Saturday NBA Betting Picks and Angles: Are the Mavericks Falling Back To Earth? (Jan. 11, 2020)

Saturday NBA Betting Picks and Angles: Are the Mavericks Falling Back To Earth? (Jan. 11, 2020) article feature image

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kristaps Porzingis

Angles and matchups for Saturday based on trends and matchups…

Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets Odds

  • Spread: Rockets -11.5
  • Over/Under: 230.5
  • Time: 5 p.m. ET

THE ANGLE: Fading West Parity

The great teams in the West are truly great. The rest of the West is a mishmash, and they really struggle vs. the top teams.

Double-digit favorites vs. West teams are 28-16-1 ATS (64%) this season and double-digit West favorites vs. West teams under .500 are 20-10-1 ATS (66%).

Meanwhile, the Wolves are 5-11 ATS at home this season, and the Rockets under D’Antoni are 30-26-1 ATS after a loss.

On the matchup side, the Wolves actually have a lot of strengths here. They’re sneaky good on defense, with a good defensive shot profile, limiting points in the paint, and fastbreak, easy points.

The problem is on the offensive side. The Wolves have the sixth-best shot profile, via Cleaning the Glass. But they can’t shoot. They’re 26th in effective field goal percentage.

The Rockets are just going to outpace them with where they get their shots from. Karl-Anthony Towns is questionable as well and is 50/50 to play via our NBA Insider Tool.

THE PLAY: Rockets -11 or better

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New Orleans Pelicans at Boston Celtics Odds

  • Spread: Celtics -11
  • Over/Under: 225
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET


The talk during the Pelicans’ resurgence has been about Lonzo Ball’s outstanding play. But much of what led to their improved play was their defense improving, and much of that had to to with Derrick Favors. Favors has helped stabilize their back-end defense and that’s also improved the rotations when he’s been off the floor, putting Jaxson Hayes vs. bench lineups.

Meanwhile, the over for teams that are bottom five in points off turnovers per 100 possessions (Pelicans) is 53-45-1 this season (54%).

However, the over in games under 230 where Favors has played is just 2-5. The Celtics’ team total is 117.5. The Celtics’ offense has struggled lately, but they have too much talent to be held down indefinitely.

THE PLAY: Celtics Team Total Over 117.5

Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons Odds

Spread: Pistons -4
Over/Under: 217
Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Bulls have been incredible against the spread because they’re a bad team with a good performance profile. What I mean by that is that they’re solid defensively; for all of Jim Boylen’s faults, they are disciplined and get stops.

The Bulls are top-ten in defense!

They also have the third-best expected eFG% via Cleaning The Glass. It’s just that they’re 26th in actual eFG%. That’s to be explained by a) young personnel and b)coaching basically makes them hate their lives and not play with confidence. But it’s made them great against the spread as a road dog (7-3 ATS).

The Pistons without Blake Griffin are 7-14 ATS this season. They should not be favored under any circumstances. Also of note, Jim Boylen is 7-5 ATS on the second night of a back to back with the Bulls.

NOTE: The Sharps disagree with me, as 70% of the money compared to 52% of the tickets are on the Pistons, via Sports Insights.

THE PLAY: Bulls +4

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Philadelphia 76ers at Dallas Mavericks Odds

Spread: Mavericks -2
Over/Under: 223
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET


Like I said, I faded the Mavericks vs. the Lakers based on their disappointing recent performance, and yet somehow after a bummer loss vs. the Lakers, they’re favorites again at home on a back-to-back vs. the Sixers without Joel Embiid.

The Sixers are 4-4 ATS without Embiid this season, a marked improvement from previous years. Dallas’ shooting has regressed as has their defense which was vastly overperforming its reasonable ceiling to start the year.

The Mavericks are 7-11 ATS as a home favorite this season and on a serious slide, the Sixers are catching them at the right time. Luka Doncic is banged up and extremely frustrated with the officials as of late.

I will keep fading the Mavericks in spots where they are still handicapped like the titan they were back in November vs. good teams.

THE PLAY: Sixers +110 ML

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Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder

Spread: Thunder -7
Over/Under: 213
Time: 8 p.m. ET


The Lakers are 12-15-1 ATS without LeBron James since he arrived in LA, 0-1 this season. The Cavaliers were 2-24-1 ATS without LeBron.

You’re getting this pattern, right? For the same reasons I liked the Lakers without Davis, I like the Thunder without James: James is the engine; Davis is the tip of the spear. Without either one? There’s no one to really play.

The Lakers are basically surrendering this game. The Thunder will take it.

THE PLAY: Thunder -7

Cleveland Cavaliers at Denver Nuggets

Spread: Nuggets -12.5
Over/Under: 218
Time: 9 p.m. ET


The Denver Nuggets are 6-6 ATS this season as a double-digit favorite at home. They’re just not great in this spot. The Cavs are 8-10 as a road dog, which isn’t bad enough to be a huge spot.

Denver is coming off a huge win on the road vs. the Mavericks to cap a five-game road trip, and have a back-to-back with the Clippers on Sunday. This is absolutely a look-ahead game, but the Cavs have been slowly disintegrating between the Kevin Love frustration and coaching issues with the locker room over the last month.

The trigger areas I look for in matchups vs. the Nuggets are mixed; the Cavs aren’t great at pick-and-roll scoring, but it’s also one of their relative strengths (19th league-wide). They are terrible in defending the pick and roll but the Nuggets don’t run it that much, and Cleveland is league-average in defending the post. Tristan Thompson has been great this season and matches up well, strength-wise, with Nikola Jokic.

There’s just not an edge I can find.


Milwaukee Bucks at Portland Trail Blazers odds

Spread: Bucks -5.5
Over/Under: 228.5
Time: 10 p.m. ET

THE ANGLE: Giannis vs. Whiteside

The Bucks are actually just 6-6 ATS as a six-point favorite or more vs. West teams on the road under Mike Budenholzer. I get that seems like a lot of filters, but their performance vs. the East is so much better and it stands out.

The Bucks under Budenholzer are also 40-30 ATS on the second night of a back to back. Portland is 0-3-1 ATS as a home dog this season.

So there are some mixed trends, here. Giannis is 3-1 vs. Hassan Whiteside in the Budenholzer era, putting up some huge numbers (60 points combined in their last two meetings).

I’m a little trepidatious here, but I’m going to trust the Bucks once again with the number under 7 points. Portland’s defense is good but should break under the strain of the Bucks’ juggernaut offense. The Bucks put 143 on the Blazers’ heads at home earlier this season.

THE PLAY: BUCKS -6.5 or better

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