There are nine NBA games on Tuesday’s schedule, highlighted by the marquee late-night matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors. Read on to see who we like with our NBA expert picks.
Our hoops experts select their top against the spread and Over/Under picks for Tuesday’s NBA matchups (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Tuesday’s Top Expert NBA Picks
SEE ALSO: NBA Parlay Picks
Top NBA Expert Spread Picks
Mavericks +3.5 (-115)
The Mavericks are on the upswing and the Warriors are on the downswing, but the markets don't seem to be acknowledging that basic fact. Dallas has gone 8-2 through its last 10 games, while the Warriors have gone just 5-5.
The Mavericks' strong defensive play has anchored their recent success. They already ranked fourth on the year in defensive efficiency, but they sit in first through the last three games, through which they have allowed just 102.1 points per 100 possessions.
Both the defensive and offensive efficiency metrics point to value on Dallas against this spread. The Mavericks have allowed 3.3 fewer points per 100 possessions than the Warriors through the last three games. Dallas has scored just 1.6 fewer points than the Warriors through that span, too.
The Warriors are vulnerable without forward Draymond Green. Look for the Mavericks to capitalize on that weakness and cover against them tonight. - Sirois
Rockets +5 (-110)
The Houston Rockets have had an up-and-down season to say the least. There’s a 15-game losing skid and a seven-game win streak sprinkled into the team’s overall record, but Houston has been hot of late. The Rockets have won three of their last five games. They covered the spread in three straight and four of their last five. The Spurs have failed to cover in seven of their last 10 games, and when these teams met on Jan. 4, Houston won by four despite being a 7.5-point underdog.
Center Christian Wood has been a big part of Houston’s recent success, having averaged 20.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.0 triples, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks over his last five appearances. The San Antonio Spurs have been particularly vulnerable to opposing big men, and they've given up the fifth-most points, fourth-most rebounds, and sixth-most 3-pointers to opposing centers this season. Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr., has played great as well, cutting down on turnovers and shooting efficiently from the field, while role players like Garrison Mathews and Jae’Sean Tate have made meaningful contributions as well.
Houston's recent string of wins is a testament to just how well this team can perform when all of its players are at their best. In an exploitable matchup with a high Over/Under, I expect the Rockets to continue playing well and to cover against the Spurs at home. I loved this line when it opened at Houston +4.5, but I love it even more at +5. - Hanshew
Clippers +4.5 (-105)
Things finally appeared to be on the mend for the Washington Wizards two weeks ago as forward Rui Hachimura entered the lineup for the first time all season and guard Bradley Beal was also seeing the floor again. In the time since, however, the Wiz have lost four of their last five games and will look to close out an eight-game homestand with a win on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Clippers will be in their way, having alternated wins and losses over their last four games, including a loss on Sunday at the New York Knicks. I like Reggie Jackson and Ivica Zubac to get back on track and keep this one close against a Wizards team that shouldn’t be laying points to anyone. - Covers
Top NBA Expert O/U Picks
Kings-Celtics Under 220.5 (-110)
It's always risky to take the Under when the Sacramento Kings are playing. That said, we're doing this anyway because of how good the Boston Celtics have played defensively when healthy. When Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Robert Williams are all on the floor, Boston gives up just 93 points per 100 possessions, an absolutely elite figure.
Now that those five are healthy, the Celtics have improved their defensive rating. They have allowed just 105.9 points per 100 possessions in their last three games, 1.0 fewer points than their season average.
Of course, the Kings don't play defense. They have allowed 113.8 points per 100 possessions this year and 126.3 through their last three games. Fortunately, that number is so high that it basically has to regress — it's nearly 10 points more than what their historically bad defense allowed last season. And what better team for the Kings to right the ship against than the Celtics and their 20th-ranked offense?
Lastly, these teams combine to average 219.9 points per 100 possessions. My NBA betting model projects this one for around 101 possessions, which isn't enough of a boost to help these offenses hit the Over. - Sirois
Mavericks-Warriors Under 210.5 (-105)
Dallas continues to be a team with which to hammer the Under. On the season, Dallas has hit the Under more often than any other team at 71.1% (13-32-1). Golden State isn’t far behind at 16-29-2. The Warriors are first in defensive rating, while Dallas is ranked fourth. A clash between two top-five defenses is sure to result in an Under for Tuesday's contest.
The last time these teams met on Jan. 5, they combined for only 181 points. There should be a little more scoring this time around, but hitting the Over is a bet that I’m not willing to make. Dallas is 1-4-1 in six matchups against the other four top-five defensive teams in the Phoenix Suns, Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Celtics.
The Mavs’ track record points vehemently to the Under, and who am I to argue? - Hanshew
Nuggets-Pistons Under 217.5 (-115)
Ranking ahead of only the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Detroit Pistons come into Tuesday's game against the Denver Nuggets averaging just 102.0 points per game offensively. They also rank ahead of only the Thunder in field goal and 3-point percentage, with no elite scorers to speak of and forward Jerami Grant sidelined by a thumb injury.
The Pistons will face the Nuggets for the second time in three days, the first being a 117-111 Denver win.
With that game sailing over the projected total by 11 points, I expect a renewed focus on defense from both teams. Look for the rematch to regress back toward the total and cash the Under before it’s all said and done. – Covers