For the season, my NBA Best Bets have gone 42-22-1 ATS. Let’s check out my favorites for today!
Saturday’s Best NBA Bets
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics
Boston has a few glaring road losses on their resume, look no further than this past Tuesday in Washington for evidence of this, but they tend to get themselves up and ready to roll for big games– and this game, a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview between two teams jockeying for the Conference’s top seed, is as big as it gets.
Let’s start here: the Bucks have been excellent at home this year (30-7 SU, 21-15-1 ATS), but their home-court edge should be negated to a degree as they will be playing on the tail-end of a back-to-back, and their starters all logged significant minutes last night in Indiana. Additionally, for as good as Milwaukee has been at home this season, Boston has been nearly as good on the road (24-15 SU) and nearly beat the Bucks in Milwaukee with their reserves earlier this season.
Furthermore, for as good as Milwaukee has been these past couple of months, Boston actually grades out as the better of the two teams for the month of March per Pts/Poss. For the season as a whole, Boston holds the edge as well, rating first in the NBA in Pts/Poss and second in Adjusted Net Rating.
Bottom line — this should be a contentious game, with a Playoff atmosphere, and 3.5 is too many points to be giving one of the NBA’s best teams. Count on Boston to keep this game close.
Bet: Celtics +3.5 (-110)
Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans
This game/bet has everything to do with the status of MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic. Jokic was listed as Questionable for this contest Wednesday afternoon with calf soreness, and this injury designation shifted the line from Denver -9 to Denver -7. Note how influential the mere uncertainty of Jokic is to the spread, as no player is more crucial to their team’s success than the Denver big man. FiveThirtyEight rates Jokic as number one overall (it’s not close) in Wins Above Replacement, and if he were to be ruled out, my best guess is that this game would close with Denver as a 2.5-point favorite.
I bring this up because I do think it is very likely Jokic rests this game. His injury (calf soreness) is not legitimate, and his downgrade to Questionable is a tell-tale sign of rest for NBA stars. Jokic very infrequently appears on the injury report, and the team will often tag him as such when they do aim to rest him. In addition, rest for the big man makes sense here. The Nuggets have all but secured the top seed in the Western Conference, and face the Phoenix Suns the night after in what certainly will be a much more important game for them.
Finally, even if the Nuggets are at full strength here, we don’t hate this number. The Pelicans have played quite well in the month of March, rating third in the NBA in Pts/Poss, and have reentered the playoff conversation by virtue of their elevated play. The Pels are also the deeper of the two teams, and will likely have the edge when Jokic is off of the floor.
This is an ok bet right now, with the potential to be a great one. Back the Pelicans to cover the number on a bare NBA Thursday slate.
Bet: Pelicans +7 (-110)
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