NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Rockets vs. Bucks, Grizzlies vs. Mavericks, More (October, 22)
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks defends against a shot by Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- The sports schedule is loaded on Saturday and the NBA slate has some exciting matchups in store for the night.
- Our analysts are targeting five bets across three games, including the primetime game between Ja Morant's Grizzlies and Luka Doncic's Mavericks.
- Check out their analysis and picks for those games below.
There’s nothing better than a Saturday sports slate in the fall and this weekend is proof:
- Full slate of college football: ✅
- Twelve awesome fights for UFC 280: ✅
- Must-see matchups in the ALCS and NLCS: ✅ ✅
And not to mention, nine NBA games to pad the evening with even more awesome sports to bet on. Our NBA analysts aren’t taking the weekend off — they’re betting four of tonight’s matchups and see value on spreads, totals and even a same game parlay.
Read on for their analysis and best bets for Saturday’s games.
NBA Odds & Picks
San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Matt Moore: It’s a running joke in NBA circles that if you want to see what makes Joel Embiid an MVP candidate, all you have to do is watch him against a bottom-five team. The big man has started off terribly, struggling with double teams in Boston and going without a field goal in the second half vs. the Bucks.
Not to fear, the Spurs are here to make things right as rain. San Antonio is coming off a back-to-back, but that’s baked into the line, and early season back-to-backs aren’t as impactful. However, San Antonio has clearly established itself as one of the worst teams in the league coming into the season. They
were out-tanked by out-played the Pacers on Friday night, but just barely.
Meanwhile, in games against opponents with a sub.400 record, as we expect the Spurs to be this season, Embiid has averaged 31 points and 11 rebounds per game the last two seasons.
So for a Saturday same game, we’re putting these base levels together. I’ve also done parlays of Embiid over 27.5 points and 9.5 rebounds (a double-double) and the Sixers to cover the -13.5 for +380.
You can get creative with your slip. I very rarely bet SGP’s, but this is a prime spot to find correlation between a winless Sixers team, at home, vs. a dreadful opponent, the kind Embiid really looks to dominate.
Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers
Munaf Manji: The Pacers’ defense thru the first two games has been atrocious, to say the least. In fact, according to NBA Advanced Stats, the Pacers’ defense in the first half ranks 29th out of 30 teams in Defensive Efficiency (122.6).
The Pacers have allowed are allowing their opponents to score an average of 65 points in the first half. Both of the Pacers’ opponents have scored 60 or more points in each of the first-half games this season. Meanwhile, the Pistons rank fourth in Offensive Rating (135.8) in the second quarter this season and rank first in second quarter scoring so far this season.
Houston Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Matt Moore: You can bet the number or you can bet the team. (You should usually bet the number.) I’m going to ignore the number and bet the team here.
If Khris Middleton is worth two points to the spread (which is what I would put him at), then this would have to be Bucks -15.5 in an early season game. That’s …. a lot. However, this is a Budenholzer Spot.
Under Mike Budenholzer, when the Bucks are at home favored by double digits (-9.5 or more), they are 41-29-3 (58.6%). Milwaukee just vanquishes teams like this.
The Rockets are on a back-to-back, but early season I tend to downplay that impact (and it’s baked into the line anyway). However, they still look disorganized on both ends of the floor, and lack a real presence at the 5-spot.
Giannis Antetokounmpo should feast in this game and with this being the Bucks’ home opener, I think they cruise. I’m willing to lay the points.
Houston Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Chris Baker: The Bucks should be able to score at will against a Rockets defense that currently ranks 26th in Adjusted Defensive Rating despite playing a relatively weak Grizzlies team and a good Hawks team in their first two games.
The Grizzlies exploded offensively in the second half of last night’s game scoring 67 of their 129 after halftime. The Rockets lost Center Bruno Fernando during the game and his absence was certainly felt as they allowed Ja Morant to explode for 49 points.
Overall, the Grizzlies scored 126.5 points per 100 possessions and posted an elite 38.6% Offensive Rebound Rate. There is no reason the Bucks shouldn’t be able to score at will against this extremely young and small Rockets team. The combination of Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis, and Brook Lopez should be able to replicate the rim pressure we saw Morant exert on this Houston team last night.
Jrue Holiday struggled shooting the ball in their first game against the 76ers, but he should be able to find better looks against a weaker defensive backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.
Keep in mind that the Bucks cleared this number in four games consecutive matchups against the Rockets, posting games of 126, 123, 141, and 136. You can make a strong case that the 2021 Rockets team was better defensively than this current Rockets team as they had Christian Wood and Ja’sean Tate who has been out with injury so far in 2022.
This is also the Bucks’ home opener and they are well-rested, where as the Rockets are flying from Houston to Milwaukee off a disappointing loss that saw them blow a massive lead. The Bucks should hang a massive number on this weak Rockets defense in their home-opener.
Take the Bucks to exceed their team total of 122.5 on Saturday night in Milwaukee.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks
Matt Moore: I bet this immediately at -5 when it opened, but I think it’s fine to -6.5. The Mavericks have owned this matchup. Dallas is 7-1 straight up and 6-1 ATS against Memphis with Luka Doncic in the lineup against Ja Morant, covering by 6.4 points. It’s just been tough for this Memphis team to match up with Dallas.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies failed to cover and nearly lost to the Knicks in their home opener, then had to stage a furious comeback Friday night against the lowly Rockets. Ja Morant was spectacular in that game, is spectacular in every game, and some Grizzlies newcomers are playing well.
But this number essentially reflects Dallas only being between a pick and -1 in Memphis. That may sound heavy considering the Grizzlies were the 2-seed last season. But based on last season’s numbers with some manual adjustments to power rating for this season, I make this Mavs -6 on a neutral.
If that sounds crazy, bear in mind that my numbers are projected based on halfcourt and transition numbers, two categories Memphis was weaker at last season, another reason to believe their success was unsustainable.
Memphis’ defense is much weaker without Jaren Jackson Jr., Dallas’ bench is likely the stronger unit here to win the non-star minutes and while I downplay back-to-back impacts early in the season (and those numbers are baked into the line anyway), it’s still not a good spot for Memphis.
Lay the points with Luka.