Clippers vs. Nets NBA Odds & Picks: How to Bet Massive Game in Brooklyn
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant (left) and Kyrie Irving.
- Two title contenders meet tonight in Brooklyn, where the Nets host the Clippers.
- Brooklyn has struggled defensively since acquiring James Harden, while Los Angeles looks to be firing on all cylinders behind stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
- Phillip Kall breaks down where he sees betting value at Barclays Center.
Clippers vs. Nets Odds
|Moneyline||-106 / -115|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday night and via BetMGM.|
The Clippers currently sit with the third-best odds to lift the O’Brien Trophy at the end of the year. Unfortunately for them, the Brooklyn Nets are one of the teams above them.
That makes this Tuesday night matchup at Barclays Center one of the must-see games of this NBA regular season.
Brooklyn’s recent run of high-scoring games adds even more flavor to this game. Nets games have hit the over in 15 of their last 16. What is even more shocking is they don’t just hit the over, they crush it. With an average of 28 points scored above the total in games it hit, bettors have had little worry about when backing the Nets’ over.
The Clippers have been no slouches in producing high-scoring themselves, as seven of their last 11 hit the over.
With each team smashing their totals recently, the over is the play according to trends. Let’s dig deeper and see if oddsmakers have adjusted for these trends.
Los Angeles Clippers
The recent trend of high-scoring games has played into the Clippers’ hands, as they won 10 of their last 11. The win streak comes courtesy of improved play on both sides of the ball.
On offense, cutting down turnovers has made all the difference for Los Angeles, going from averaging 13.7 in their first 10 games to 11.5 in their past 11. On defense, the fundamentals of playing with your feet, not your hands, made the difference. Improved fundamentals combined with some extra effort led to a decrease in fouls committed from 22.2 per game to 16.8 in that 11-game span.
The player leading the charge for these changes is their leader, Kawhi Leonard. During the win streak, Leonard’s scoring ticked up to 28.4 points per game on an efficient 56.4% field goal percentage. While he only shot 5.4 free throws per game in that span, the absurd 98.0% free throw percentage is worth mentioning.
Bringing extra effort and detail to each game is a surprise from the Clippers. Last season, they showed no respect for the regular season. That showed come playoff time.
Against the Nets, the extra defensive effort may provide less value thanks to Brooklyn’s elite offense. This means all eyes will focus on Leonard and his ability to carry the load in a potential shootout.
Since acquiring James Harden, the Nets defense looks like it came straight out of the All-Star game. Their schedule even came littered with matchups against the worst offensive teams, but nothing would help. This includes games against teams like the Knicks, Cavs, Heat and Thunder, all of whom rank bottom seven in Offensive Rating per Basketball Reference.
Of course, when you have Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant abysmal defense means nothing. With a record of 7-3 since the Harden deal, Brooklyn’s offense has overcome its turnstile-like defense.
In a shocking twist, the player benefitting the most from Brooklyn’s array of weapons is forward Jeff Green. Over the last 10 games, Green’s scoring skyrocketed from 5.7 points per game to 13.0. The veteran’s scoring ability, both inside and out, makes it difficult for teams to focus on just the Nets’ stars.
The Clippers present an excellent test for the Nets’ no-defense style. Facing defensive stoppers like Leonard and Paul George, Brooklyn may find getting buckets more challenging than usual. If Los Angeles shows the ability to even slightly slow down the Nets’ attack it may be too much for their defense to overcome.
Being a title contender typically means the team displayed at least a competent level of play on both sides of the court. While Brooklyn’s offense can score with anybody, its defense shows that anybody can score on it.
There have been a lot of moving parts, so better days may lie ahead as chemistry grows. Unfortunately, defense takes time and Tuesday will be too early to make their needed improvements.
On the other hand, the Clippers have shown why they should be in the championship conversation on both ends. Their commitment to detail and fundamentals have helped the Clippers achieve the best Net Rating in the NBA at +7.9. During their current hot streak, they kicked things up a notch to a Net Rating of +14.0.
With Brooklyn’s inability to stop anyone, the Clippers’ defense only needs to slow them down to have an advantage. Even if that doesn’t work, Los Angeles has what it takes to win a shootout as their 117.7 Offensive Rating ranks second.
Pick: Clippers +1.5 (down to pick’em)