NBA Tuesday best bets: Back these live 'dogs vs. overpriced favorites
We finally hit a snag with our NBA best bets, finishing 1-2 on Monday after a 9-4 start to the season. Can we get back on track with Tuesday's five-game slate?
I've been impressed with what I've seen from the Spurs, who were a shaky fourth quarter away from a 3-0 start against the spread after sticking with the Bucks for the majority of Saturday's loss. Their net rating (+3.3) ranks 12th in the league behind the eighth-most efficient offense, bolstered by the sixth-highest assist rate (62%) and third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (2.07).
The playmaking duo of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White and scoring punch from Keldon Johnson may prove too much for the Lakers, who rank 25th in defensive rating (112.0) and sit in the bottom three in assists allowed per game (28.7) and opponent points in the paint (53.5). If San Antonio's offense can stay the course, don't be surprised by an outright upset.
Pick: Spurs +4.5
It's easy to talk yourself into betting against the Rockets at virtually any number after how they looked last year and in the first game of this season. But are we sure they're an auto-fade? Houston bounced back from a rough opener to blow out the Thunder and stick with a talented Celtics squad outside of a lopsided third quarter.
Conversely, the Mavericks have given us little reason to believe they can score enough to cover a spread this large. Under Jason Kidd's watch, Dallas ranks in the bottom five in field-goal percentage (37.5%), assists per game (20.0), steals per game (6.5), and pace factor (98.0), which means the offense is generating very few extra possessions and doing remarkably little with them. That simply isn't a recipe worth laying this many points on.
Pick: Rockets +11
This line feels like a direct reaction to the Nuggets' loss to the Cavaliers on Monday, which was tied late before a 19-3 run fueled an emotional win for Cleveland. Don't overreact to a game in which Denver finished 9-of-38 (23.7%) from deep, shot 8-of-12 (66.7%) from the free-throw line, and committed a whopping 21 turnovers - this all should normalize in future contests.
I'd expect many of those careless mistakes to be cleaned up in Tuesday's tilt with the Jazz, who needed a late surge to escape the Kings on Friday. Utah enters this game with fresh legs but simply shouldn't be priced as this much of a favorite over Denver, even at home.
Pick: Nuggets +7