NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Knicks vs. Pistons, Mavericks vs. Kings, More (December 29)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks.
We’ve got nine games on Wednesday’s NBA schedule with three of the NBA’s top teams — Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls — in action.
The three games that out analysts are eyeing have a lower profile, but show tremendous value for this mid-week slate. They are betting spreads and props across those three matchups and you can check out their analysis and best bets for Wednesday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
New York Knicks vs. Detroit Pistons
Kenny Ducey: The Knicks have now covered the spread in three of the last four games, and all of those came with New York favored by five or more points. The last ATS win, which came Tuesday in Minnesota, was particularly interesting to me. That’s because the Knicks have quietly played good basketball on the road, scoring 4.2 more points per 100 possessions and posting a +2.1 Net Rating versus a -3.6 Net Rating at home.
In those four games, the Knicks’ defense has posted a remarkable 102.9 Defensive Rating, which ranks third in the league. That’s come despite several players still missing due to COVID-19, such as Nerlens Noel, who anchors the frontcourt defensively.
Detroit has no one who can hurt this defense, even if it were playing more to the level we’ve seen all year long. Trey Lyles, Isaiah Stewart, Josh Jackson, Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk are out up front, and Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Cory Joseph and other guards are missing as well.
Detroit is 27th in Net Rating for the last four games, and seems to have hit a new low without so many starters and role players on the floor. The Knicks are playing some of their best basketball, particularly on the road, and need to be respected here.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics
Joe Dellera: With Jayson Tatum in the league’s health and safety protocols, Jaylen Brown should see a sharp uptick in usage. Brown takes a little over a third of his shots from 3-point range, and shoots 38% on those attempts this season.
The key difference is that in the 70 games Brown has played with Tatum over the last two seasons, he makes 2.8 3s on seven attempts per game; however, in the eight games without Tatum, he makes 3.1 on 8.3 attempts per game. This increase in volume is significant when betting his props. In those eight games without Tatum, Brown has made three or more 3s in six of those eight games, a 75% hit rate.
Both Reggie Jackson and Paul George have been a defensive plus for the Clippers, and both are expected to miss tonight’s contest. This should open up more clean looks for Brown on the perimeter.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Sacramento Kings
Raheem Palmer: The Dallas Mavericks are coming off a 132-117 win against the Portland Trailblazers and now travel to take on the Sacramento Kings who come off a 117-111 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a two game series.
Despite the absence of Luka Doncic, who is still in the health and safety protocols, the Mavericks have played solid basketball without their star. Although they are just 4-4 in the last eight games since Doncic has been out of the lineup, they are sixth in Net Rating (+6.5) during this stretch with an Offensive Rating of 115.5 and a Defensive Rating of 109.0. This feels like an ideal situation to back the Mavericks who had a day of rest against a Kings team who are coming off a back-to-back.
Although there’s no travel involved for the Kings, the Mavericks should be able to capitalize on a Kings defense that ranks 27th in Defensive Rating, allowing 113.4 points per 100 possessions. Even more troubling, the Kings allow teams to shoot 65% at the rim, 17th among NBA Teams.
With the Mavericks missing Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis has taken more of the load scoring and with this team ranking fourth in field goal percentage at the rim (68.1%) and sixth in midrange shooting percentage (43.6%), the Mavericks are in a good position to score efficiently.
On the other side of the ball, the Kings score most efficiently in transition where they’re fifth in pts+/poss at 3.7, according to Cleaning the Glass. This is an area where the Mavericks are solid at defending, ranking 12th. With the Kings ranking 24th in half court pts/play (90), I expect the Mavericks to get the win here. I’ll lay the -1.5 and would bet this up to -2.5.