Moore’s Angles: The Spurs Are More Efficient Without LaMarcus Aldridge
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: DeMar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge
Here are some angles for Friday’s NBA slate based on matchups and trends:
Side note for smaller-wager bettors: FanDuel is running a Bill Simmons Ringer promotional bet that boosts the Celtics to +200 on the moneyline vs. the Bucks. Meanwhile, DraftKings is running a +500 promotion on any moneyline from the openers.
Promotional arbitrage alert! Both bets come with strict caps at low amounts, but it’s still an easy win.
THE ANGLE: WILD HORSES
- Game: Mavs vs. Rockets, 9 p.m. ET
- Line: Mavs -1.5, 228.5
The Mavericks were a prolific offense this season, and that carried through to the scrimmages we saw this month. Against Houston, they posted a 120 offensive rating or better in two games.
The second-best player in net rating differential vs. Houston for Dallas? Kristaps Porzingis, who the Mavericks were +12 with and -25 without this season against the Rockets.
The worst player? Dwight Powell, a minus-25.9 in 26 minutes vs. the Rockets. Powell is injured and out for the season.
The Rockets’ smallball attack is vulnerable to two things: bigs who can score down low, and slips from screens when they switch. The former is not Porzingis’ forte. He’s not a big-body-banger in the paint. But he can roll and hit short-range jumpers all day if the Rockets switch.
Meanwhile, Luka Doncic feasts vs. isolation. Doncic averaged 1.12 points per possession in isolation vs. switch (Synergy Sports).
Throw in that the Mavericks’ bench helped carry them to the best offensive rating in second quarters, and you have a formula here that explains why Dallas is favored by 1.5 despite being one spot and several games behind Houston.
I don’t want the over; Dallas’ defense has been sneakily improving and I’m concerned a cold stretch from Houston’s shooters with Eric Gordon out could sink it. But I get the Mavericks at 115 team total when I think they probably push this into the 120’s pretty easily.
THE PLAY: Mavericks team total over 115
`THE ANGLE: The Spurs Are Underrated? I Think?
- Game: Spurs vs. Kings, 8 p.m. ET
- Line: Kings -4, 221
First off, follow the money. As of this writing, 70% of the tickets are on the Kings … but just 52% of the money. Strange for a team in Sacramento without Marvin Bagley that has been the model of inconsistency.
Without LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs won’t get much respect in the betting market until they prove they don’t need him. But the Spurs were not only a negative in net rating with Aldridge on the floor in both games vs. Sacramento this season (including a win), but all season long that was the trend.
Without Aldridge, the Spurs should shoot more 3’s, vital for their offensive profile. The Kings are 16-25 straight up this season when the opponent hits 10 or more 3’s. They were 7-6 straight up when favored in those games, but that’s not an impressive record straight-up, and 11 of those 13 were home. Now, the Kings aren’t on the road in this environment, but neither are the Spurs.
Ultimately, this is a test of my theory that the Spurs are likely to be a more efficient offense and overall better team if they don’t have Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan on the floor together.
I’ll tread lightly with units, but I am going to take the Spurs straight up to win, and love them at +4.
THE PLAY: Spurs +4, Spurs +160 moneyline