NBA Odds & Picks: Best Bets for Saturday Night, Including Bucks-Wizards & Mavericks-Nuggets (March 13)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Denver’s Jamal Murray (27) high-fives Facundo Campazzo.
- Saturday's eight-game schedule features a few high-profile matchup and three games televised nationally.
- Find out the best best from our staff of experts by reading below.
The NBA’s second half continues Saturday with eight games on tap. The Knicks and Thunder meet in the afternoon, with seven games tipping off at 7 p.m. ET or later.
In addition to the early tilt, Detroit-Brooklyn and Dallas-Denver will be broadcast nationally on NBATV.
Our staff of experts have three bets they like for this slate of games, including two spread plays and one total. You can check out their analysis and picks below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Milwaukee Bucks at Washington Wizards
Brandon Anderson: Let’s keep things very easy tonight. The Bucks are really good. The Wizards are really not. Let’s take the really good team.
Milwaukee looks ready for a big second half push. Jrue Holiday has had plenty of time away, and the extra week from the All-Star break was huge for both him and Khris Middleton, who quietly had a rough February without Holiday. Now the team is healthy again and we know that the healthy Bucks have one of the best offenses in the league.
Washington? Not particularly good at defense. The Wizards’ defensive metrics have improved a little as the season has gone along, but they’re still somewhere between bad and awful most nights. On top of that, Washington plays a fast game and tries to outgun opponents in a shootout, and that just doesn’t work against a team with as much shooting and offense as Milwaukee.
Bradley Beal was questionable Friday night. He played, but on the second night of a back-to-back it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him limited or even scratched for rest here. Suffice to say that Washington would need a huge game from Beal to stay in this one.
Even if the Wizards hang around, the pace and lack of Washington defense make a double-digit line much easier to cover late. I’m not going to overthink this one. Give me the Bucks.
Dallas Mavericks at Denver Nuggets
Raheem Palmer: I’ve always said one of my favorite ways of making myself miserable was to watch a basketball game and hope no one scores after betting an under. If you paid any attention to the NBA Friday night, you might have noticed that unders went 7-0, and if you trailed me on the Pelicans/Cavaliers Under 229 and the Rockets team total under 105, you got some joy for the misery of feeling like you got stabbed the heart every time a team scores.
Brian Windhorst reported on his podcast that nearly 150 players went to Miami during the All-Star break and it was to be expected that we’d have some teams starting slow coming off a few days off. So it’s safe to assume there’s more unders to play coming out the break.
Which brings me to Saturday’s Nuggets-Mavericks matchup. Neither of these teams may be known for defense, but over the past two weeks we’ve seen an improvement from both. The Nuggets are fifth in Defensive Rating, holding teams to 106.1 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks while the Mavericks are 10th at 109.3. Both of these teams aren’t particularly fast-paced, either, as the Nuggets are 27th in pace at just 98.03 possessions a game while the Mavericks are 20th in pace at 99.01.
The Nuggets are playing their first back-to-back game after the break, while the Mavericks are in the midst of three games in four nights. Combine that with the aforementioned pace and you have the recipe for an under. My projections make this game 224, so at 227 I’ll be playing the under.
Dallas Mavericks at Denver Nuggets
Kenny Ducey: The Mavericks are finally fully healthy, and ready for this moment. Dallas is once again a team in the ascendency, getting Kristaps Porzingis back from injury and taking the break to heal various ailments to a host of other important role players. Now, the Mavs get to trot out their lethal starting five against the tired legs of Denver on a back-to-back.
Dallas’ starting five has only played 11 games together, but ranks as the top five-man lineup in the NBA with an offensive rating of 133 this season. Its net rating of +17.6 checks in at fifth, proving that this lineup plays plenty of defense to boot. While Denver’s starting lineup is also among the top-five in the league, the Mavs will have the rest advantage here.
Denver has gone just 3-2 ATS on the second night of back-to-backs this season, while Dallas is a near-perfect 5-1 ATS with a rest advantage this season. The Mavericks had also won six of seven games — covering in five — before resting Porzingis and Doncic on Thursday and losing to the Thunder. Not only has Dallas been dominant of late with its starting five back intact, it’s also been dominant in this spot all year long. The Nuggets come into this one hot, but I can’t pass up taking the points in what I see as an incredibly close matchup.