolves have 112 and 126 with Finch, over 10 PPG above that average. The totals in their two Finch games are 251 and 269, both games going way over the posted line by double digits. And it’s not like the Wizards are going to slow things down. Washington ranks first in the NBA in pace for the season, and the Wizards defense is just as inept as the Wolves much of the time.
Expect a flurry of shots and a whole lot of prop overs on this one. This is one of those games to pad your season averages. The Wolves will be without Malik Beasley after his suspension, and they’re already missing D’Angelo Russell, so that’s the only reason for pause here. Minnesota doesn’t have a ton of offensive firepower, so if rookie Anthony Edwards can’t get things going, it could be tough for the Wolves to put up points.
Still, I am grabbing an over that should be on its way up. I love it at 236 at Bet365 but it’s already rising at books so be prepared to pay if you grab this late. I’d play up to 238.5. If you want a preview of next week’s All-Star Game with a bunch of guys that will be watching from home like us, this is your no-defense-all-offense preview. Expect points.
Mavericks vs. Nets
Kenny Ducey: The Mavericks have covered just four spreads in their past 16 games, and now welcome back Kristaps Porzingis. So that’ll help, right?
It’s always a mystery how Dallas will look with Luka Doncic’s sidekick in the lineup; some games are good and some are dreadful. This seems to be a great spot for KP to light it up.
Every Nets fan will point to the team’s improved 110.6 Defensive Rating over the past eight games, but it’s hardly an impressive number, still checking in at 14th in the NBA. When you dive into the numbers, not much has changed. Brooklyn is still allowing shots to fall at a poor 60.6% rate inside eight feet, and as a result still are allowing 50 points in the paint on average. That’s an improvement on their season-long rate of 51.4 points per game, but again, that’s hardly a good number.
Porzingis’ return should spell trouble for a Nets frontcourt featuring the poor defensive play of DeAndre Jordan, and it should open up even more possibilities for Doncic on the drive-and kick. The Nets’ defense just has too many liabilities here, and though Dallas hasn’t exactly featured fantastic defense, either, its offense will be more than up to the task. I wouldn’t take this past +4.
Mavericks vs. Nets
Raheem Palmer: The public is going to be on the Brooklyn Nets tonight and it’s hard to blame them. The Nets have won eight straight games by an average of 12.87 points. They boast the league’s best offense, scoring 118.2 points per 100 possessions and in the absence of Kevin Durant, James Harden has emerged as a viable MVP candidate averaging 24.9 points, 11.4 assists and 8.5 rebounds. Kyrie Irving is a load to handle on his own, averaging 27.4 points and 5.9 assists per game. When you surround them with Joe Harris, who’s shooting 50% from behind the arc, it’s no surprise teams are having problems stopping this offense.
Nonetheless, you can’t count on a team to win every game and play at their peak nightly. The Nets have been playing at the top of their range and if there’s any game they could drop between now and the All Star break, it’s this one.
Despite a slow start to the season, the Mavericks are much improved recently, winning six out of their last eight games while putting up an offensive rating of 119.4 during this time frame. Luka Doncic has been red hot during this stretch as well as he’s averaging 32.1 points while shooting 51.5% from the field, 48.5% from behind the arc while dishing 8.0 assists and 7.5 rebounds.
Although the Mavericks struggled with the size and defensive prowess of the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, that doesn’t exist in this matchup. Both the Nets and Mavericks are bad defenses which means we’re looking at a shootout. This is exactly the type of game in which the Mavericks thrive in — a fast-paced, high offensive output game that will likely come down to the wire.
Sportsbooks opened Brooklyn at -2 and it’s since been bet to -4, however I believe the disparity between these two teams is closer than what the market indicates. Three-point variance will likely play a huge role in deciding a game in which we can expect little to no defense so at the current number I’m seeing some value on the Mavericks to win this game outright.