There are 7 games on Saturday’s NBA slate, but you probably don’t want to add all seven of the underdogs involved to your basketball picks. We’ll tell you which three dogs might be worth your while.
We’re having a great time here at the ranch making NBA picks for all you discerning basketball bettors. But we realize that some picks are juicier than others. Many top bettors only open their wallets and/or purses if there’s a “live dog” in the yard, an undervalued team that doesn’t really need as many points as it’s getting on the NBA odds board. So today, we’re going to look specifically at three underdogs from Saturday’s basketball slate. Fire up the Duesenberg, Jeeves, we’re going to the market.
Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards (7:00 p.m. ET)
This might be the liveliest dog of the litter. The Pistons (23-35 SU, 27-31 ATS) are getting 3.5 points on the road Saturday night against the Wizards (33-26 SU, 23-35-1 ATS), who have lost six straight games at 1-5 ATS. How bad are things for Washington right now? Try back-to-back road losses against the Minnesota Timberwolves (–2.5 with Kevin Garnett back in town) and the Philadelphia 76ers (+7.5).
We talked up the Pistons earlier this week as one of our top candidates to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs and maybe even make some noise. They’ve also lost back-to-back games, but last Sunday, the Pistons beat Washington 106-89 as 2-point home dogs. That was with Paul Pierce (15.7 PER) and Kris Humphries (also 15.7 PER) both active for the Wizards; they’re day-to-day now and could miss Saturday’s game after sitting out Friday night.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Pistons
Brooklyn Nets vs. Dallas Mavericks (8:30 p.m. ET, YES)
Actually, we don’t have any basketball odds available for this game as we go to press, but we’re comfortable with our assumption that the Nets (23-33 SU, 27-29 ATS) will be getting some points when they visit the Mavericks (39-21 SU, 29-29-2 ATS). This NBA pick is based primarily on Rajon Rondo (11.3 PER in Dallas), who has been playing like hot garbage for the Mavs. Granted, Dallas covered both its games with Amar’e Stoudemire (19.8 PER this year) in the lineup, but we’ll take our chances in this case.
That’s because the Nets have covered two of three since replacing Garnett (14.9 PER in Brooklyn) with Thaddeus Young (15.3 PER this year). It’s almost a miracle that Brooklyn was able to get someone as talented as Young for someone as long in the tooth as Garnett. Young wasn’t doing all that well in Minnesota, but he’s crushing it so far in his new home. The Nets also ended up keeping most of their veteran players around for another postseason run. Luxury tax? What luxury tax?
Free NBA Pick: Take the Nets
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Utah Jazz (9:00 p.m. ET)
Why are the Bucks (32-25 SU, 35-22 ATS) getting as many as three points on the road against the rebuilding Jazz (22-35 SU, 31-25-1 ATS)? Okay, that was a rhetorical question, but we’ll try to answer it anyway: Because nobody pays any attention to Milwaukee. This team had a lot of young and talented players coming into the new season, and head coach Jason Kidd is getting the most out of his team, just like he did in Brooklyn.
The Jazz have some good things going, too. They’re 3-1 SU and ATS in their past four games, including upset wins at home over the Portland Trail Blazers (–4.5) and the San Antonio Spurs (–5.5). But neither of those Western powerhouses has been a very good basketball pick of late. All right, fine, the Bucks are 6-3 SU and 2-7 ATS in their past nine games, so they’re not all that live right now, either. But they did just add a bunch of new players at the trade deadline, and they did beat the Sixers (+10 away) 104-88 in their last outing. We’ll buy that for a dollar.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Bucks