My NBA picks hit a snag on Monday night, as the Memphis Grizzlies couldn’t beat the +4 spread in front of them as they took on the Milwaukee Bucks. That loss snapped a nice three-game winning streak, but I’m still a strong 18-6-1 on the young NBA season.
Tuesday does not give bettors (or me) many outs, as just three games grace the NBA schedule. There are slim pickings on this slate, while lines aren’t final yet for the Celtics vs. Nets showdown, due to the pending status of star point guard Kyrie Irving (face).
While you’ll want to wait for news on that (early word is he’s playing with a mask), every game is somewhat in play, with no spread being bigger than -7.5 at the moment. In theory, that gives us options, but I’m only seeing one that I feel comfortable with.
That brings us to a showdown in Dallas, where the 2-12 Mavericks host the 8-5 San Antonio Spurs.
The 2017-18 NBA season has not been kind to the Mavericks, who are just 1-6 on their home floor and are also just 2-8 over their last 10 games. The team has made some mild progress since an ugly 0-4 start, but still doesn’t have an explosive offense or reliable defense.
The Spurs come into town with both Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker still sidelined, but remain the obvious favorite (-250 at BetOnline). After a strong start to the season, San Antonio has slowed down a bit, going just 5-5 over their last 10 games.
San Antonio is still holding up well without their MVP, while big man LaMarcus Aldridge continues to shoulder a massive scoring load in an effort to keep the Spurs’ heads above water.
The question is if the Spurs are looking at another easy win as they hold down the fort for Leonard’s return, or if Dallas can trap them on the road. Let’s break this matchup down to find out how you should bet tonight:
Across the board, I don’t like the Mavericks. They have not been able to do anything at a high level consistently this year, and with Seth Curry still sidelined, they simply can’t generate enough offense to stay in most games.
That’s played a huge hand in the Mavs struggling to stick around the spread, as they’re just 4-10 so far this year in that regard. The results aren’t much better no matter how you look at it, as the Mavs are 2-3 against the spread as a home underdog, and 2-5 as an underdog, overall.
The Spurs boast much more reliable ATS numbers, too. San Antonio is 7-6 overall against the spread on the year, while they are 7-4 as favorites. There is a shaky 1-3 record with the Spurs as road favorites, but I’m not sure I’ll get scared off by that tonight.
The gap is wide in terms of talent and production between these two teams this year, and the matchup doesn’t look good on paper.
San Antonio’s collection of point guards don’t look horribly overmatched in the face of rookie Dennis Smith Jr., while LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol should, in theory, have their way against a smaller Dallas lineup.
The numbers favor the Spurs, as well. San Antonio comes in with the league’s 6th most efficient defense, and will be going up against the 26th best offense in the league.
On the other side, the Spurs have been a respectable offensive team (13th) and will battle a terrible Mavs defense (29th) that is only better than the Cleveland Cavaliers right now.
The only thing that could help the Mavs is a change in pace, but the Spurs slow things way down, and that won’t be much different from the way Dallas (22nd) likes to run their offense. With a similar pace and mismatches at both ends, the Spurs look like the easy picks in this spot.
History is in San Antonio’s favor, as well. Even when the Mavs have had strong teams, they’ve always had difficulty taking down the Spurs. San Antonio dominated this series a year ago (3-1), and have won 8 of the last 9 meetings overall.
The Spurs specifically haven’t had much trouble on the road in this series, as they’ve won 4 straight in Dallas, and 6 of the last 8.
You could take the easy money and back the Spurs at -250 straight up. BetOnline offers the tightest line you’ll find, barring some random injury news. That isn’t completely awful, but the Mavs are not a good team, and it wouldn’t be shocking for them to get housed.
The beauty here is that you don’t even need a blowout to get value with the Spurs. Their -6 spread is rather small considering the matchup and history.
I’ll take the Spurs to easily cover, and at a -113 price at BetOnline, you’re getting arguably the best value on tonight’s NBA slate.