NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Pistons vs. Thunder, Knicks vs. Nets (Monday, April, 5)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks.
As the college season reaches the end of the road tonight, the NBA season is rolls on with seven games on Monday night’s slate, including a battle in Brooklyn between the Knicks and Nets at Barclays center.
Our NBA analysts have targeted three games tonight, and are betting one home dog and two totals. Take a look our in-depth analysis for each showdown below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks
Kenny Ducey: Fading the Utah Jazz doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun, but I’m not so sure they’re going to be ready for the Mavericks. The Jazz have been on cruise control over their nine-game winning streak, beating up on bad team after bad team, and will finally see a competent team for the first time since mid-March.
What do I mean by that? Well, five of the six teams the Jazz have beaten over their winning streak have been downright awful this year, combining for a 97-147 record. That’s a 39.7% winning percentage. The other team was the Brooklyn Nets, but they didn’t have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or James Harden for that game. Brooklyn’s leading scorer was Alize Johnson.
So I think the Mavs, riding in on a four-game winning streak, will have something for the Jazz here. Over the past 10 games, they’re ranked fourth in the league with 116.8 points per 100 possessions, just 2.5 points off the pace of the Jazz, who lead the NBA, and they’ve also had the fifth-best defense.
That’s been due to some inspired play by Kristaps Porzingis on that end, and on the other side of the ball it’s actually been Jalen Brunson who’s led the way in offensive efficiency.
With Brunson leading the way, the Mavericks should have the bench to compete with the Jazz, and it should not go unsaid that Tim Hardaway, Jr. has picked things up on defense and will be up to the task of slowing Jordan Clarkson’s roll.
I think these two teams match up very well, and the six points, which is where I grabbed this number, was too many for me to pass up here on Dallas at home. I’d still bet the Mavs to 5.
Detroit Pistons vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Raheem Palmer: These are two of the league’s worst offenses. In the case of Oklahoma City, they are missing major rotational pieces in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazely, Al Horford, Mike Muscala and Isiah Roby.
The Thunder rank last in Offensive Rating, scoring just 104.7 points per 100 possessions this season. They are struggling to score from every area of the floor, but are prone to high variance performances as they’re shooting 38.8% of their field goals from behind the arc, seventh among NBA teams. Despite that, they still rank 22nd in 3-point shooting (35.8%).
This is an open tank job taking place in OKC and offensively they’re struggling. Against the Blazers, who rank 29th in Defensive Rating (118.2), the Thunder could only muster 85 points and the game flew under the total. Their game against the Suns went over despite the Thunder scoring 103 points because they gave up 140 to the Suns.
I can’t tell the future, I just analyze basketball games, but I’m pretty sure the Pistons aren’t scoring 140 points tonight as they rank 25th in Offensive rating (108.2).
Offensively the Pistons are one of the slowest teams in the league, playing at a pace of just 98.02 possessions. They rank bottom 10 in shooting at the rim, mid-range and from behind the arc. They also don’t take a lot of 3-pointers, which is exactly what you’re looking for if you’re playing an under.
They’ll be missing one of their best 3-point shooters in Wayne Ellington who is shooting 42.4% win 6.2 3-point attempts per game and with rookie Killian Hayes back in the mix, I expect this team to go through some scoring droughts.
This total has moved up to 213.5, but I think it’s a few points too high. I’ll take the under here.
New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Brandon Anderson: The battle for New York City should be a fun little appetizer tonight while we wait for the NCAA Championship Game.
Well “fun” may not be the word for it. The Knicks play at the slowest rate in the entire NBA and rank third in Defensive Efficiency, per Basketball Reference. Between the pace and the defense, New York allows just 103.9 points per game, least in the entire league. They also score 104.8 PPG, third-fewest.
That’s adds up to 208.7 total points per game, and it’s not a ton of fun, but this is what Tom Thibodeau does. He loves to grind things out on defense, and he knows his offense can’t win a track meet or score enough to win any other way, so here we are.
Knicks games have gone under in 31-of-50 games for the season, hitting the under consistently at 63%. Knicks unders are 14-8-1 when New York is the underdog and 17-9 with the Knicks on the road, per Bet Labs.
The Nets don’t typically go under a ton — at least they hadn’t until the past couple weeks. Brooklyn’s over was one of the safer bets in basketball until lately. Nets overs were 26-14, hitting 65% of the time, even more often than Knicks unders.
But that’s flipped in recent games, with Nets unders hitting in seven of Brooklyn’s last 10 outings. The Nets are sorting through new lineup combinations, and James Harden isn’t quite right lately. He missed yesterday’s game and is questionable today, and the Nets have gone under in all three games without both Harden and Kevin Durant this season.
If Harden doesn’t play, the under looks great. Even if he does, this could be a slow grind-it-out kind of win as he nurses that hamstring back to full strength.
But don’t worry, Brooklyn fans. Soon enough, your other MVP will be back and maybe Harden can sit for a week or two and get healthy. In the meantime, let’s follow the trends and bet the under. I’ll play this down to 215.5.