NBA Picks: Three Underdogs to Maximize Saturday's Profit

Jason Lake

Saturday, March 7, 2015 2:26 PM GMT

If you had done nothing but put road dogs in your NBA picks this year, you’d be a break-even handicapper. We’ll try to be a bit more selective and isolate the juiciest dogs from Saturday’s games.

Jason’s record as of Mar. 6: 44-40-4 ATS, 4-7 Totals


Who doesn’t love a good dog? Loyal, trustworthy, upstanding – when they’re not piddling on your shoes or tearing your latest copy of The Economist to shreds. Or Juggs. Whatever floats your boat. Good thing they’ve got all that stuff online now. Anyway, dogs. They’re man’s best friend, and they’re usually pretty good to handicappers, too. As we go to press, NBA underdogs are 307-280-19 ATS on the road, or 52.3 percent. That’s just a smidge below break-even (52.4 percent) when you factor in the standard –110 vigorish.

Of course, instead of just blindly putting every road dog in the yard into your NBA picks, you could be selecting the best of the bunch, while also taking a moment to identify the best home dogs on the schedule. Let’s dip into Saturday’s slate of eight games and see what we can find.


Memphis vs. New Orleans (7:00 p.m. ET)
Now is a very good time to be fading the Grizz (44-17 SU, 29-30-2 ATS). They did it for us again Friday night, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 97-90, but dropping the cash as 11.5-point home faves on the NBA odds. That leaves Memphis at 5-3 SU and 3-5 ATS since the All-Star break. By the way, Vince Carter (10.1 PER) did end up making his return against L.A., missing all three of his shot attempts in six minutes off the bench.

The Pelicans (33-29 SU, 35-27 ATS) are just 1-point home dogs against Memphis as we go to press, and they’ve hit a rough patch at 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS in their past three games. It’s not an ideal basketball pick, but we like the matchup between Anthony Davis (31.6 PER) and the Grizz frontcourt. On Jan. 9, Davis dumped 20-and-10 on Memphis (+1 away) in a 106-95 Pellies victory.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Pelicans +1.5 at The Greek

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Portland vs. Minnesota (8:00 p.m. ET)
Just when we were questioning the value of Aaron Afflalo (7.6 PER) playing behind Wes Matthews (16.1 PER) for the Trail Blazers, Matthews ups and tears his left Achilles tendon. He’s out for the rest of the year, so it’s a good thing for the Blazers (41-19 SU, 31-28-1 ATS) that they’ve got a redundancy plan in place. Well, it’d be better if Afflalo were playing better. He was held to six points on 2-of-9 shooting in Thursday’s 94-75 win over the Dallas Mavericks (+3 away), helping to cash in the UNDER on the total of 198 points.

The Mavs haven’t covered much of anything lately, but the Timberwolves (13-47 SU, 27-32-1 ATS) are 4-7 SU and 7-4 ATS over the past month. They’re also getting up to 4.5 points at home against Portland as we go to press. Health is always an issue for the Wolves, but they’ve got most of their players back in the lineup again, and Kevin Garnett (21.9 PER in Minny) has been partying like it’s 1999.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Timberwolves +4 at 5Dimes

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Washington vs. Milwaukee (8:30 p.m. ET)
We got burned picking the Bucks (32-29 SU, 36-25 ATS) last week in this space, but this week, it’s the Wizards (35-27 SU, 23-38-1 ATS) who are getting up to 4.5 points on the road. Yes, the Wiz have the worst ATS record in the league after honking eight straight games at 2-6 SU, but they only just got Bradley Beal (13.7 PER) back in the lineup, and at least both those SU wins were with Beal on board. We’re “buying low” on Washington.

The Bucks are 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS in their past seven games – maybe pulling the trigger on Michael Carter-Williams (16.1 PER) wasn’t such a good idea in the short term, but he is playing much better in Milwaukee than he did in Philadelphia. Baby steps.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Wizards  +4.5 at BetOnline