Our top handicapping angles for the upcoming NBA week feature fading a one-dimensional Spurs offense on the road, backing an anti-tanking Mavericks bunch, and leaning a pair of "under" bets behind an inconsistent Magic team in Orlando.
The Spurs own one of the weakest and least effective-road offenses in the NBA. It ranks 25th in efficiency away from AT&T Center, scoring 104.4 points per 100 possessions. With Kawhi Leonard out virtually all season, the unit lacks much versatility. It’s LaMarcus Aldridge or bust. The trio of Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker offer some balance on the perimeter, but the aging veterans can provide relief only in spurts at this point in their careers.
Fading San Antonio away from home against poor 3-point shooting defenses is often a strong bet. The shot has revolutionized the game and its success rate often dictates betting market results. The Spurs are too one-dimensional and fail to take advantage. Squaring off against defenses yielding greater than the NBA average of 10.47 3-pointers made per game, they post 100.3 points per contest. The "under" is 12-5 in this situation, a 200.0 final tally coming up 4.5 points shy of a 204.5 average line. San Antonio has failed to reach its projected team total in 10 overall.
The Clippers allow 10.7 treys per night. Since trading Blake Griffin in late January, the number jumps to 11.6 per tilt. The Spurs aren’t equipped to take advantage; market "over/under" expectations will certainly be too high. Consider wagering the points with L.A. as well. The Spurs are just 4-6 SU and 2-7-1 ATS in this spot when the home team also surrenders greater than the league average of 106.3 points per game. The Clip have given up 110.4 a night since February 1.
Tuesday: Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks
In late February, the NBA fined Dallas owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for the tanking comments he made on the Dr. J podcast. “Look, losing is our best option,” Cuban divulged he told his players at a team dinner with the squad well out of the playoff race. The outspoken owner followed up the remark by adding commissioner Adam Silver would “hate hearing that,” yet vowed his men would not lose on purpose to close out the season and improve their chances in the draft lottery. “This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me,” Cuban lamented. The Mavs are 23-53 SU.
Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki supported his long-time boss by explaining “players never play to lose” and that Cuban would “never stand for losing on purpose.” At least one betting market condition supports this. The Mavs are 9-12 SU and 14-7 ATS when hosting teams with a winning record at American Airlines Center. The team has covered five of seven in this spot since Cuban made the controversial, yet transparent remarks.
Dallas is a best bet when the line falls within 6 points, going 9-5 SU and 11-3 ATS. It is covering a 3.1 average line by 9.2 points per game. Look for a similar line when the Trail Blazers visit on Tuesday. Don’t fear a tank job. Take the points with Dallas.
Wednesday: Mavericks vs. Magic; Friday: Hornets vs. Magic
Orlando has been plagued by injuries much of the season, and consistency is an afterthought for the team's always-changing lineup. The offense is particularly enigmatic, especially at Amway Center. It barely posts more points per game (104.0) at home to defenses allowing greater than the NBA average field-goal rate of 46.0 percent than versus those yielding less (103.1).
The betting market is overestimating Magic home game totals as a result. The "under" is 14-4-1 when poor shooting defenses yielding greater than the above-mentioned rate visit. The closing total under these conditions is 214.1 as opposed to 212.6 versus others. This is the scenario when the Mavericks (46.7) visit Wednesday and the Hornets (46.8) on Friday. Lean "under" in each.