Bet Mavericks –4 over Nets for NBA Picks

Jason Lake

Sunday, March 23, 2014 12:01 PM GMT

Sunday, Mar. 23, 2014 12:01 PM GMT

The Brooklyn Nets are on fire, and they’ve got a chance to take down the Atlantic Division before all is said and done. The Dallas Mavericks might not even make the playoffs, but they’re 4-point favorites on the NBA betting lines.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 21 inclusive:

86-71-2 ATS

23-20-1 Totals

Here comes the pain. The Brooklyn Nets are sizzling hot right now, winning 10 of their past 12 games at 9-3 ATS to climb into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, just a stone’s throw behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division title. Let’s hope you didn’t get too caught up in the circus-like atmosphere the Nets were projecting earlier in the season. Injuries to half your roster will do that to you. So will being located in New York.

Contrast that to the quiet, steady, winning basketball the Dallas Mavericks have played this year. The Mavs have also been solid of late at 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS in their past eight games, enough to move into seventh place in the West – although the playoffs are hardly a lock in their case. A win over Brooklyn on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, YES) would help; the NBA odds have Dallas laying four points at home with a total of 206.

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Basketball Bones
Four points at home is not much of an advantage in the NBA. And if you were to look at their season-long numbers, Dallas (42-28 SU, 39-31 ATS) would appear to have a lot more going for it than Brooklyn (36-31 SU and ATS). The Mavericks have a point differential of plus-2.4; the Nets have a point differential of minus-0.9. The Mavericks have a Simple Rating System (via Basketball Reference) of plus-2.74; the Nets have an SRS of minus-1.15. Not much of a contest there.

Of course, there’s not much point using those numbers when it comes to the Nets. They were playing with a pared-down roster for the first couple of months. Even now, Brooklyn is missing Brook Lopez (25.5 PER) and Kevin Garnett (13.3 PER). But everyone else is available, and thanks in large part to billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and his largesse, the Nets have enough talented players in reserve to cover those particular absences.

Full marks to Brooklyn for upgrading their personnel throughout the season. The arrival of Marcus Thornton (16.6 PER in 13 games) has shored up the perimeter shooting, and the Nets added some interior defense with Jason Collins (0.5 PER), who’s been signed for the rest of the season after a successful pair of 10-day contracts. Don’t sleep on PG Jorge Gutierrez (17.4 PER in 31 minutes), either. The former Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year from Cal has performed very well during his 10-days.

Compare 2013-14 NBA Championship Betting Futures 

Double Devin
Backcourt depth was a bit of a question mark for the Mavericks earlier this year, but the return of Devin Harris (16.2 PER) has provided the answer. Harris was the fifth overall pick in 2004 and made the All-Star team in 2009; however, injuries have plagued the former Big Ten Player of the Year from Wisconsin his entire career, and he’s a relatively forgotten figure these days.

The Mavericks know better. They were the team that drafted him in the first place, so signing him for the veteran’s minimum this summer was a slam-dunk, even though Harris needed surgery on his big toe and didn’t make his season debut until Jan. 18. Since then, the Mavs are 18-11 SU and 16-13 ATS. Steady as she goes.

This does provide us a bit of a challenge for Sunday, though. When these teams last met on Jan. 24 with more or less the same lineups, Brooklyn won 107-106 as a 2-point home chalk, and I’m not seeing any glaring reason to bet the NBA totals in this one, so let’s put it on Dallas and let it ride. May the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Take the Mavericks –4 at Sports Interaction

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