NBA Odds & Picks: Monday Best Bets for Mavericks vs. Magic, Nets vs. Spurs & More (March 1)
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden #13 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets.
It’s a short week in the NBA with the All-Star break fast approaching. Monday’s slate is short, too, with just seven games on the schedule, including two fun NBA TV matchups: Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8 p.m. ET) and Charlotte Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Our NBA analysts are betting three of tonight’s games, including picks for both sides of tonight’s matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and San Antonio Spurs.
You can find their analysis and picks for all three games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Dallas Mavericks vs. Orlando Magic
Matt Moore: Somehow, someway, the Dallas Mavericks have started to turn their season around. They are finally regressing to form offensively, even though their defense has fallen off a cliff.
Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic are dead last in spread differential vs. top-10 offensive teams this season, per Cleaning The Glass, at -9.7. They fail to cover on average by 9.7 points!
In the 19 games the Mavericks have been favored, they have failed to win the first half just five times. According to Bet Labs, Dallas is 13-5-1 straight up in the first half when favored, and has won the first half by four points or more in 10 of those 19 games.
Overall the Mavs are 10-7-2 ATS when favored first half, including 6-2-2 ATS over their past 10 games. I like this trend to continue tonight against a Magic team headed in the opposite direction.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Orlando Magic
Brandon Anderson: Remember when we all made fun of fat Luka at the start of the season? Remember when he couldn’t hit a shot to save his life? Doncic missed 19 of his first 21 3s to start the new season, and he was shooting an ugly 23% from behind the arc through Jan. 9.
Doncic stopped shooting as much for awhile after that. From Jan. 15 through Feb. 3, he was averaging 6.6 3-point attempts per game. Doncic knew the shot wasn’t falling and started to go away from it. Even during that stretch, his “improved” shooting percentage was still only 30% from deep.
Well, don’t look now, but Doncic is getting hot from deep again with one of the best shooting stretches of his career. Over his past 10 games, Doncic is shooting a blistering 45.8% from behind the arc. And he knows it, too. Luka’s 3-point attempts are back up again — he’s jacking 8.3 per game and making 3.8 of them in this stretch — and he’s hit at least a trio of 3s in eight games, hitting the over on this prop 80% of the time.
Our own Matt Moore got me onto this trend over the weekend, and now I’m going to keep playing Doncic until something changes. He’s is scoring more than 31 points per game in his stretch, and he’s hit this over in six straight games.
I’ll keep riding him while his confidence is sky high, and hope that he keeps chucking. We don’t need 45.8% from Luka to hit this over — just three 3-pointers, please.
Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Raheem Palmer: The Jazz and Pelicans have played twice this season, but it was their second matchup which changed the course of the season for the Pelicans.
During the first 14 games of the season, the Pelicans played the fifth-slowest Pace in the league (98.21), with that last game coming against the Jazz. Since then we’ve seen the Pelicans’ pace pick up considerably, which has coincided with them being one of the best offenses in the league. The Pelicans now rank sixth in Offensive Rating (115.7) and over the past two weeks they’re scoring 122.7 per 100 possessions, third-best among NBA teams.
But the Pelicans’ defense has been downright abysmal as they have the second-worst Defensive Rating in the league allowing 118.1 points in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
This combination is the reason the Pelicans are 23-9-1 to the over this season, which tops the NBA. When you match that bad Pelicans defense against a Jazz offense putting up 117 points per 100 possessions (third in the NBA), it’s hard to imagine this not being a track meet.
Stylistically the Pelicans allow the second-highest percentage of 3-point field goals (42.7%). Want to take a wild guess which offense shoots the most? It’s the Jazz who are taking 45.5% of their field goals from behind the arc and making 40.3% of them, third-best in the NBA. The Pelicans are also third-worst at defending the rim allowing a field goal percentage of 67.5%. There are just too many ways for the Jazz to score on this team.
I’ll take the over 235.5 and would play this up to 236.5.
Brooklyn Nets vs. San Antonio Spurs
Joe Dellera: The Nets take on the Spurs who are in the midst of dealing with COVID health and safety protocols, so the will have some shortened rotations today. Both of these teams rank top 10 in Pace and we should expect a slightly faster game now that Jakob Poeltl is in the starting lineup instead of LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Nets have a math advantage in this matchup. The Spurs are heavily reliant on 2-point shots — especially in the mid range — and don’t take enough 3-pointers to keep up with Brooklyn’s high powered offense, which boasts the second-best 3-point percentage in the league (41.1%).
To make matters worse, the Spurs will be without Rudy Gay and rookie Devin Vassell who are two of their best three defenders in On Court Defensive Rating. They’ll be replacing them with increased minutes to Lonnie Walker, their worst defensive player among guys who have logged 200 minutes, per NBA Advanced Stats.
This spread sits at -5 and despite one steam move on the Spurs at 5.5, I’m backing the Nets to cover as I expect the Spurs to struggle to contain Brooklyn’s offensive firepower.
Brooklyn Nets vs. San Antonio Spurs
Kenny Ducey: As good as this recent run by the Nets has been, the recent play by the Spurs cannot be ignored. I expect the public to do just that, and it should open a nice and profitable spot with San Antonio.
Over the past nine games — an eight-game winning streak snapped by a loss on Saturday to Dallas — the Brooklyn Nets have put up a ridiculous 120.9 points per 100 plays, good for third in the league, and over that span their defense actually hasn’t been horrible, ranking 18th, eight spots higher than their season-long standing.
While this has been a fun run, most of the wins came over either bad defenses or teams in poor form on that end of the floor, and the Spurs should present a very difficult challenge for a Nets offense still missing Kevin Durant.
San Antonio has allowed more than 108 points per 100 plays just twice over the span of its previous eight games, a magnificent run which has come with six wins and five covers against the spread, and ranks ninth in defensive efficiency for the season. The Spurs are also in a fantastic spot here, as the second-best team against the spread as an underdog at 11-5 (68.8%).
The Spurs should continue to return a profit for bettors in a spot where they’ve covered at a great rate this season, and in a matchup where they should be able to startle the Nets on defense and exploit their defense.
LaMarcus Aldridge is also back after missing nearly two weeks and will face a frontcourt giving up the third-most points in the paint this season. I like San Antonio to keep this close and would take this line to +4.