Saturday NBA Odds & Best Bets: Our 2 Favorite Picks For Jazz-Heat, Celtics-Mavericks
Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics
- There are six games on the NBA slate for Saturday night.
- Raheem Palmer and Brandon Anderson have each picked a game they see the most value in.
- They lay out their best bets for the night below.
Unders have been the story of the NBA (betting) season so far, and a few teams expected to contend or make big leaps this year haven’t quite gotten there.
Saturday NBA Odds & Picks
Utah Jazz @ Miami Heat
Raheem Palmer: Unders in the NBA continue to hit at a blistering pace, going 85-45 (65.4%) this season. Even more impressive is that non-overtime games are 83-40 (67.5%).
While I thought the under party was coming to an end as we saw oddsmakers shade these totals lower this week, NBA unders went 8-1 on Friday night.
Trends aside, if there’s a good spot to take an under, it’s tonight’s game between the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat, who will both likely be missing their starting point guards in Donovan Mitchell and Kyle Lowry. The loss of Lowry really impacts this total as the Heat play with a pace of 103.35 with him on the floor and the pace he brings to the game really helps this offense. As a whole the Heat are just 25th in pace (98.47), so this is not a fast team, while the Jazz are just 16th in pace (99.75)
Both the Heat and Jazz are two of the best defensive teams in the league with the Heat ranking second in Defensive Rating (99.6) and the Jazz ranking third (101.2). You combine a slow paced game with two top-tier defensive teams who are missing their starting point guards and you have the recipe for a low scoring game.
Celtics at Mavericks
Brandon Anderson: If you’re just keeping an eye on the standings, you’d think everything is mostly on track for the Mavericks.
Dallas is 5-3 and sits third in the Western Conference, ahead of the fray and behind only the dominant Jazz and Warriors. At first glance, you’d figure this Jason Kidd thing must be working, Luka Doncic must be one of the early MVP favorites, and this is the leap we’ve all been waiting for.
Yeahhh, not so much. Dallas ranks 25th in Net Rating, per Basketball Reference, an ugly -5.3 to mirror their record in a not so nice way. The Mavs have been decent enough on defense but the offense has been shockingly bad, 25th in Offensive Rating, a far cry from the unit that literally set the all-time record just a couple years ago.
Doncic’s production is down across the board, and he’s been ice cold to start the year with terrible shooting and efficiency. And that’s pretty much the story for Dallas. It’s not a particularly talented roster, so if Luka isn’t carrying them, they’re in trouble.
Maxi Kleber has been good, but he’s out. Kristaps Porzingis has been absolutely awful, and he’s questionable anyway. Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock can’t hit a shot. Jalen Brunson has been a spark, but he’s not enough and will probably struggle against Marcus Smart anyway. This offense looks stuck in mud, like they have no idea what they’re trying to accomplish. They rank 28th in the NBA in effective field goal percentage. It’s ugly.
Boston has had plenty of ugly moments too, of course, but you have to wonder if the Celtics might be turning the corner. They played a brilliant second half defensively in a win over the Magic and then had their best game of the season against the red-hot Heat, shutting them down en route to a dominant 17-point win. Boston’s defense has been swarming and in sync the last couple games, and that plus Dallas’s offensive woes could mean a continuance on Saturday night.
Jaylen Brown is out for Boston, so the Celtics are road underdogs, but I’m not convinced Dallas is very good. The truth of the matter is that we never know which Boston team we’ll get, but there’s a pretty good version in there and I’m just not sure that’s true of Dallas right now. Even if it’s just an average Celtics night, that might be enough against the Mavs.
I have to take a shot at the Boston moneyline at +140. That implies under a 42% chance of a win, and I think this is at least a coin flip for the Celtics, and maybe slightly in our favor. They have the defenders to keep Doncic cold and that will give them a shot. I’ll play to +115.