The Spurs have the best record in the NBA, but the Nets are 3-1-1 ATS in the last five head to head meetings including an outright win here in New Jersey last season. Look for a Nets’ cover.

One of the NBA matchups on the Monday night slate has the team with the best record in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs (45-9 overall, 20-7 away) going out of conference and paying a visit to the New Jersey Nets (17-38 overall, 13-14 home) at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on NBA TV.

This is the eighth game of a nine game road trip for the Spurs and their fifth straight road game vs. the Eastern Conference, and they bounced back from their worst game of the season, a 77-71 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, by routing the Washington Wizards 118-94 on Saturday. They are now being asked to give eight points on the road to a Nets team that has been fairly competitive at home this season.

The NBA latest line from Bodog for this contest New Jersey +8 at home, with the betting odds set at -105.

Now there is no doubt that the Spurs have the far superior team here, so that is not even debatable. However, this line is big enough on the road where the Spurs can allow the Nets to hang around, or if not, to allow the Nets to gain a backdoor cover late.

After all, the Spurs close this road trip with the first place Chicago Bulls in their last game before the All-Star break in a TNT game on Thursday, and they may choose to save whatever energy they have left after this long trip for that more marquee contest, especially since they are not currently in danger of coughing up the top seed in the Western Conference.

Brook LopezInterestingly, it is the Nets that have gone 3-1-1 against the NBA odds in the last five head-to-head meetings between these teams despite San Antonio going 4-1 straight up in those meetings, and another Spurs win straight up and Nets win against the spread tonight would not be at all surprising. The lone outright Nets win during this stretch came the last time these clubs met last season here in New Jersey 90-84, completing a 2-0 season ATS sweep by the Nets.

Now we get that the Spurs are 20-7 straight up and 18-8-1 against the number on the road this season, but they have not been asked to cover this many points on the road very often either, and their average road winning margin of +3,6 points would not be nearly good enough to cover this point spread. Also, San Antonio is a more normalized 10-9 ATS this season when favored by eight points or more regardless of the venue.

Yes, the Spurs’ scoring is up this season at 103.6 points per game due to playing at a much faster pace than past years, which is a testament to just how great a coach Gregg Popovich is as he is not afraid to adapt his coaching style to his personnel, but as a result of that increased tempo, San Antonio is also allowing more points than usual, at 96.3 points per game overall and 98.0 points per road contest, which helps account for their small average road winning margin.

Now the Nets are 13-14 straight up at home, with those 13 home wins actually being greater than their total wins at all venues (12) last season, and more importantly they are a winning 15-12 in NBA betting in those home games. They are only getting outscored by an average of -2.5 points per game when playing at “The Rock”, well within this fat points spread, and New Jersey is a nice 8-5 ATS as an underdog of eight points or more this year at all sites.

The Nets had a two-game winning streak snapped when they lost 105-95 to the New York Knicks here on Saturday, as that defeat was preceded by a 103-101 home win over the New Orleans Hornets and a nice 94-89 road win at Charlotte over the Bobcats. They also figure to bring their top effort in this contest, given that their next and last game before the All-Star break is a tough road contest at the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

So while the Spurs are definitely the better team, that was also the case in the last five meetings also when the Nets held their own, and we look for New Jersey to do so again on Monday on the NBA betting odds vs. this inflated number at home.

Free NBA Pick: Nets +8 (-105)